Welcome to the 2018 Race Unity Website!

Congratulations to Hena Dugh from Hastings Girls’ High School for winning the 2018 Race Unity Speech Awards with an outstanding speech on the theme Give Nothing to Racism!


Hena Dugh, National Winner, Hastings Girls’ High School

Hena’s speech challenged us to recognise our common humanity, asking “If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you poison us, do we not die?”

Hena’s speech asked all New Zealanders to consider whether we will contribute to racism, or be part of the solution. “Every day a fight is going on inside you. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. We all have a choice – whether to feed the wolf of compassion, peace and acceptance or the wolf of resentment and racism. So now, I ask you, which wolf will you feed?”

Hena’s speech can be viewed on YouTube:


Zoha Shuaib, National Runner Up, Palmerston North Girls’ High

The runner up was Zoha Shuaib of Palmerston North Girls High School, who spoke about how we can go about eradicating racism from our country. “Aotearoa New Zealand is not a country free from racism; but, it is a country that has had a history of uniting against it, and that, I believe, is more powerful than if racism had never touched this great land in the first place.”

Zoha’s speech can be viewed on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=222HD9y_klk

This year’s Speech Awards mark 20 years since the tragic passing of race relations advocate Hedi Moani. Hedi was a member of the Baha’i Faith, and this was a factor in the assault that led to his death. The New Zealand Baha’i Community established the Race Unity Speech Awards after his passing as a contribution to eliminating prejudice and bringing about unity.  You can read more about Hedi under the “History” tab.

The New Zealand Police are the principal sponsors of the Speech Awards, and District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny was Chief Judge at the National Final. Tusha said: “We always speak of people being tomorrow’s leaders but they’re leading today….  Now we all have a responsibility to help them share their speech with others and continue having a voice.”

The speeches of the other finalists can be heard here:

The six finalists from 2018 are shown here with the judging panel:

National Finalists with judges

Back row, left to right: Judges: Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan (representing the Minister of Ethnic Communities); Dame Susan Devoy (Race Relations Commissioner); Superintendent Tusha Penny (NZ Police); Professor Edwina Pio (Diversity Professor, AUT); Barbara Morgan (Speech Communications Association)

Front row, left to right: Finalists: Zoha Shuaib (runner-up); Hena Dugh (winner, 2018); David Koshy; David Faalau-Solia, Tammy Smith and Jessica Mehana

The Race Unity Conference held in the morning immediately before the National Final of the Speech Awards, was also a wonderful success.  See under the “Conference” tab for full details and for a link to the Conference statement.






The Race Unity Speech Awards and the Race Unity Conference were initiated by the New Zealand Baha’i community in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
They are organised in support of Race Relations Day and the Diversity Action programme. See under the History tab for further information.