This year on the Race Relations Day the Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is calling all New Zealanders to stand up for one another and to stand up for what we believe in – creating a truly multicultural society.

“This year we are focused on encouraging New Zealanders to answer these two questions: What do you stand for? What do you want [against]?  The world is at crossroads when it comes to race relations: the way we treat each other will decide what path New Zealand goes down,” Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said.

Every year March 21 is celebrated as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to mark the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 black South African citizens – including ten children – were shot to death by their Police for protesting against racial apartheid laws.

Lately, there has been a surge in reports of personal racist attacks on people from ethnic minorities.

In the last few weeks, Indian Weekender had covered a couple of incidents of racist ranting hurled at Indian-New Zealanders in Auckland where alleged offenders were caught live on camera screaming “go back to your country,” on seemingly trivial disputes in public places.

Speaking at an event this morning in Auckland to launch Race Relations Day, Ms Devoy acknowledged the rising incidents of racist attacks on people from ethnic minorities.

 “We want people to record attacks, to support people who are being attacked and to ensure attacks are reported,” Ms Devoy said.

“When we see yet another racist attack on the news we need to ask ourselves: Is this us? Is this the kind of country we want to be? If the answer is No, then we need to do something.”

“What we do today is our insurance policy for the future of our nation,” Ms Devoy further reiterated.

This year several events have been planned nationwide throughout the month of March to celebrate Race Relations Day.

“With race relations events planned from Oamaru to Gisborne, Wanganui to Invercargill, what’s great is that we are celebrating race relations in our provinces and smaller towns not just our big cities. While we have our tough times we do care about and respect each other, and it shows,” Ms Devoy said.

More than 30 events are being held throughout March with more being added to the list every day.