You are invited to the next gathering to discuss the focus for Peace Action Nelson, Sunday April 11th, 12 noon, at 30 Nile Street, Nelson.
Two Friends, Rex Hunt and Gwen Struik, were among the last members of the Nelson Peace Group that finally disbanded 20 odd years ago. Now they and others hope to energise a new generation of peace activists. An initial meeting on February 28th arose from a viewing of the movie Soldiers without Guns at Victory Community Centre at the beginning of February.
Liz Remmerswaal, Director of World Beyond War Aotearoa, brought the NZ made movie to Nelson, telling the story of how a bunch of unarmed Kiwi soldiers brought peace and reconciliation to Bougainville after 10 years of civil war and 14 failed peace agreements. It is a David and Goliath story of a Pacific Island people rising up against Rio Tinto, the largest mining corporation in the world. In 1997 the NZ army stepped into the conflict with a radical new plan. Instead of taking guns into the war-zone, unarmed soldiers took guitars and culture. This idea was condemned by the national and international media - no-one thought it could work. The peacekeepers used Music, Maori culture and Aroha to end the worst civil war in the Pacific’s history.
This inspiring story of how non-violence can overcome entrenched enmities and the power of big money demonstrates an alternative narrative for our Defence Forces, one in which militarism is replaced by peacekeeping, our Navy becomes a Pacific coast guard, and warriors become emergency personnel.
Do you want to be part of creating change - in the role of NZ Defence Forces, in the amount of Government budget devoted to war preparations, in NZ's willingness to join other people's wars, our official attitude to the use of killer robots, NZ's membership of the 5 Eyes network, our obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or any other issue relevant to peace in Aotearoa?
Then please join us to discuss the focus for Peace Action Nelson on Sunday April 11th at 12 noon, at 30 Nile Street, Nelson.
Jim was well known in the Nelson community as a longstanding couples' counsellor and psychotherapist, and as a tutor on the counselling course at NMIT, where he is remembered as “the first good man" many students ever met. He was also a much appreciated member of the Quaker community. Jim was honoured by a large gathering at Fairfield House by family in New Zealand, Australia and Sweden, former colleagues, clients, students and supervisees, members of counselling and psychotherapy organisations he was part of, representatives from his blood cancer group, and Quaker friends. Claire, Jim's wife, called for a time of silence in acknowledgement of Jim's commitment to his Quaker life.
Jim became part of our Quaker community about 13 years ago out of curiosity about his spirituality and Quakerism. He spoke about passing by the Meeting House on his way to work for years, promising himself that one day he would drop in. Jim became an integral part of the Meeting, joining in and leading discussion groups on topics such as forgivenenss, compassion, trust, hatred, grief and grieving. He participated in public Quaker Quest discussion groups, especially on his long term commitment to peace and peace activism. He was a frequent participant in peace vigils at the Church Steps on Anzac Days and Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days.
Jim served Quakers nationally for several years on the Peace and Service Committee. He enrolled in Otago University National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies where Quaker Kevin Clements became the supervisor of his Masters Degree. He graduated in 2015. His thesis entitled “Working with the Impasse in Couple Relationships while working towards World Peace", submitted in December 2014, encapsulates Jim's world view.
Jim struggled with highly ambivalent feelings about spirituality and God. He came to understand that he despised God-believers whilst feeling he might be missing out by not being one. In the months before his death Jim resolved this conflict to his satisfaction. The fruit of his spiritual awakening is recorded in the last article of several he wrote for our website. You can read that under One Quaker's View. To quote from it here:
“I have spent a life-time trying to understand and create peace, non-violence and harmony, in my work and in my relationships. During the home discussion I thought about what was helpful in this pursuit. I had long kept in store a bundle of attributes any of which would contribute to more harmonious relationships. I believed that harmony was better than disharmony; that love was better than violence; that peace was better than war. I had long been convinced that violence does not work. In the long-term peace and non-violence are much better options. I concluded that this is my God: a bundle of attributes which promote peaceful harmonious relationships; empathy, compassion, love, generosity, honesty, trust etc, etc. Perhaps this was my own version of God. When I am faced with a relationship within which I am struggling I call upon my God to suggest something which I may be overlooking. To me, my God is a resource I call on when I am struggling. I felt relief, I had achieved what I set out to achieve." Rest in Peace Jim.
The third of three embroidered roundels is completed. All three were designed by Lizi McLeod-Taepa, researched by Lizi and others, and embroidered by Patricia Morrisey and others. The three embroideries record early Quaker history, the arrival of Quakers in Nelson in 1842, and subsequent relations with tanga whenua. The stories embedded in the embroideries will be told in multiple touch points on each roundel when they are uploaded to our website.
An article on the embroideries is to be included in the next issue of Threads magazine. Patricia was a member of the Nelson Embroideries Guild. An excerpt from that article by Lawrence Carter (who provided research and some stitches) records:
Roundel 3 is the most detailed, and tells the complex story of Quakers' arrival in Nelson as part of European settlement in the 1840s, and their relationship with Māori. The design deliberately contrasts indigenous and introduced elements. Efforts to implement the testimonies are alluded to in the representation of the Māori greeting or hongi, mirrored in the meeting of the finely-worked thrush and tui. Points of tension are shown by the inclusion of the surveying instrument: a reference to the Quaker surveyor John Cotterell who was killed in the Wairau conflict in 1843. The New Zealand Company employed a number of Quaker surveyors, including Cotterell, and put them in an invidious position by its dishonest land practices. Cotterell's house in Nelson, also shown, became the first Friends' meeting house in New Zealand when it was purchased by English Friends in 1853 and gifted for that purpose. In the website version of this image, touch points will allow exploration of the many detailed stories.
Lizi McLeod-Taepa adds:
I chose to design and emphasise a bi-cultural acknowledgement of our histories, by symbolizing the 'Indigenous' on the left and the 'Introduced' on the right (of Roundel 3). My desire is for these touchstones to encourage and promote peace and a deeper understanding of the truth of our colonisation and de-colonisation process.
Patricia died after living with illness with great grace, humour, and an inquisitive spirit about what was coming next. She preferred to care about others and offered kind support to all who needed it, whether over a cuppa, a game of Scrabble or with a listening ear.
She died early on Wednesday 21st October. Next morning her family and friends gathered at her home to be with her and farewell her. There will be an opportunity to all who knew her to remember Patricia in the near future at a memorial service.
There are those of us who enjoyed her hospitality at our monthly Quaker Discussion Groups, as we enjoyed her intelligence and thoughtfulness. Others worked with her a little or a great deal on the design and execution of the Nelson Quaker Embroideries, and appreciated her patience as she showed us yet again how to do Quaker stitch (it’s a real thing) or used her skill to thread our needles. The embroideries will be one of our reminders of her wonderful artistry. Other friends were drawn to her through weekly Friday afternoon Scrabble games , to enjoy her mastery of words. We all valued her humble service as our provedore, keeping us supplied with gluten free flapjacks, buttery flapjacks, and other goodies. Those who stayed in our Meeting House accommodation will remember her for her generosity of time and care. Quiz nights for her birthday celebrations are indicative of her love of knowledge and pleasure in community.
Elizabeth was staying over the night she died. She wrote: “I found Patricia quietly, peacefully, lying across her bed. She looked asleep and so vulnerable I wanted to gather her up - and I could have done, she had become so slight. I fetched Sandie to make sure I wasn't imagining things (one has such odd thoughts!), then just as I telephoned Donald, her beloved son, he arrived at the door.
Patricia was keen to re-enter the earth from which she came as simply as possible, so we wrapped her in her own cotton sheets. The council arranged a plot for her and the Sexton of Wakapuaka Cemetery prepared it. The burial took place the day after her death, Thursday 22 October at 2.30 pm, on a beautiful sunny day under blue skies and tall Gum Trees. She is facing the sea.
Because I thought she had bright wings hidden under her clothes, this has become my favourite poem 'in memoriam':
ANTIDOTES TO FEAR OF DEATH by Rebecca Elson
Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.
Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.
I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:
No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
But unconstrained by form.
And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:
To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.
The last line (well all of it really) moves me so deeply."
The aim of interfaith dialogue and activities is to promote good relations, understanding and respect among the followers of different faiths and to cultivate tolerance, compassion, unity, and peace in our community, our nation, and our world. In Nelson an Interfaith Committee has organised a programme of interfaith events from the 11th October to the 18th October.
Quakers in Nelson will host a Meeting on Saturday 17th October at 12.30pm - 1.30pm. Everyone is welcome.
The full programme is : Sunday 11th October 4pm - Queens Gardens, Nelson (Hardy Street entrance – through the gate and turn to the right)
Wednesday 14th October 6pm - Nelson Cathedral, Nelson
Saturday 17th October 12:30 – 1:30p - Quaker Meeting House, 30 Nile Street, Nelson
Sunday 18th October 2:30pm – Broadgreen Gardens, Stoke, Nelson. (on the right of the building looking from Nayland Road).
photo by Humphrey Muleba Unsplash
COVID-19 AND HUMANITARIAN DISARMAMENT
Open Letter from Civil Society
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy human and economic toll and shattered lives in many countries. The pandemic has also underscored that global solutions should be used to address global problems, in the current crisis and after it ends. Now is the moment to reflect on the world as it is and consider a better alternative for the future. A “new normal” should go beyond the field of public health to deal with other matters of ongoing international concern, including the humanitarian consequences of arms and armed conflict as well as peace and security more broadly.
Humanitarian disarmament, an approach to governing weapons that puts people first, can help lead the way to an improved post-pandemic world. Humanitarian disarmament seeks to prevent and remediate arms-inflicted human suffering and environmental damage through the establishment and implementation of norms. Originating in the mid-1990s, it has generated four international treaties, been recognized with two Nobel Peace Prizes, and inspired ongoing efforts to reduce other arms-related harm.
Humanitarian disarmament’s twin pillars of prevention and remediation should guide the allocation of resources to advance human security. COVID-19 has caused people to take a fresh look at states’ budgetary choices. To prevent arms-inflicted harm, governments and industry should stop investing in unacceptable weapons as well as strengthen the protection of civilians from the use of weapons and ensure arms transfers comply with international law. The money spent on nuclear arsenals and other military expenses could be better used for humanitarian purposes, such as health care or social spending. To remediate harm, governments should redirect money to programs that assist victims, restore infrastructure, clear explosive ordnance, and clean up conflict-related pollution. Funding the multilateral institutions that set standards on these topics and ensure their implementation would also advance humanitarian disarmament’s goals.
The principles of inclusion and non-discrimination, which are fundamental to humanitarian disarmament, should inform measures to address the inequalities that COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated. The pandemic has increased the challenges faced by conflict survivors and other persons with disabilities due to the vulnerability of certain groups, their inability to access health care and basic necessities, and restrictions on aid workers. A humanitarian disarmament response would ensure that such inequality and marginalization do not become entrenched. It would also promote more sensitive programs than existed before. States and humanitarian actors should broaden efforts to involve affected individuals and diverse populations in decision-making, gather data disaggregated by gender, age, disability, and ethnicity, and deliver assistance in a non-discriminatory manner.
Inclusivity and accessibility should underpin diplomacy as it emerges from its current digital state. Since the pandemic led to a global lockdown, in-person disarmament meetings have been canceled, postponed, or held digitally. While face-to-face meetings have important advantages, once they resume, the international community could increase inclusivity and accessibility by permitting meaningful online participation at multilateral meetings. Individuals, including survivors and other persons with disabilities, who are unable to travel due to lack of funding or visa restrictions, could add their voices to critical discussions about setting and operationalizing norms.
Finally, international cooperation should become a standard way to address global issues, as it is in humanitarian disarmament. Humanitarian disarmament treaties, which mandate international coordination, information exchange, and resource sharing, offer models of cooperation. States should adopt a cooperative approach to addressing the human and environmental harm inflicted by arms and increase their assistance to affected states. Such a cooperative mindset, reinforced by the pandemic experience, should carry over to other multilateral efforts to create, implement, and adapt international norms.
As the world transitions to a post-pandemic reality, we call on states, international organizations, and civil society to follow humanitarian disarmament’s lead. The international community should prioritize human security, reallocate military spending to humanitarian causes, work to eliminate inequalities, ensure multilateral fora incorporate diverse voices, and bring a cooperative mindset to problems of practice and policy. Together we can reshape the security landscape for the future and help create a new—and improved—“normal.”
You can learn more about Humanitarian Disarmament on the website https://humanitariandisarmament.org/ which originated in the conference “Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead,” organized by Harvard Law School’s Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative in 2018. This event gave global leaders in humanitarian disarmament an opportunity to reflect on the state of the field and strategise about its future.
While we were preparing our posters and fliers, our banners and advertising for Peace Vigils to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th 1945 we learned that Quakers are to given a Peacebuilders Award by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. The Centre has decided “to present the Quakers with a Peacebuilder’s Award for all the wonderful work your organisation does in the area of peace, including the funding you provide for our students."
This will involve the presentation of a certificate at the Centre in Dunedin on Friday 11 September. Dunedin Friends and local QPSANZ representatives will be present for the presentation and the Yearly Meeting Clerk will attend to accept the award on behalf of Yearly Meeting.
Quakers have pursued peace since 1660, and we are known internationally as a Peace Church. On Thursday 6th August we gathered at midday in Trafalgar St. Nelson for a peace vigil and to make peace cranes, and on Sunday 9th August 2020 we gathered on the Nelson Church Steps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the great destruction and loss of life, and to call for a world free of nuclear weapons. We urged passers-by to support the Campaign against Nuclear Weapons Aotearoa New Zealand in their work to persuade other governments to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passed by the UN with NZ support in 2017. Information about the Treaty is available on the web site at http://www.icanw.org.nz. We were touched by two young Japanese women who paused to talk on Sunday, one of whose grandparents were in Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped.
We will continue to mark these significant days with Peace Vigils and a call for peace.
We Quakers find hope in the communal response to the Covid-19 crisis across our nation. The collective action of New Zealanders has demonstrated how much we can achieve together in a short time. We see the current pandemic as a warning which creates an unprecedented opportunity for systemic change and as a call to remodel our nation guided by the principles of sustainability, non-violence, simplicity and equity. This is a transformation that will require redistributive and regenerative economic, government and social policies that ensure all members of society benefit in an equitable manner.
Our vision is of a society that is inclusive and respectful of all people. We affirm the special constitutional position of M?ori and a Treaty-based, bi-lateral system of government. We seek government which leads with integrity, shares information based on evidence, and engages with communities prior to decision-making. We oppose violence at every level and look to practices that bring peaceful dialogue and non-violent management of conflict.
Quakers have a strong sense of the sanctity of creation. We are committed to the development of systems and new societal norms to rebalance climate disruption, preserve biodiversity and water quality and enable New Zealanders to live simpler lives within sustainable natural boundaries. We support the use of national resources to provide housing, low-carbon transport, and regenerative food production to benefit future generations.
We see that society has been putting profit and consumption above other considerations despite clear evidence that earth’s natural limits have been exceeded. Consumer lifestyles have been destroying the natural ecosystems required by future generations. Decades of neoliberal economic and social policies have allowed a few people to set the agenda and benefit disproportionately. This has condemned many to low wages, poverty and insecurity whilst also degrading the environment.
Quakers consider that the current pandemic offers the people of Aotearoa New Zealand a chance to reassess the situation and to create a new sense of community and purpose. The Light of the Spirit has inspired Quakers through the generations into social and environmental action. We see this experience with Covid-19 as the impetus to find a way forward based firmly on the Quaker values of peace, simplicity, and equity.
Quakers call on every person in Aotearoa New Zealand to bring about whatever changes they can to enable us to live in harmony with one another and with the planet.
Yearly Meeting Clerk
It was 10 weeks since Friends last gathered together in person to share an hour of silent contemplation and worship when on Sunday 31st May we returned to the Meeting House. Because of Covid-19 restrictions Meetings for Worship have been held online by Zoom in the meantime, allowing Friends from Motueka, Blenheim, and North Canterbury to join us, as well as Friends who aren't always able to get to Meetings. Our evening discussion groups were also held online, and may continue to be through the cold winter months. So successful have these get togethers been that we intend to integrate in-person and online meetings so that Friends can continue to attend the same Meetings online.
Not only does this accommodate the needs of Friends, it has the virtue of limiting the use of fossil fuels by those who travel longer distances to be able to participate in Quaker activities.
During Level 2 we are required at our in-person gatherings to observe physical distancing of 1 metre, to maintain hygiene (hand sanitiser is on hand), eschew hand shakes, keep a record of names and contact details of attenders, and forgo refreshments. These are small things compared to the shared achievement of curtailing the coronavirus and to avoid a second wave. Nevertheless, we anticipate Level 1 eagerly if it allows a return to pot luck meals!
Anzac Day is an annual reminder of the horror of war, of the lamentable loss of life of armed forces, non-combatants and animals, and of continuing burgeoning militarism. This year vigils were held online because of the Covid-19 lockdown, hosted by Peace Movement Aotearoa in association with Quakers. There was a call for poetry, pictures and comments on Peace Movement Aotearoa's Facebook page, As always the call is for peace, to remember all the casualties of war, to remember all who resisted war and to honour the war dead by ending war.
One of the activities suggested was penning an acrostic poem using the letters of Lest We Forget as the first letter of each line. Here is a contribution by Dunedin Quaker Stephanie du Fresne:
Little ones around the world in poverty are dying
Everywhere around the world helpless women are crying
Still we are asked to prepare our country for war
To keep "combat readiness" to pay more and more and more
When all the dead were buried at Gallipoli
Eventually the Ataturk gave all his blessings and pity
Falsehoods about how easy the invasion would be before it were told
Only to ensure our fighting men going there would be bold
Reality of the ugly slaughter returning veterans said
Got transformed by parliamentary insistence to "honour our glorious dead"
Empire was glorified, we were offered national pride
Those in Aotearoa bereaved of their menfolk just went ahead and cried.
.Full stop Can we please stop the warmongering now and focus on peacebuilding?
You can find more poems and images here:
Being part of a Quaker Meeting is to be part of a loving community. Not being able to be together in the same space is like missing a family event. It doesn't mean we can't be together face to face however. From Sunday 29th March we will hold Meeting for Worship by Zoom at 10am and you are invited.
We hope that Friends who have been unable to join us in the past because of other Sunday commitments or because they live remotely might be able to join us in silent waiting worship and contemplation. As we are all making our generous and loving commitments to the community around us by staying home, doing our part to stop the virus, we also need times to be together. Our gatherings have to be virtual ones for now. Please join us every Sunday morning before 10am here: Nelson Friends Zoom link
Quakers in Nelson decided last March after the Mosque murders in Christchurch that we wished to support Nelson's Muslim community is some practical way. Earlier this year the opportunity arose thanks to Wendy Claire and the Richmond Aquatic Centre to sponsor women-only swim sessions. These are very much valued by Muslim women and also by non-Muslim women who enjoy being free of male gaze, being able to swim in their shorts, baggy t-shirts or burkinis.
The first swim was held on February 15th. Women not only enjoyed being able to splash about without feeling judged for their size or shape or swimming prowess but also valued the opportunity for Muslim and non-Muslim women to meet in a very informal way and get to know one another. There were female lifeguards and swim coaches to help those wanting to learn to swim or to try aqua-aerobics.
The next session is on Saturday 14th March between 2pm - 4pm. It is open to all women and girls over the age of 12. The cost is only $2 per person. To learn more phone 027 390 6923 or email email@example.com.
Values-based children's meetings, one for children up to 7 years and one for children 8 - 12 are being offered monthly to whanau and tamariki in the community. They will focus on Peace, Equality, Simplicity, Integrity and Sustainability. Quakers in Nelson have enjoyed quarterly parents/grandparents and children's meetings for the past 2 years but at the request of our families we are stepping up to provide 10 monthly Sunday meetings for children and monthly home-based meetings for their parents. Currently those parents meetings are based in Wakefield and Redwoods Valley, but we are ready to provide Richmond or Nelson parents meetings if the opportunity arises. There is no cost though koha is welcome. If you would like to know more contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org nz.
Simple Gifts is a compilation of 50 short reflections on the many joys of Jan's quiet life - the beauty of the environment, the pleasure of walking and swimming, her family and friends - and on some underlying values and concerns. Several have been printed as One Quaker's View on this website. Jan is a retired clinical psychologist and her empathy and therapeutic skill shine through many of the stories. Other stories are contemplative and reflect Jan's longstanding practice of listening worship at Quaker Meetings. A humanist, Jan draws on many sources of inspiration, including the Buddha, Quaker thinkers, and the Bible. They all reflect her meditations on the daily events of life, fishing, running, or talking to strangers.
Not quite enough for a weekly meditation this wee book will reward re-reading. It is available for purchase from Jan for $20. You can contact her through email@example.com
a moving performance by Te Oro Haa
Parihaka Day on November 5th has been marked in Nelson for the past decade thanks to the consistent commitment of the Parihaka Network Whakatu. This year's events organised by the Network - performances of the Parihaka Play on November 2nd, the Dawn Blessing on November 5th and a following breakfast at the Quaker Meeting House, were crowned by the deeply moving performance of a very personal account of her whanau connections to Parihaka and the events of 1881, and the significance of reconciliation, by Donna McLeod and Te Oro Haa at Old St Johns. The performance was a combination of spoken word, song and traditional Maori musical instruments.
This year Parihaka Day was preceded a week earlier by the passage of the Reconciliation Bill at its third reading. This legislation records the history of the military invasion and non-violent resistance of the people of Parihaka on November 5th 1881 and the subsequent violations and destruction of the village. It records the Legacy Statement of Parihaka and the Principles by which Parihaka aim to live, especially its commitment to peace and non-violence . It includes the Apology given by the Crown to the people of Parihaka past and present.
Perhaps of this act of remembrance and contrition is contributing to a growing interest and understanding of the significance of Parihaka. The decision for NZ history to be taught in all schools and the call for recognition of the truth of the Land Wars is another sign of greater readiness to acknowledge the failure of the government of the day to recognise or respect the right of iwi to self-determination and partnership that had been promised almost 4 decades earlier in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Quakers support the work of the Parihaka Network, and we are gladdened by the increasing interest in the story and lessons of Parihaka Day this year. We will continue to promote the Parihaka values of peace, non-violence, autonomy, sanctuary, equality and respect, innovation and hard work, self-sufficiency, resilience, unity and hope which are so in accord with our own Testimonies.
Quaker Meeting House 30 Nile St. Nelson
The aim of interfaith dialogue and activities is to promote good relations, understanding and respect among the followers of different faiths and to cultivate tolerance, compassion, unity, and peace in our community, our nation, and our world.
Below is the programme for 2019:
- Sun 13th. Bahai Faith Queens Gardens Hardy St entrance 4pm
- Mon 14th. to be advised
- Tues 15th. Nelson Islamic Centre 226 Trafalgar St 7pm bring a plate (sweet)
- Wed 16th Quaker Meeting House, 30 Nile Street, Nelson 7pm
- Thurs 17th Chandrakirti Meditation Centre, Sunrise Valley 5.30pm bring a plate (vegetarian)
Fri 18th Oct: Methodist Church, 94 Neale Avenue, Stoke 5:30pm
- Sat 19th Nelson Cathedral Anglican and Maori Mission 2.00pm-3.30pm bring a plate
- Sun 20th Joint Gathering All Faiths Broadgreen Gardens Nayland Rd 3 pm bring a plate. If Wet Latter Day Saints Church Nayland Rd.
Tens of thousands of students took part in strikes in March and May, and organisers are hoping the next action on September 27 will be even bigger. The strike will mark the end of a global week of climate-focused events and challenges running from September 20. Students want adults to show their support by walking out of work to join them.
School Strike 4 Climate NZ are holding this third strike to demand our Government and elected members take urgent and meaningful action for the climate and our collective future. New Zealand students will be uniting with students from across the world once again but this time, in a general strike with the general population. This general strike is on Friday, 27th September.
“We will not back down: we will continue to make our voices heard until all of our demands are met. Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action that safeguards our futures on this planet. Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth for current and future generations. This is our home".
To recognise the significant threat climate change poses to all our futures, livelihoods and very existence School Strike 4 Climate NZ are calling on all New Zealanders to join in and stand in solidarity on 27th September for urgent action on the climate crisis. Student strikers are encouraging their parents and grandparents along to the strike and the general population are invited to get involved. Learn more at http://www.schoolstrike4climatenz.com/
You can add your name to a petition in support of these courageous students striking for climate action: People Power for Our Planet. Celebrate young people using the power of the collective to help ensure we have a healthy planet. Add your name to those who stand alongside students striking for climate action. Sign here: http://www.together.org.nz/people-power-planet?recruiter_id=45489
2 years ago Quakers in Nelson embarked on the creation of three embroidery panels depicting the history of Quakers in Nelson, starting with their origins in the north of England in 1652. The first panel shows 2 founding Quakers Margaret Fell and George Fox in two separate roundels. Now completed, it is on display in the Meeting House. The photo above shows just one part of the completed panel. In the top roundel Swarthmore Hall, home to Judge Fell and Margaret Fell in the Yorkshire Dales, is depicted. Margaret Fell was convinced of George Fox's message that all can have a direct relationship with God without need for a priest or pastor - a radical proposition for the time. She made her home available for the first Quakers as a retreat where they could recover from their missions throughout the United Kingdom, and recuperate from periods of imprisonment and persecution. Quakers suffered because of their perceived threat to the established Church and State. Swarthmore Hall is still a retreat centre for Quakers. The 1660 petition of Quakers to King Charles II expressing the Quaker commitment to peace is also shown.
The second roundel shows George Fox's vision for the Society of Friends, and Pendle Hill where he preached to thousands. The Society was formed from those gatherings of seekers.There is reference to the importance of women's preaching, the rejection of outward sacrements such as baptism; and the persecutions that followed.
Almost everyone in the Meeting has contributed to the panel, either by doing research, creating the cartoon, or stitching the embroidery. The second panel showing the arrival in Nelson of the first Quakers and their engagement with local iwi is being embroidered now. It has been carefully researched and designed to truthfully reflect the history. 2 Quaker surveyors were caught up and one killed in the Wairau affray. The third panel dealing with Quaker contributions to peace is still in early stages of design.
Quakers Aotearoa have established a Climate Emergency Correspondent to represent Friends at ecumenical and other climate networks. At our annual national meeting Quakers resolved to address Government with our concerns at the impact of military activity on the climate.
Experts suggest that militarism is possibly the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. One examination of the issues available online states: “Regardless of whether it is during war or peacetime, the world’s armed forces consume enormous amounts of fossil fuels, produce immense quantities of toxic waste and have exceedingly high demands for all kinds of resources to support their infrastructures, all along being exempted from environmental restrictions and emission measurements.
According to the treadmill of destruction theory, war is waged nowadays mainly for securing natural resources which are themselves being massively consumed in the process, thereby establishing a self-perpetuating cycle of destruction. Moreover, military spending diverts massive funding from climate mitigation and adaption initiatives".
“A possible solution for this situation is proposed in the shape of a civil society approach, taking full advantage of the power of nonviolence, bottom-up strategy and the tools of the arts, humour and creativity".
University of Luxembourg European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation, Academic Year 2014/2015, The Impacts of Militarism on Climate Change: A sorely neglected relationship. The effects on Human Rights and how a Civil Society Approach can bring about System Change. Author: Mag. Florian Polsterer.
Join the International Day of Action against Puma this Saturday 15th June 2019
Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which, as documented by Human Rights Watch, includes football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Israeli settlements are illegal land grabs that form an integral part of Israel’s occupation infrastructure pushing indigenous Palestinian families off their land, robbing Palestinians of natural resources, and denying Palestinians their right of movement.
All Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law.
More than 200 Palestinian teams have called on Puma to end its support for Israel’s military occupation by terminating its sponsorship deal with the IFA. While Puma did reply to the Palestinian teams, it failed even remotely to address the issues raised.
This Saturday, on the 15th June, Quakers in Nelson will be joining Palestinian supporters in 20 countries across the world in the #BoycottPuma day of action. Organised in Nelson by Te Tau Ihu Palestine Solidarity, supporters will be gathering outside the Rebel Sports store in Nelson at 11am. Join us there.
Rallies are taking place internationally outside Puma stores, offices, and stores which stock Puma. .
poster for London demonstration May 11 2019
The demonstration organised by Te Tau Ihu Palestine Solidarity is on May 11th, gathering at 1903 Square, Trafalgar Street, Nelson at 11.am. More details are on the Events page of this website.
Its purpose is to draw attention to the Great March of Return in Gaza Palestine, at the Gaza-Israeli boundary. Originally planned as a six-week campaign, protests have continued weekly since then.
The protests are to demand that Palestinian refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to the land they were displaced from, in what is now the State of Israel. They are also protesting the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The results for Palestinians have been deadly.
On 8 March this year a United Nations independent commission of inquiry released a report on the demonstrations, stating that they have grounds to believe Israel committed international war crimes against demonstrators during “large-scale civilian protests”. Here are some of the most important points from the report:
- The commission found that of 189 demonstrators killed between 30 March and 31 December 2018, 183 were killed with live ammunition, including 35 children, 3 health workers and 2 members of the Press. Only 29 of those killed were members of Palestinian armed groups.
- Only 4 Israeli snipers were lightly injured, none were killed by demonstrators.
- 23,313 Palestinian demonstrators were injured during the 2018 demonstrations, 6106 with live ammunition.
- On the killing of child demonstrators, the commission found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot them intentionally, knowing that they were children”.
- The commission found that both male and female protestors were shot in the groin. The female victims told the commission they are now “unlikely to be able to have children”.
The often-repeated Israeli claims of the protests being inspired and organized by “Hamas terrorists”, were also addressed in the report. It stated that the demonstrations were inspired by the internet posts of 34-year-old Palestinian poet and journalist, Ahmed Abu Artema, with the demonstrations being organized by “A higher national committee and 12 subcommittees.” The report went on to say, that “while the members of the committee held diverse political views, they stated that their unifying element was the principle that the march was to be “fully peaceful from beginning to end and demonstrators would be unarmed”. The commission also noted that Israel refused to assist with the UN investigation and did not “cooperate or provide information.”
Some examples of the deaths and injuries:
- Injury of 17 Mohammed Ajouri (17 years old). “Israeli forces shot Mohammad, a student-athlete, in the back of his right leg as he gave onions to demonstrators to relieve tear-gas symptoms, approximately 300 m from the fence. His leg had to be amputated.”
- The murder of Abdel Fatah Nabi (18 years old). “Israeli forces killed Abed, from Beit Lahia, when they shot him in the back of the head as he ran, carrying a tyre, away from and about 400 m from the separation fence.”
- The murder of Bader Sabagh (19 years old). “Bader, from Jabaliya, was killed by Israeli forces when they shot him in the head as he stood smoking a cigarette 300 m from the separation fence.”
- Injury of Alaa Dali (21 years old). “Alaa, a member of the Palestinian cycling team, was shot by Israeli forces in the leg as he stood holding his bicycle, wearing his cycling kit, watching the demonstrations, approximately 300 m from the separation fence. His right leg had to be amputated, ending his cycling career.”
- The murder of Yasser Abu Naja (11 years old) “On 29 June, Israeli forces killed Yasser from Khan Younis with a shot to the head as he was hiding with two friends behind a bin, approximately 200 m from the separation fence. The children had been chanting national slogans at Israeli forces.”
- The murder of Razan Al-Najar (20 years old) “On 1 June, an Israeli sniper bullet hit Razan, of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and who at the time was wearing a white paramedic vest and standing with other volunteer paramedics approximately 110 m from the separation fence, in the chest at the Khuzaa site, east of Khan Younis. She died in hospital.”
- The murder of Yasser Murtaja (30 years old) “On 6 April, Yasser, a journalist from Gaza City, was shot in the lower abdomen by Israeli forces at the Khan Younis site while he was filming the demonstrations for a documentary. He was wearing a blue helmet and a dark blue bulletproof vest clearly marked “Press”. He died the following day.”
On the 16 March 2019, the day following the massacre of Muslims at prayer in Christchurch, the head of the NZ Quaker community wrote on our behalf to the Federation of Islamic Associations:
Dear Dr Farouk
I write on behalf of Quakers in Aotearoa New Zealand to express our heartfelt sympathy to all members of the Islamic faith at this time of tragic death and injury inflicted on worshippers in the two mosques in Christchurch.
Violence in all its forms is abhorrent to us and we are dismayed that such a level of violence has been perpetrated on Muslim members of our community. We treasure the many faiths that make up the mosaic of our community and when people of one faith suffer, we all suffer. We stand in solidarity with you in denouncing such acts of violence and commit to doing all we can to foster compassion, kindness and peace.
Our prayerful thoughts of support and friendship are with you at this very difficult time.
Yours in Peace and Friendship
Yearly Meeting Clerk
Click on the links below to read older news items:
Cherishing children & families