I hope you had the opportunity to take a break over the summer break to spend time with family and friends. As you get back into the swing of things, the team here at Commonwealth Youth New Zealand has been busy planning this year's events programme. We are excited for another full-on year with lots of opportunities for young people to engage with diplomats, government officials, NGO leaders, and everyone in between.
As you know, today is Waitangi Day. On this day 175 years ago, modern New Zealand was formed out of a partnership between Maori and Pakeha. How far have we come since then? Are we a more harmonious society? How has that partnership affected how we are perceived on the world stage? Does our laid back reputation make us strong or are we taken for granted?
We have no real internal conflicts. We are constantly rated among the most peaceful and most free countries in the world. We geographically located so far away from anything else that international affairs seem distant - that lets us keep a considered perspective.
With all the tension and drama that comes with celebrations at Waitangi - mudslinging (both literal and metaphorical) and jostling and accosting politicians - we must remember that we have things pretty good here in New Zealand. The world likes that Kiwis don't take themselves too seriously; that is a credit to our good natured way of life. Yes, we have had our fair share of struggles but comparatively, we're doing alright.
Happy Waitangi Day!
Aaron Hape Executive Director
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
CYNZ members meet British Foreign Secretary
Fresh from his official visits to Singapore and Australia, some of the CYNZ team met with Rt Hon Philip Hammond, the British Foreign Secretary, on his recent visit to Wellington. Mr Hammond offered his views on the UK's strategic direction in the Pacific, as well as how the UK and New Zealand can strengthen cultural and commercial links. Thanks to UK in New Zealand for this great opportunity.
Kiwi named as Queen's Young Leader
Tabby Besley was named as the only New Zealand winner of a Queen's Young Leaders Award. Tabby is was recognised by The Queen for her work in advocating for LGBTI rights. She is the National Coordinator of InsideOUT, formerly the QSA Network Aotearoa. Congratulations, Tabby! We also extend our best wishes to the other 59 young leaders from across the Commonwealth to be named as winners.
Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network launched
Focusing on youth priorities for gender issues, participants in the forum will actively engage with Commonwealth processes to ensure youth priorities are reflected in policy and practice. The forum will take place six months ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and will be a key opportunity to discuss gender equality concerns and priorities ahead of active engagement in the Commonwealth Youth Forum, People’s Forum and Women’s Forum, which all take place in the wings of CHOGM. Applicants must have experience working on gender equality issues, either in the workplace, through studies or as a volunteer. You can find out more information at theRoyal Commonwealth Society website.
Commonwealth Games raises $10m for charity
During the 2014 Commonwealth Games, $10 million NZD was raised by the #PutChildrenFirst appeal. This money could provide 6.5 million people with a year's worth of fresh drinking water, or supply enough mosquito nets to protect 1.3 million families from malaria, which kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds.