Race Relations Day: Welcoming Diversity

Race Relations Day – 21 March 2016

New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth. It is also one of the most peaceful.  Our biggest challenge is how we choose to live our lives and what kind of country we let New Zealand become. This Race Relations Day we are asking all Kiwis to welcome and get to know the people in your community. What you do makes all the difference.

 – Human Rights Commission

The theme for Race Relations Day 2016 is “Welcoming Diversity”.

And what a fun time we’ve had celebrating diversity lately in Christchurch ! There’s been the Night Noodle Market, the Chinese Lantern Festival (27 & 28 February), Holi Day (5 March), Canterbury Japan Day (6 March),  Culture Galore (12 March) and Canterbury Polyfest 2016 – phew !

In New Zealand we are lucky to be able to enjoy and celebrate our diversity, but this is not so in many other parts of the world.  In 1966 the date of March 21 was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations to be The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the reason this date was chosen is because this was the date of the Sharpeville massacre.

Sharpeville is in South Africa, and on 21 March 1960 police opened fire on a crowd of about 20,000 people who were protesting against the apartheid “pass laws”.  Some 69 people were killed, including children, while around 180 were injured. Apartheid in the Rainbow Nation has since been dismantled, but the fight against racial prejudice and discrimination continues around the world.

Further reading

 As Good as Anybody Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom  Human Rights and Human Wrongs A Life Confronting Racism  Are We There Yet? The Future of the Treaty of Waitangi The Name of the Game

Te ranga tahi, together we grow

Today is Race Relations Day and the theme this year could not be more apt for Christchurch in 2014:

I am Aotearoa New Zealand…te ranga tahi, together we grow.

Race Relations Day 2014 PosterOur city, as we all know, is undergoing many changes post-earthquakes. For me one of the most exciting ones has been the influx of people from all over the world who have come to help in the rebuild. Together we are growing a new Christchurch, a city of not only new buildings but also and especially of new relationships.

The library reflects this harmonious coming together of cultures: we have growing collections of resources for new settlers, including books and magazines in a number of world languages. And our staff is similarly multicultural and multilingual.

So what better way to celebrate this Race Relations Day than to share this year’s theme in some of the languages that we collectively speak?

  • Te ranga tahi
  • Together we grow
  • いっしょに成長しよう
  • Juntos crecemos
  • Fakalataha auloa a tautolu
  • Ensemble, nous grandissons
  • 我们一起成长
  • Zusammen wachsen wir
  • एक साथ हम आगे बढ़ें
  • Magkasama tayong uusbong at yayabong
  • Ons groei tesame
  • با هم رشد می کنیم
  • Insieme cresciamo
  • A tatou fa’atasi e tupu
  • 우리 함께 가요
  • Samen groeien we

Can you guess what all the languages we speak are? Please comment with “together we grow” in your language if it isn’t included in the list.

Happy Race Relations Day!

Race Relations Day: People in harmony

Today is Race Relations Day.Poster

This year Mother Nature has unfortunately put a stop to those events such as the Lantern Festival and Culture Galore which celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community. However now more than ever it’s important to remember the many cultures which call New Zealand home, and support each other.

If your neighbours or colleagues are new to Christchurch or have difficulty understanding English, you can help them get the information they need.

Here are some useful resources:

And for an inspiring look at the way in which Asian communities have been helping Christchurch in the recovery effort, Asia Downunder had a nice segment on its programme of 20 March, which you can watch at TVNZ Ondemand.