Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Ministry of Ethnic Communities and MP for Mt Roskill Michael Wood hosted the United Nations’ Race Relations Day celebrations at the Parliament on Tuesday, Mat 7 attended by representative of several communities and religious organisations.

The Race Relations Day, which was earlier, scheduled for March 21 was postponed due to the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15.

The Human Rights Commission works in partnership with Multicultural New Zealand, (Federation of Multicultural Councils Inc.) to organise and celebrate Race Relations Day.

Raveen Annamalai

The event was used as an opportunity to launch the new project International Volunteers Network (IVN)- an initiative of Multicultural NZ involving Diplomatic Core and getting young people engaged and creating an understanding between different communities in New Zealand.

ICN-MNZ will be a networking framework linking Multicultural Councils, Newcomers Networks, Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in NZ for Public & Cultural Diplomacy and Assistance to Nationals.

The launch of IVN is a significant step to create more bridges of understanding between people of different nationalities, faiths and belief residing in the country.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the president of Multicultural NZ, Pancha Narayan and Philippine Ambassador in New Zealand AmbaGary Domingo.

“International Volunteers Network is a positive initiative by MNZ which was announced on the occasion of United Nation’s Official race Relations Day event in the parliament,” MP Michael Wood said.

Signing of the MoU

“The initiative launched today [IVN] will complement some of the things we do as a government to build understanding between people and social cohesion that people can understand each other and become one of the best multicultural countries in the world,” Mr Wood added.

Multicultural NZ is a national organisation presides over 23 constituent regional multicultural councils and 38 Newcomers Network throughout New Zealand and national councils for women, youth, seniors and business.

Present at the event were Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa, MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Inspector Naidoo, community and faith leaders from across different parts of New Zealand.

Three young students also spoke about the significance of this day [RRD] and what is means to the younger generation living in New Zealand, of which many go through racism and race based bullying.

New Zealand is now one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Race Relations Day enables all New Zealanders to celebrate and share their own culture, while also enjoying the culture of others. To celebrate and support the sharing of language, cultural practices, ideas and food, a number of events have been organised around the country.

About Race Relations Day

March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is observed globally to remember 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 black South African citizens - including ten children - were shot to death by their own police for protesting against racial apartheid laws.

Race Relations Day provides an opportunity to New Zealanders of more than 200 ethnic backgrounders to come together acknowledging and celebrating the diversity in the country.