Race Unity Speech Awards – the call for humanity and togetherness

Race Unity Speech Awards – the call for humanity and togetherness

Inspector Rakesh Naidoo, Senior Constable Elizabeth Young and Deputy Commissioner Haumaha with the winner, Robbie White
National News

Congratulations to Race Unity Speech Awards 2019 winner Robbie White of New Plymouth Boys’ High School, and runner up Nina Gelashvili of Kuranui College in Wellington. 

Robbie and Nina delivered captivating speeches on ethnic inclusiveness in New Zealand. 

Robbie used the imagery of a tui building a nest to illustrate stong and united communities - “Up, down, out and within, the tui weaves the nest. The nest of ‘he tangata’, the nest of the people. Humans woven together, united regardless of where they come from, their individual beliefs or the colour of their skin.”

NZ Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, awards night Chief Judge, said the multi-agency judging panel was impressed by Robbie’s skilled use and understanding of te reo, whakatauki and using the tui to intertwine his concepts.  He summed up Robbie’s brilliant use of metaphor combining the elements of cultural difference to enhance the richness and benefits of celebrating diversity and unity as a nation.

Nina’s approach to end racism using four guiding principles of inclusion, acceptance, love and education articulated the choices society can make - “We as a society give racism the opportunity to claim our history...it’s our job to teach love, to teach that inclusion and acceptance because these are our responsibilities as society today. The next generation is waiting for us to make a change.”

Deputy Commissioner Haumaha said this year’s speeches were a higher level than previous years. 

“I was incredibly impressed by all of the competitors; their place at national finals was well deserved.  They articulated their individual experiences and observations extremely well, with a powerful honesty.

“I also congratulate all 130 regional speech competitors and thank their families for supporting them on their journey.  Their dedication and commitment to sharing in this important dialogue is key.” 

Deputy Commissioner Haumaha says thirty Police officers and staff of all ethnicities participate each year on the multi-agency judging panels. 

“Police staff are constantly impressed at the calibre of speeches they are judging each year and they often ask to participate again in future years.  I thank them all for their participation. 

"I’m very proud to support as principal sponsor of Race Unity Speech Awards and to be involved as National Finals Chief Judge.”


Issued by Police Media Centre

Note to media: further photos available, please contact media@police.govt.nz