Police Media Centre
Wellington, May 14, 2017
Students from around the country have asked Kiwis to stand up against racism and reconsider what it means to be a New Zealander.
Yesterday, (May 13), Tauawhi Bonilla of Te Aute College won the National Final of the 2017 Race Unity Speech Awards.
Mr Bonilla challenged our idea of what makes someone a ‘kiwi.’
“We are all the same, but all unique at the same time, our unity empowers us, but our diversity strengthens us,” he said.
Police are, once again, a very proud principal sponsor of the event and Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha was Chief Judge on the panel for National Finals.
Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha, greeted the winner and all others who competed at all levels of the competition.
“Their conversations are important in strengthening unity and overcoming discrimination of all forms,” he said.
The 2017 Race Unity Speech Awards were contested by over 150 high school students from 14 different regions of New Zealand.
Runner up to the winner, George Sabonadiere of Logan Park High School in Dunedin spoke of racism as having to be fought with empathy and understanding.
Baha’i Community initiative
The Race Unity Speech Awards were initiated by the Baha’i Community in 2001, following the death of race relations activist Hedi Moani.
Immediately before the National Finals, an all-day conference was attended by the finalists and semi-finalists, and their supporters.
The conference was opened by New Plymouth Mayor and race relations advocate Andrew Judd who spoke about his own efforts as a “recovering racist.’
Other sponsors of the event other than the New Zealand Police, were the Human Rights Commission, the Office of Ethnic Communities, and the Hedi Moani Charitable Trust.