About

The Race Unity Speech Awards and Hui are  initiatives of the New Zealand Baha’i Community

 
 

The Speech Awards are a platform for senior high school students to express their ideas on how we can improve race relations in Aotearoa. The Speech Awards give eloquent and thoughtful young people a chance to speak their minds and give the rest of New Zealand a chance to listen to the leaders of tomorrow. The Speech Awards are held in support of Race Relations Day (21 March), and the topic for the Speech Awards is often aligned with the theme for Race Relations Day.

Race Unity Hui are spaces where young people advance the conversation about race relations in Aotearoa. All people aged 15-30 are welcome to deepen their understanding of race issues and share their thoughts on how we can become more just and unified as a society. 

The New Zealand Baha’i Community believes that giving young people a voice on issues of race is an important part of improving race relations in Aotearoa. We coordinate these initiatives with generous support from the NZ Police, the Human Rights Commission, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Hedi Moani Charitable Trust and other sponsors. 

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Congratulations for delivering a fantastic Race Unity Conference.

Ethnic Affairs Judge

 
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Origins

The Race Unity Speech Awards were started in 2001 following the passing of Bahá’í and race relations advocate Hedi Moani.

 
 

Hedi was concerned both to foster constructive relations with the indigenous people of New Zealand, and to help address racism against people of colour. Hedi was instrumental in the establishment of Race Relations Day in New Zealand, but sadly he was killed in 1998, just months before Race Relations Day was first observed in 1999. The Speech Awards were established in 2001  as a way of honouring Hedi’s memory and as a contribution to promoting harmonious race relations in New Zealand.

Read more about the history of the Race Unity Speech Awards.

The Race Unity Hui started soon after the Speech Awards became a national event. With so many students from around the country travelling to Auckland to participate in the Speech Awards at the national level, we saw an opportunity to create a space where these students and other young people could help shape the conversation about race relations in Aotearoa. 

Read more about the Race Unity Hui.

 

Tribute

 
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“Hedi was a most valuable friend of my Office and a very important ambassador for race relations in New Zealand. His quiet, unassuming, tireless and totally selfless presence was strengthening to all who worked with him. His memory will always remain and he will always be missed by us.”

– Dr Rajen Prasad, former Race Relations Conciliator

 
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