Race Unity Speech Awards go from strength to strength

Race Unity Speech Awards go from strength to strength

National News

"Brown is the colour of poo, right? I don’t like you, you are brown and brown is the colour of poo”.

Rima Shenoy's vivid childhood memory of a playground incident opens the speech that won her first place in this year's Race Unity Speech Awards.

The Queen Margaret College student presented her powerful oration at a recent school assembly attended by Police Superintendent Wallace Haumaha, General Manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres from the Human Rights Commission, and representatives from the Bahai Community and the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

To see the video of this event click here: http://www.police.govt.nz/featured/race-unity-speech-awards-go-strength-...

New Zealand Police has been a key partner in the awards since the Bahai Community started them 11 years ago and became an official sponsor in 2008. Five years on from that decision, Superintendent Haumaha says the awards have gone from strength to strength and are a powerful tool for spreading a message of tolerance and unity.

"Our vision is about safer communities together - regardless of where your country of origin may be," says Superintendent Wallace Haumaha.

“If we can support the integration of cultures respecting differences, helping people get on with each other it makes our job a lot easier."

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said Rima's speech "...was very multi-cultural in its reference, but most of all it was a heartfelt, as well as a thoughtful delivery which raised some really important points."

Deborah Gilbertson, Regional Co-ordinator, Race Unity Speech Awards, Lower-North Island sector says the competition encourages young people to spread a positive message amongst their peers.

"From a Bahai point of view we want to foster unity and diversity. We want to foster the kind of society that considers the equality and the unity of all mankind. But to get there you need young people who embrace that message and start talking to other young people about it."

To find out more about the Race Unity Speech Awards contact the NZ Bahai National Office on 09 837 4866 or go to www.bahai.org.nz