Friday, October 29, 2010

Day of Divine Diversity


Today I just want to share a bit of writings from Botany MP , Hon Pansy Wong. (Also the current Minister of Ethnic Affairs of New Zealand) . Although her story this time does not involve the Muslim communities in New Zealand, believe it or not she was kind enough to drive for 1 and half hour to Hunua Falls for a Muslim Summer Camp organized by Youth Muslim Women of Auckland (YMWA) December last year. Her speech back then motivated me a lot to try to appreciate my difference and put it to an advantage of my own terms. 

Botany Pansy Speak

29 October 2010

Day of Divine Diversity

Last week I joined the Prime Minister on a three stop tour of some churches and temples frequented by the residents of our patch. I thought the visits were a fantastic demonstration of the diversity we are fortunate enough to enjoy here in Botany.

First we visited Reverend Andrew Brown and his congregation at the Pakuranga Baptist Church. The worshipers were obviously excited to have the Prime Minister there and gave us a very warm welcome. The church already had a Christmas feel about it as there was a giant pile of presents stacked in the foyer ready to be shipped overseas for those less fortunate.

Our next stop was just across the car park at the Baptist Chinese Church where the Reverend Albert Tang was just about to start the morning's service. Again we were given an enthusiastic welcome by the close-knit congregation. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance by the well rehearsed choir who very much looked the part of a church choir in their uniformed robes.

The third stop on our tour was just down the motorway at the Manuwera Sikh Temple. Upon our arrival we were given a tour of the Nanaksar Education Phulwari - the Childcare Centre adjacent to the Temple. While there we had an opportunity to meet with the excited children and enjoy some traditional Indian food. We were also welcomed to speak to the congregation in the temple itself. It was an impressive sight from the podium looking out over the many hundreds of attendees - the men on the right and the women on the left creating a brightly coloured sea of traditional clothing.

Below is a photo of the Prime Minister and I at story time in the Childcare Centre.
The whole day highlighted for me why New Zealand has twice been named the most peaceful nation in the world. A large part of this accomplishment can be attributed to the leaders of the various faiths in New Zealand as well as the community's respectful and inclusive nature towards a multi-faith and multi-ethnic society.

More information on Pansy Wong available here

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