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UN International Day of Families 2018

UPF-New Zealand Celebrates UN International Day of Families

Aukland, New Zealand—UPF-New Zealand commemorated the UN International Day of Families on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at the Life Vision Center in Papatoetoe, Auckland. A total of 70 participants from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds gathered for the event. The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the Life Vision Trust—a Sikh community-based service organization.

The event was graced by a number of important speakers who have been serving the community and the nation in various capacities. Dr. Parmjeet Parmar, member of Parliament and former commissioner of the New Zealand Families Commission, explained the purpose of the Families Commission, which is to advocate for families facing many different challenges. She believes that research and evidence are needed to guide social policy that can provide effective support. One important focus in her research has been resilience in children and the factors that affect their future. She also remarked that the peaceful coexistence of the diverse communities in New Zealand is a wonderful thing that deserves to be celebrated.

Mr. Ross Robertson, deputy chairperson of the Otara/Papatoetoe local board of Auckland City Council and a former member of Parliament, emphasized that families are the glue that holds society together but today are facing serious, unprecedented challenges. Values, ethics and the spiritual dimension are fundamental to the survival of democracy; he warned that in the face of the decline of these values the world is at the threshold of a cold winter. On the positive side, healso pointed out that South Auckland is the spiritual capital of New Zealand, filled with diverse religious communities whose faith traditions play an important role in sustaining and nurturing their families.

Mr. Prithipal Basra, chairman of Auckland Sikh Society, spoke about youths who are at risk of becoming trapped in drug and alcohol addictions due to family instability. He emphasized the importance of the ongoing support of family and community (e.g. volunteering) rather than waiting for the government to intervene. If the youths who are at risk do not receive help now, he said, their number will multiply and in 20 years the problems will be out of hand. Mr. Basra encouraged everyone present to care for disaffected young people as if they were our own children.

Mr. Adel Jamati, director of UPF-New Zealand, spoke on the sacredness of marriage as the key to happiness and family stability, drawing from scriptural evidence from all major religions. The program was interluded with an uplifting youth choir singing “We Are the World,” a Tongan dance performance by Moana, Ata Afu and Tupou Pogoni,  and a Japanese group dance led by Mrs. Miyuki Fyers. There were also some light refreshments at the end of the event that allowed everyone present to enjoy the opportunity to interact and express their appreciation for the program. UPF-New Zealand, in collaboration with political, religious and civic leaders, seeks to promote and uplift the family ideal and strives to offer innovative and enduring solutions.

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