A former child soldier and refugee who is now an internationally renowned human rights lawyer will headline this year’s 12th Diversity Forum hosted by the Human Rights Commission at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
“Sydney lawyer Deng Adut will be sharing his incredible life story and encouraging New Zealanders to recognise that all of us have our own unique story to tell,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Racial intolerance is on the rise at home and closer to home. It’s time for Kiwis to talk openly and respectfully about racism and what kind of country we want our kids growing up in.”
This year’s forum focus is on the future, Te Anga Whakamua and the morning session will include, Palmerston Boy’s High School head boy Te Ariki Te Puni delivering his winning Race Unity speech.
“Being a New Zealander should mean getting a fair go and giving others a fair go. Racism has no place in our country’s future,” said Dame Susan.
“Diversity is and always has been a national asset that we should celebrate and cultivate.”
Activist, musician and writer, Lizzie Marvelly will MC the forum and introduce some incredible New Zealanders including:
Tayyaba Khan: the Chief Executive of Changemakers Refugee Forum, Tayyaba leads an NGO with a vision of New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds participating fully in Kiwi life through community development, research and advocacy
Tayo Agunlejika: Multicultural New Zealand’s Executive Director, and Multi Ethnic Football Tournament Chief Executive
Dr Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal: Te Papa’s Director of Ngā Manu Atarau and will discuss how people from diverse cultures with different viewpoints can maintain identity and integrate into society with a common identiy.
Dai Phonevilay and Dal Philavong: Well known in the capital’s multicultural and Lao communities, the former refugees who starred in My Kitchen Rules have since launched their own line of products “A Taste of Lao”
Raveen Annamalai: is the President of the Multicultural Council of Wellington, representing more than 20 organisations who are focused on enabling healthy and vibrant communities to fully contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of the capital.
Mike Bush: NZ Police Commissioner since 2014, Mike has led sweeping change that’s focused upon a workforce that better reflects and empathises with the communities and people it serves.
Mark Ngan Kee: One of our oldest ongoing community sports and cultural organisations, the New Zealand Chinese Association held their 68th annual Easter Sports and Cultural tournament this year. Mark chairs the association’s Youth and Sports Committee.
Karen Mason: Te Papa Director of Exhibition Renewal, as the museum undertakes the largest redevelopment of its history, Karen will talk about how Te Papa includes community voices in its work.
Adorate Mizero: passionate about giving young resettled Kiwis a voice, media student and Burundian Kiwi, Adorate is filming a video series about their journeys
Pinaman Owusu-Banahene: the creator of the annual African Fashion Festival of New Zealand.
Pearl Robin: creator of TechTank, Pearl is focused on breaking down barriers to entering the tech industry that are hindering Kiwis wanting to learn about coding and technology.
Tracey Thompson: A long time NZ Police iwi liaison officer, Inspector Thompson now works with Wellington Community Patrollers
Professor Colleen Ward: is the Director of Victoria University’s Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research and will focus on what multiculturalism means, its benefits to both majority and minority groups and the compatibility of biculturalism and multiculturalism.
Paora Ammunson: the chair of Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union and a local sports administrator, Paora also chairs his family marae and is a director of his tribe’s asset development company.
Dr Chris Sibley: the driving force behind the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (School of Psychology, Auckland University), a unique 20-year longitudinal national study into New Zealand’s changing attitudes, values and outcomes.
Pohswan Narayanan: having led the Upper Hutt Multicultural Council for many years, Pohswan now heads the council’s Women’s Leadership arm.