Thursday, 6 August 2009

good things happening in nelson

in lieu of not posting for a couple of days, i've putting up two posts in succession, although this one is also mostly cut & paste, like the last one was.

this a press release i received via AEN from the race relations commissioner, & is great positive example which i'd like to share:

A report released this week in Nelson contains sobering information on the incidence of racial harassment and abuse in the region, but Nelson organisations that contributed to the report deserve congratulations for having the courage to confront the issue, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

“These incidents happen all over New Zealand, not just in Nelson”, Mr de Bres said. “ What is significant about the Nelson and Tasman situation is that local organisations have got together and resolved to ask people about their experience and to do something about it."

The report - Towards a Reporting System for Racist Incidents in Nelson/Tasman - Diverse Communities Speak - was launched at a function in Nelson on Monday 3 August. Written by visiting Northern Ireland human rights lawyer Debbie Kohner, it was based on 30 focus groups involving 184 people of 48 ethnicities. It was commissioned by a coalition of organisations including the Nelson Multicultural Council, the Nelson Safer Communities Council, the Tasman District Council, the Nelson City Council, the New Zealand Police, Settling In, the Human Rights Commission and the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme.

They decided to investigate the issues after a presentation at Whakatu marae in February where a coalition of Christchurch organisations outlined their initiative for a reporting website for international students experiencing racial harassment.

“It was sad to hear that so many people had accepted racist abuse as simply being part of life in New Zealand,” Ms Kohner said.

Police area commander Inspector Brian McGurk said police and community leaders were taking the report seriously.

"We will be working to ensure it is followed up with a reporting system that provides a voice and direct action for those suffering racial harassment or discrimination."

It would be for anyone who experienced racism, not just students, and would not just be web-based, Mr McGurk said.

It would include phone calls and possibly face to face reporting.

The Christchurch groups (which include the Christchurch City Council, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Canterbury and Lincoln Universities, Christchurch Polytech, the Police and the Human Rights Commission) and the Nelson organisations will speak at a forum on the safety of international students and communities at the New Zealand Diversity Forum on 24 August in Wellington.
Dr Helen Szoke, Executive Director of the Victorian Equality and Human Rights Commission, will also speak about the response to the recent racial attacks on international students in Melbourne.

Executive summary of the Nelson report (PDF 400Kb)

Full text of the Nelson report (PDF 1.8Mb)

Details of the forum on the safety of international students and communities.


Anonymous said...

What a load of nonsense.
Late 2005 'New Zealand born Asian' is attacked in Nelson. Mayor and Police hold a public meeting attended by the press saying 'no, no, no we are not going to tolerate this'. Meanwhile, shortly after this Ministry of Social Development reports of personal testimonies talking of Police shrugging their shoulders when a report was made to them of racist abuse in the middle of town. Nelson 2007, another public meeting is held. In this meeting were councillors, Police, local Iwi and sundry. Again, all turn up and say no no no etc etc - some Ministry people from Wellington act all important chairing the meeting and then clear off back to Wellington. Influential person in Nelson secretly says 'I think that was a tick box exercise' In Late 2007 our Asian homestay student is attacked by having eggs thrown at her from a passing car. After persuading her to make a complaint the call taker at the police station says 'theres nothing we can do unless we have a car rego number'. They refuse to even come out and take a statement or pass the matter to victim support. This 2009 report is another tick box exercise because some lawyer on a working holiday visa wants some voluntary work. The Wellington and Nelson bureaucrats think this is great (more funding). The media make a big fuss - it sells newspapers. The rest of us know this is just another tick box exercise. If not, where do I report racism then? It is September, I am heavily involved in the Asian community and don't know.

stargazer said...

i'm sorry that you have to deal with this, and that the situatio is so difficult. it may be worth contacting one of the police ethnic liaison officers, kefeng chu. of course, the main issue is a change of culture that is required in the area, and that takes much longer. i'm afraid i don't have any easy answers for you, but let me know if there's anything i can help with...