On Wednesday 18 March 2009, Patricia and myself from Volunteer Porirua helped to serve morning tea to around 90 people in honour of the Celebration to mark Race Relations Day 21 March 2009 at Pataka.  The morning included music and talks relevant to community organisations in Porirua and the changing social landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand.  We heard that with one in three people now living in Aotearoa New Zealand born overseas, the time has come to see Aotearoa New Zealand in a new way.

School groups were among those whom visited Pataka from 11.00am onwards to participate in The Earth Family Project that followed on from morning tea.  Groups and members of the public came to make a clay figure of themselves and their family. The concept of the Earth Family Project is that on the outside we appear different but on the inside we are made up of the same elements, and the creation of the Earth Family is symbolic of our human diversity. Children especially enjoyed taking part, and couldn’t wait to get their hands on their piece of clay!  There was alot of fun had by all, drawing faces in the clay and making figures with our creative spirit!

Children making earth clay figures

The clay figures symbolise that we are all the same in that all the figures in the project are made of clay, yet all the figures appear different.  The figures were put on display at Pataka for the day.

Clay Figures

Clay Figures

The project has been running for a couple of years in different areas in Aotearoa New  Zealand, and is gaining popularity year by year.  The Earth Family project aims to deal with the concept of difference and race relations by drawing on creativity, and is suitable for all ages including children and youth.

Earth Family Day was organised by Annette Woods of Porirua Settlement Support, Porirua City Council and in Conjunction with Te Kahui Tika Tangata the Human Rights Commission.  Porirua City Council is a participant in Te Ngira, the Diversity Action Programme.

Submitted by Jennifer


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2 responses »

  1. Annette Woods says:

    It was a great event and I would like to thank Jennifer and Patricia for your support setting up, helping witht the food. making figures and helping witht he clay in the Spine and packing up!!! I coudn’t have done it without you. Volunteers rock.

  2. Congratulations to Annette and all who took part in organising and being part of this great project. Earth Family will hopefully grow and infiltrate all our districts as time goes by. A quote from the recent Listener article interview with Antonio Guterres seems relevant now to the aims of this project. Guterres was a former prime minister of Portugal and is now the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    He praises the standards sof NZ’s settlement policy for refugees and says although his agency would always like to see countries take more refugees, it is important not to compromise the quality of the resettlement process. He says it is noteworthy that in NZ such resettlement is not seen simply as a government responsibility but is taken on by local authorities, charities and ‘civil society.’

    The Porirua event is a good example of civil society involvement – and goodwill.


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