Mercy Sisters win national diversity award

The Human Rights Commission award recognises the commitment of the Trust to diversity action in their various ministries, which include aged-care facilities, secondary colleges for girls, spirituality and retreat centres, and a range of community development and social service initiatives.

This year the Trust’s projects have included talks encouraging interfaith understanding, and school celebrations of Matariki and Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori.

On behalf of the Trust, Sister Anne Frost rsm accepted the award, which was presented at the recent Annual New Zealand Diversity Forum held in Christchurch.

Sisters Catherine Jones and Bertha Hurley smsm from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference Committee for Interfaith Relations also attended the Forum, which had as its theme: “We are New Zealand: it’s About Us”.

The focus was on developing strategies for a society inclusive of all kinds of diversity, such as religious, ethnic, economic, age, educational, health, family, language, sexual and physical.

Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, delivered the Forum’s opening address. He was joined by members of the Human Rights Commission and various MPs who attended the Forum.

Key speakers included Australian Race Discrimination and Disabilities Commissioner, Graeme Innes; Victoria University Lecturer in Religious Studies, Paul Morris; Chief Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, Rosslyn Noonan, and Maori Language Commissioner, Hana O’Regan.

There was also a Youth Forum, which concluded with 65 youth leaders from around the country presenting their findings to other Forum participants through drama, music, dance and humour. Children’s Commissioner, John Angus, responded to their presentations.