Today, March 21 is International Race Relations Day
Wellington, March 21, 2019
We need to understand each other this Race Relations Day.
The theme of this year’s Race Relations Day – ‘O Tātou Iwi, Ō Tātou Ahurea, Ō Tātou Reo – Our People, Our Cultures, Our Languages’ – is poignant and appropriate.
It is incredibly moving to see the outpouring of aroha, compassion and kindness from throughout New Zealand to what happened in Christchurch last Friday (March 15, 2019).
We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters at this tragic time.
Pride in diversity
I take great pride in New Zealand’s diversity.
We are a land that is proudly multicultural, a land where over 200 ethnic groups live and speak 160 languages.
We are a country of diverse races, faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities, and we need to understand each other to address the challenges we face because we all make Aotearoa New Zealand home.
Partnership in observance
By working together in partnership, we will be a step closer to achieving the theme of this year’s Race Relations Day: O tātou iwi, ō tātou ahurea, ō tātou reo – Our people, our cultures, our languages.
Change should come from us as individuals, as part of the wider community. A change in mindsets. A change in attitudes and behaviours.
On this Race Relations Day, we will remember the Christchurch victims and grieve as one. All races and faiths have come together to remember the 50 people who died on Friday, and we must harness this grief and sense of unity to move forward.
Anita Balakrishnan is Director, Office of Ethnic Communities, Government of New Zealand. She lives in Wellington.