Kia ora tātou,
On Sunday, Aotearoa New Zealand reflected on the terrible loss of life that took place exactly one year ago. The March 15 terrorist attacks on two mosques left us shocked, and as the past 12 months have unfolded we have collectively thought a lot about what we want for our country and how we can ensure our inclusivity and care for one another creates a culture where the violence of March 15 is not seen in this country again.
It’s something we’ve thought a lot about here at the National Commission, too. Our work is fundamentally about creating peace through dialogue, and that principle has guided us over the last year.
There have been several initiatives that have supported this mahi.
The Youth Diversity Forum we hosted with the Human Rights Commission, mana whenua Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu in Christchurch brought young thinkers together to carve out their vision and ensuing actions for the Aotearoa they want to live in.
Starting challenging conversations, and learning how to have them was the premise of Ara Taiohi’s MOSAIC cards that have been created as conversation starters for whanau and those working with youth, for young people to have a healthy dialogue about prejudice and where it comes from.
Understanding our own history and sharing it with others is another way to foster empathy between people, and a new project that supports Muslim women to develop new skills is doing that through oral history. The Our Hijrah (our migration) project will record spoken histories of Muslim migration to New Zealand dating back to the 1950s. Creating community connections and a shared sense of identity and history, the project will also equip women to learn new skills and acquire professional experience.
These projects have been supported by the National Commission because of their integrity and values, and we are committed to continue supporting initiatives that facilitate social cohesion and peace between citizens.
National Commission Chair