April 2008

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Speech competition promotes race unity

NZ Police is helping promote more harmonious race relations in New Zealand by sponsoring the national race unity speech award for the next five years.

The speech competition has been organised since 1999 by the Baha’i community in association with the Human Rights Commission. Today, the annual senior secondary school speech competition is run in 14 areas around New Zealand.

Each year the event supports Race Relations Day (21 March), and features a different race relations topic.

“We’re delighted to be involved with the award in partnership with the Baha’i,” says Kefeng Chu, Strategic Ethnic Advisor, Police National HQ, who arranged the sponsorship.

“This is a great opportunity for Police to help promote a more inclusive society – and is very much in line with our ethnic strategy.”

The award is supported by Superintendent Wally Haumaha, National Manager Māori Pacific Ethnic Services, Police National HQ.

“To act in the interests of a fair and just society, we cannot fail in our duty to take notice of what our young people who participate in these awards are telling us,” says Wally.

“Celebrating diversity allows students to develop the skills to lead successful and productive lives.

“We want to give our young people the opportunity to spread the unity message of positive race relations. They will be the ones to unite our communities through the promotion of education and moral excellence.”

 

Police sponsorship of the speech competition has been applauded by the Human Rights Commission, Interfaith Forum and the Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres.

Interfaith Forum Chairperson, Dr Pushpa Wood, says members of all faiths represented at the Forum welcomed the partnership and other initiatives by Police to enhance intercultural and interfaith understanding.

In particular, the Forum supported the Police ethnic responsiveness strategy, the Police handbook on religious diversity, and recruitment of staff of all faiths and ethnicities.

Police sponsorship will help provide prizes and travel for regional winners to attend the national semi-finals and finals. Police will also help determine the topic and judge the award each year.

This year’s competition started in February. The finals are in Auckland this month.

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