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International food and cultures at Race Relations Day 2014


Whangarei is celebrating Race Relations Day and Baha’i New Year with an international Food Event starting at 5pm on Saturday 22 March, at Forum North.  

Admission is free to the international evening that coincides with the Baha’i New Year and will feature stalls from different ethnic and community groups selling food. Whangarei District Council is supporting this colorful event as part of the Endless Summer Festival and to embrace the District’s cultural diversity.

Countries represented include Pacific Islands, India, China, Thai and Persia as well as multi-ethnic food stalls from English Language Partners, Whangarei Migrant Centre and WINGS. Several organizations will be present as well, including and Citizen Advice Bureau.

“It is a unique way of celebrating cultural diversity in Whangarei, as food is a very important part of all cultures,” says Baha’i spokesperson, Arasteh Hancock.  “There will also be dance, music, arts and crafts and presentations throughout the evening.”

This is the sixth year that Race Relations Day has been held as a public event in Whangarei.  The cooperation of various community groups in partnership with the local Baha’i community makes the event possible.

The evening is organised by a committee from the Baha’i community, Settlement Support (as part of Whangarei District Council), English Language Partners, Whangarei Migrant Centre, and WINGS – the local International Social Group of Women.

The evening will provide an opportunity to meet new people and to showcase different cultures and enjoy ethnic food and entertainment.

Race Relations Day, 21 March, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world.

It is a time to reflect on the cultural diversity of New Zealand. Many community groups, councils, schools, workplaces, marae and places of worship around the country are encouraged to celebrate the value of cultural diversity and the need to support harmonious race relations.

“The theme for Race Relations Day 2014 is “I am Aotearoa/New Zealand…together we grow.” Belonging and feeling connected is essential for a healthy society. This year’s theme explores the balance between having our own individual identities and the potential of a diverse and united collective,” said Mrs Hancock.

“It expresses that everyone here in Aotearoa, no matter what their race or cultural background, belongs, and that there are many ways of being a New Zealander. If we understand and appreciate our differences we can grow together into an Aotearoa New Zealand that is based on dignity and respect.”

Race Relations Day on 21 March recalls the tragic loss of life at Sharpeville in South Africa in 1960, and is dedicated by the United Nations to the achievement of the goals of the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  New Zealand signed the Convention on 25 October 1966 and ratified it on 22 November 1972.