Smack bang in the middle of Matariki, the Maori New Year and all the creative (indoor!) activities that are taking place at the Matariki Festival at Te Papa, World Refugee Day is one of our key times to celebrate and discuss the diversity of our beautiful people and places, and the freedom we enjoy.
This year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set the global theme as “Home”, with the accompanying statement: “They took my home but they can’t take my future.” The theme aims to highlight the plight of refugees worldwide, as well as their courage and resilience.
Celebrated on Sunday June 20, New Zealand acknowledges World Refugee Day with a myriad of events, performances, forums, and celebrations throughout the land and indeed the world.
Wellington’s World Refugee Day will kick off at 10am, 20 June, at Newtown Park beginning with the Fourth Annual World Refugee Football Match, followed by a cultural fair and a tree planting event. As in previous years, the match is expected to attract both refugee background and local communities from the Hutt Valley, Porirua and Wellington. The first match will be between Refugee All-Star players from Africa and Asia, and the second will see players from another Refugee All-Star team challenge a Wellington Invitational Eleven.
A cultural fair with music, dance and food cooked by different refugee communities at Newtown Park club rooms will follow the football matches. Refugee background communities will then be able to plant a tree to ‘put down roots’ at Mt Albert Park, in a Rotary Club of Wellington and Project Crimson initiative.
The Commissioner for Race Relationtions has established a World Refugee Day website to publicise events around the country. If you are planning one you can email them and have your event promoted for free.
Here are some photographs taken by Farah Omar, originally a refugee from Somalia, at last years World Regugee Day. These, and many other beautiful photographs are now displayed in The Mixing Room – stories from young refugees in NZ exhibition, Level 4, Te Papa.