Race Unity Speech Awards next weekend

Event to mark 20th anniversary of Hedi Moani

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Auckland, May 6, 2018

The annual National Race Unity Speech final and Awards ceremony will be held at 430 pm on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Te Mahurehure Marae, 73 Premier Avenue, Pt Chevalier, Auckland.

Senior High school students from various part of New Zealand will participate in the Contest, which this year marks the 20th anniversary of Hedi Moani, an Iran-born member of the Baha’i faith, who was known for his passion for race relations, oratory and youth.

About the Speech Awards

Aidan MacLeod of the New Zealand Baha’i Community said that the and Speech Awards combine these interests in a powerful way.

The New Zealand Baha’i Community established the Race Unity Speech Awards in 2001 as a contribution towards addressing prejudice. Since then, the Speech Awards have grown to include regional forums across the country.

The National Final of the Speech Awards on May 12, 2018 will bring together top speakers from these regional forums.

About Hedi Moani

Mr Hedi Moani was born in Iran and migrated to New Zealand in 1982.

He was an active member of the Baha’i Faith and Baha’is are persecuted for their beliefs in Iran. He had a strong affinity with Maori people and culture, and developed a special relationship with the people of Ratana Pa.

In 1997, the New Zealand media gave extensive coverage to a series of racially-motivated incidents aimed at non-Europeans, including verbal and physical assaults.

Mr Moani was deeply concerned by these incidents and helped organise a “Unity in Diversity Rally” in Auckland’s Aotea Square, which eventually led to the establishment of Race Relations Day in 1999.

Mr Hedi Moani died in October 1998, just a few months before the first Race Relations Day was held in New Zealand.

Sadly, his faith as a Baha’i was a motivating factor in the assault that led to his death.

“Hedi escaped religious persecution in Iran, and did his utmost to promote harmonious race relations in New Zealand. It was tragic that prejudice played a role in his death, yet Hedi’s example has motivated many young New Zealanders to speak out against prejudice and to strive for unity,” Mr MacLeod said.

Race Unity Conference

The Annual Race Unity Conference will also be held on Saturday May 12, 2018, immediately before the National Final of the Speech Awards, from 930 am to 4 pm at the same venue.

The Conference aims to provide a space where youth can push forward thinking about race relations in New Zealand.

The Keynote session for this year’s Conference will be a dialogue between academic Dr Arama Rata and Rez Gardi on the ‘Race, Unity and Justice.’

The Conference will include preparation of a Conference Statement representing youth views on Race Relations, and workshops run by artists, educators and government officials.

The Principal Sponsors of the Race Unity Speech Awards and Conference are the New Zealand Police. Other sponsors include the Hedi Moani Charitable Trust, the Human Rights Commission and the Office of Ethnic Communities.

What: Race Unity Conference

Where: Te Mahurehure Marae, 73 Premier Avenue

Pt Chevalier, Auckland

When: Date: Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 930 am

What: Race Unity Speech Final and Awards

When: Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 430 pm

Where: Same as above

Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner provided.

Entry: Free for all


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