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Newsletters > On The Bright Side > 2011 > April

On The Bright Side

ISSN 1178-0959 April, 2011

Kia ora. Anei te mihi o te Kaihautu Whakawhanaunga a Iwi, mo nga mahi nui, mahi whakamana i te tangata i roto i nga kaupapa Whakawhanaunga a Iwi i Aotearoa.

Here are this month's acknowledgements from the Race Relations Commissioner for positive contributions to cultural diversity and race relations in New Zealand.

Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt

For Race Relations Day Activity 2011. The Peace Foundation extended an invitation to students within the Wellington region to participate in an afternoon set of workshops on 10 March. This was to learn about Race Relations Day, explore ideas for developing positive race relations in their school and community, and plan school-based activities to commemorate 21 March.

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Sacred Heart's race relations activity pulled together their whole school to participate in forming a giant peace sign. In addition to this massive event - the head girl led the school in singing 'Heal the World' and Peace Foundation Cool Schools Mediators gave speeches about the history and importance of Race Relations day. It was a fantastic event organized with great enthusiasm with an outcome that produced not only a massive peace sign, but a vibrant, peaceful and excited atmosphere.

For bilingual signage at the Te Awa Shopping Centre, Hamilton. Te Awa is part of the Base, a massive new shopping complex developed by Tainui Group Holdings at Te Rapa in Hamilton and opened last year.

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What sets Te Awa apart is its commitment to Te Reo Māori, with bilingual signage throughout the complex and extending to the road outside and the carpark areas. The first two stages of Te Awa were completed last year, and the third, including a new food and entertainment precinct, is due to open this month. Te Awa exceeds the commitment to te reo seen in public buildings and has taken private sector use of the language to a whole new level.

This year’s Race Relations Report, published in March, notes that business in general is now much more comfortable with te reo Māori, citing supermarket chain Progressive Enterprises’ participation in Māori Language Week last year and other examples, including Te Awa.  This year’s Māori Language Week, with the theme of Manaakitanga, will take place earlier than usual from 4-10 July.

ASB Polyfest organising committee

For ASB Polyfest, March 2011. Thousands of students came together and celebrated their cultures through song, dance, haka and speech on 16-19 March at the 36th annual Secondary Schools Māori and Polynesian Festival  held at the Manukau Sports Bowl, Manukau City.

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About 9000 youngsters from 62 schools around Auckland - and some outside of the region - participated in the ASB-sponsored event. 

Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate was the host school, and the theme was: "Ko te kanorau te matua atua, ko te kotahitanga te koa - Diversity is the magic, Unity is the joy."

Students competed on five stages - Cook Islands, Māori, Niue, Samoan and Tongan. There was also a Diversity stage featuring performances from a range of cultural groups including Chinese, Korean and Indian. This year's event also included a speech competition in students’ own languages.

The festival is an iconic annual event that celebrates the pride and passion of young people from Auckland’s Māori, Pacific Island and other ethnic communities, and all that they bring to the future.

The Korean Society of Auckland Inc

For  Korean Day, March 2011.  Organised by The Korean Society of Auckland, Korean Day was held at the North Shore Event Centre on 19 March. Its aim was to enhance awareness of the Korean community amongst all communities in New Zealand.

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Around 10,000 people attended the event which showcased local Korean businesses in a variety of ways. It also introduced Korean traditional outdoor activities (playing Yut, Tu-Ho) and traditional foods (Kim-Chi and Citron Tea and tea ceremony).

Society president Justin Yang said “it was a great opportunity to expose our cultural heritage to the New Zealand society and strengthen our Korean community's unity. We also dedicated this big event for the New Zealand-wide campaign to raise money for Christchurch."

All profits from the day will be donated to those affected by the Christchurch earthquake. To date the Society has raised more than $60,000.00 for the victims of the earthquake.

The Korean Society of Auckland was established in 1992.  It currently represents 35,000 Korean migrants living in New Zealand.

Community Radio Hamilton

For multilingual quake information. Community Access radio station Community Radio Hamilton has coordinated a project that is delivering essential quake recovery information across the country in multiple languages.

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Drawing on volunteers, Community Radio Hamilton, Fresh FM [Nelson], Access Manawatu [Palmerston North], Arrow FM [Masterton] and Taranaki Access Radio [New Plymouth] have taken five key messages provided by the Office of Ethnic Affairs and translated and recorded them into Spanish, Fijian, Portuguese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tamil, Japanese, Tagalog, Russian, and German with a number of extra languages still being added.

“Access Radio is at the heart of many migrant communities, and this project has certainly allowed us to play to our strengths”, says Community Radio Hamilton’s general manager Phil Grey. “Our Christchurch colleagues Plains FM have sadly been unable to play what we know would have been a huge part in the recovery so far, but if we can help get these messages to those in need, in their own first language, we’ve succeeded”.

The audio clips are all made available across the country and while mainly intended for Christchurch broadcasters to download and rebroadcast across the city, they’re freely available to anyone to download and share.

The messages can be heard at Access Radio’s website or on Te Upoko Radio (1161 AM); Wellington Access Radio (783AM); Tahu FM (90.5 FM); Planet Audio FM (104.6FM); Radio Kidnappers (1431 AM & 104.7FM); Access Radio Taranaki (104.4FM); Access Manawatu (999AM); Access Radio Kapiti (104.7FM); Arrow FM (92.7FM).

For the Gore Race Relations Day Event, March 2011.  Race Relations Day was celebrated at Hamilton Park in Gore on Friday night 18 March as the Eastern Southland Newcomer’s Network staged an a football tournament and an Argentinean BBQ.

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Teams from Fiji, Nigeria, Argentina, Romania, New Zealand, England and Kenya competed in the five-a-side friendly tournament. Rain forced the cancellation of the final between Indo-Fiji and Argentina so they were awarded first equal place.

There was also a craft activity, creating Harmony sticks, which provided a good way to chat with new people.  The band played all evening while people enjoyed the Argentinean food.  There was a continual hub of chatter and enjoyment. 

Eastern Southland Newcomers Network co-ordinator Maura Dakin was pleased with the turnout.  ‘‘We’re really, really excited,’’ Mrs Dakin said. Nine teams had pre- registered and more turned up on the day, she said.    “This is our third and best Race Relation Day celebration.  The committee, who formed to put on the day, contained many newcomers.”

For the New Youth Centre for RYAN. Over 200 people from diverse communities, agencies and backgrounds celebrated the opening of a new Youth Centre at Mt. Roskill, Auckland as a base for RYAN – the Refugee Youth Action Network on 24 February.

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Amidst shock and sorrow around the Christchurch earthquake, a sense of hope and celebration for the opening of the youth network was strongly present. The opening address was given by the Minister of Community Services and Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia. Legendary world outdoor adventurer Graeme Dingle, who founded Project K and the Foundation for Youth Development was guest speaker.

The pilot phase of RYAN has run for the past 6 months with more than 90 young leaders of the future participating in outdoor leadership training run in Tai Tokerau by the Aramoana Centre of Ngati Wai.   

The three strands of RYAN are: Activities and Sport, Guidance and Career Path.     RYAN is now fully established and running as a collaborative community venture to foster youth leaders from the refugee communities.

For the Indigo Festival, March 2011. Hamilton’s Indigo Festival, coinciding with Race Relations Day, has become one of the most extensive multicultural events in the country, with a variety of events over eight days from Saturday March 19 to Saturday March 26.

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The culminating event on Saturday 26, Indigo on Show – comprising cultural performances, demonstrations and food and craft markets in the Hamilton Gardens - unfortunately had to be first postponed, then cancelled, because of the weekend’s rain. The show is now happening on Saturday 9 April at the Meteor Theatre Victoria Street in Hamilton.

This did not detract from the varied programme throughout the previous week, however. There was a colourful street parade (Indigo Go) on Saturday 19, special Indigo menus at local restaurants throughout the week (Indigo Taste), an open day at local places of worship including a Sikh temple, a Buddhist centre, a Mosque, a Cambodian temple and a meditation centre on Sunday 20 (Indigo Faith), a diversity film festival and Race Relations Day reception at the Lido theatre (21-23 March), and a fashion parade  (Indigo Style) at the Clarence Theatre on Thursday 24. The Indigo Festival Trust is supported by the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust, the Hamilton City Council and a wide range of local sponsors. We also acknowledge the Waikato Times for its extensive coverage of the Festival, profiling members of different ethnic communities during the week and devoting a full page to photos of the street parade .

For the Festival of Cultures, March 2011. Another city that has a comprehensive cultural diversity programme coinciding with Race Relations Day is Palmerston North. Their Festival of Cultures is one of the oldest multicultural festivals, first being held 21 years ago.

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The Festival runs from 25 March to 2 April. The major outdoor event, the world food, craft and music fair, is held in the Square, and was held despite heavy rain on the weekend and still attracted  thousands of people . It was preceded by a Lantern Parade on Friday March 25, celebrating pets in the Year of the Rabbit.

A film about Burmese refugees was shown for Race Relations Day, and a multiethnic football tournament, Ethkick, was held on Sunday 27. The library had displays and events throughout the week, including an Iranian exhibition, a Cook Island display, Maori and Chinese music and a Journey through Havana with the Cuban Ambassador.  The Taylor Jensen Gallery had an exhibition of traditional Korean needlework, and Te Manawa Museum held a Pecha Kucha night. The Chinese Association of Manawatu contributed an evening of Chinese music. A multicultural multi-denominational Christian service, Mosaic, was held at All Saint Anglican Church to celebrate the diversity of the Christian community in Palmerston North.

The Manawatu Standard is acknowledged for giving excellent coverage to the festival in a series of features.

For the Mangere East Cultural Festival, March 2011.  The rain did not stop the Mangere East community from celebrating the finale of Pasefika Month and Race Relations Day on Saturday 26 March – the event was simply moved at the last minute from the Village Green to an open space in the neighbouring Mangere East Library.

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The festival was organised by staff from both the Mangere East Community Learning Centre and Mangere East Library and featured a wide range of local acts – from Nga Mere Pounamu kapa haka group to local schools and community groups, performing Māori, Samoan, Niuean, Latin American, Rapanui, Indian, Tahitian and Cook Island cultural items. There was curry and a hangi, and information on the centre’s parenting, language and other programmes. The centre comprises a Learning Centre, an After School Centre and Samoa Atia-e i Magele. It offers a wide range of programmes in partnership & cooperation with other services, including the Ohomairangi Trust, Manukau Institute of Technology, English Language Partners, Pacific Education Centre, Aorere College Community Education, Autism NZ and local schools. The library also has a policy of being very open to community events and community engagement.

Owairaka District School, Auckland

For the Multicultural Day, March 2011. Schools all over New Zealand celebrated Race Relations Day in a multitude of ways. Owairaka District School in Auckland is a multicultural school in Auckland, and on Race Relations Day they held a Multicultural Day, which they described on their school website as follows:

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 “We are so lucky at Owairaka to have children from a variety of different cultures. On Monday 21 March we celebrated Race Relations Day by having children come to school in costumes from their culture. We had a special assembly in the morning and a whole school shared lunch. It was wonderful to have so many parents at school on this very special day.”

The school’s website has photos of some of the children in their cultural dress.

Neighbours Day Development Team

For Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2011. It is estimated that thousands of Kiwis made a difference in their neighbourhoods during the inaugural Neighbours Day Aotearoa on 26-27 March 2011. Neighbours Day Aotearoa is about encouraging Kiwis to make some time to celebrate our neighbourhoods and get to know our neighbours better. 

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The organising team is a partnership between LIFEWISE, Inspiring Communities and Methodist Missions Aotearoa, all not-for-profit organisations with a focus on supporting strong local communities.  They also acknowledge support from many organisations across various sectors.

“It’s been great to see residents, community organisations and groups, local councils, authorities, and businesses coming together to support this vision”, says Rebecca Harrington (LIFEWISE project team member and founder of the Know Your Neighbours project on Auckland’s North Shore which was the beginning of Neighbours Day in NZ).  “We’re really grateful to the dozens of organisations who put a lot of effort into spreading the word.  We’ve formed special links with many other organisations who also support the vision of building stronger neighbourhoods. It’s been awesome to see how many people share our enthusiasm and understand the potential long-term benefits that begin from us knowing our neighbours better and that this could make a real difference to the quality of life in New Zealand.”

Over 50 organisations and 40 newspapers and radio stations around the country spread the word, as well as TVNZ’s Breakfast with Tamati Coffey on Friday 25 March .

“We hope Neighbours Day Aotearoa will become something that belongs to all New Zealanders,” says Rebecca, “The idea is to be a catalyst for building stronger neighbourhoods every day.  We hope this will become an annual celebration and ultimately an ongoing part of our Kiwi culture that will have a positive impact on our communities long term.”

For Neighbours Day stories visit  their website.