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 Maori 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
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