NZ Bahá’í Community

The Bahá’í Faith, an independent world religion, originated in Iran in 1844. A central teaching of Baha’u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is that “the earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens”. In practical terms, this teaching is expressed by Bahá’ís throughout the world engaging in a process of community building – a process that, amongst other things, strives to eliminate all forms of prejudice and to promote the concept that we are one human family regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion or any other perceived difference. In the area of fostering positive race relations, the New Zealand Bahá’í community has organised an annual Race Unity Speech Award for senior high school students since 2001 and an annual Race Unity Conference since 2005.

See the Baha’i website for more information.

Projects 2011
Race Unity Speech Awards

The Race Unity Speech Award is an annual event held in support of Race Relations Day. It was initiated in March 2001 in memory of Hedi Moani, an Iranian-born Bahá’í who worked all his life to promote positive race relations

The Speech Award started in Auckland but is now virtually a nationwide competition. It challenges senior high school students to consider various aspects of racism and to suggest what can be done about them. Since 2008 the New Zealand Police have been supporting the competition with funding of $10,000 per year for a period of five years – funding which has greatly facilitated the continuing growth and development of the competition. The Speech Award is also strongly supported by the Human Rights Commission (since its inception in 2001) and the Office of Ethnic Affairs. .

A formal Reception at Parliament Buildings in August 2010 marked the tenth anniversary of the Speech Award and saw the release of a commemorative booklet – published by the NZ Police – which contains the speeches of all previous winners of the competition. This milestone event was attended by many of the past winners, along with students who had participated in the 2010 competition, judges, regional coordinators and many others.

The theme for the 2011 competition will mimic the theme chosen by the Human Rights Commission for Race Relations Day – “People in Harmony”. An on-line entry form will shortly be available for students in years 11, 12 and 13 and will also be available through secondary schools throughout most of New Zealand.Race Unity ConferenceThe Race Unity Conference grew out of the Speech Awards and is held in conjunction with the National Finals. The 2011 Conference will take place on Saturday 2nd April, in Auckland.. It will include workshops facilitated by the Human Rights Commission, NZ Police, the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the NZ Bahá’í community. More information about the 2011 Speech Award and Conference will be made available shortly.

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