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Day of Peace in Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand - The Manurewa Marae in Auckland hosted an International Day of Peace celebration September 21, 2008 which featured music, dances, a martial arts demonstration, and prayers for peace. A marae is a sacred place for the Maori people of New Zealand (and other islands of the Pacific) where culture can be celebrated. There were 170 people from many different nationalities assembled at 11:00 a.m. to begin two hours of festivities for peace.

The MC was Barbara Minett, who gave a few words of peace from the Dalai Lama. The day began with opening words from Tumuaki Rangi McLean, who is the project manager of the Manurewa Marae and also an Ambassador for Peace. This was followed by a karakia (prayer in Maori) from Kaumatua Bob Clark. Hyo Jung Kim, President of Service for Peace-New Zealand, read the United Nations Statement of Peace. A minute of silence was then observed. UPF representative Mrs. Ruth Cleaver read the Peace Declaration of the Universal Peace Federation.

With everyone well informed of the meaning of the Day of Peace, offerings of inspiring words, songs, and dances began. Everyone joined in singing the Global Peace Festival Anthem, “Where Peace Begins,” led by Junki Kim and eight-year-old Shim Gicole. Whaea Misty led Te Whanau Awhina Clendon Park Primary Kapa Haka students in a stunning performance of Maori cultural singing and dancing. This was followed by Kampta Maharaj sharing Hindu words of peace and a dance performed by four young girls. The Manurewa Marae, Te Tai Tonga Kapa Haka gave a spiritually powerful performance led by Damon. Trishvin Kaur from Naujawan Sabha NZ (a youth group) interpreted the words of the Sikh prayers that they sang. Master Seti Suafa led a group of youth in a Tongil Moo Do Martial Arts form of peace, and three of the children also performed the “Eye of the Tiger.” The final performance was by Emilie Harwood, who beautifully sang two songs that she had written. The first was written specifically for this day, and everyone could see the passion she had for singing about peace.

UPF Chairperson, Geoffrey Prentice, introduced the Global Peace Festival that will take place on February 21, 2009, in Manukau to give people another peace event to look forward to. The event concluded by again singing “Where Peace Begins.”

Everyone felt very inspired by seeing the performances for peace and could see that in this environment there is hope for the future. A group photo was taken before lunch began.

Special thanks belong to all the sponsors and supporters for the day: Rangi McLean and the Manurewa Marae, Gary Troup, acting Mayor and Manukau City Council, as well as community and faith groups, individuals, and families.

To read UPF's Peace Declaration and reports of observances in other nations, click here.

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