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Cherishing children & families
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
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
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.
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 here.
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 the petition here:
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 two 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. Two 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.
Download the pdf here.
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 protesters 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 organised 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 organised 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 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
Concert goers in Nelson this week came face to face with the call for a cultural boycott of Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against apartheid in Israel and illegally occupied Palestinian territory. The Jerusalem Quartet played in the Adams Music Festival. At least one person chose not to use his ticket, and another left when the Quartet began to play. More then 200 leaflets were handed to those heading into the concert by a group of protesters organised by Te Tau Ihu Palestine Solidarity Group. Other concert goers expressed their support for Palestine but opposition to a cultural boycott.
The cry 'keep culture out of politics' has resonance for those who had been involved in the opposition to the visit of the Springbok Rugby Team in 1981. The cry then was to keep sport out of politics. Those who felt strongly about South Africa's apartheid laws used boycott as a tactic to isolate that country and prevent it from 'passing' as a normal society.
This is not the first cultural boycott called for in New Zealand. Last year the singer song-writer Lorde controversially cancelled a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, in support of BDS. Other artists around the world have also cancelled performances. The BDS movement covers not only cultural contact but also academic cooperation, military cooperation, and commercial activities. Quakers in Nelson have resolved to boycott any Israeli goods on sale in our supermarkets.
Cherishing children & families
Friends living in Motueka will begin meeting monthly from January 2019. There have been meetings previously - Motueka folk may remember Bruce and the late Vera Dickinson who used to host gatherings in their home before moving to live closer to family in Nelson. More recently other families also moved away and occasionally remaining Friends would make the journey to Nelson. We are excited to see the Motueka Meeting gathered again. It is intended that the monthly meeting will combine silent listening with discussion of Quakerism and living the Quaker Way, as well as other topics of interest to those gathered. All newcomers are welcome to visit. To find out about times, dates and venues contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cherish the children and young people who associate with our Meetings. In December we held a social afternoon for children and families where the children made truffles for students attending the Young Parents School at Auckland Point and colourful cards to accompany them. Quakers view children as spiritual equals to adults and respect their insights and experience. Children participate in silent worship for short periods and their ministry is valued. We welcome families, young people and children to our Meetings. We have care available for children in a play space every Sunday. We also intend to hold more social occasions for children and families in 2019 - if you would like to attend to get a flavour of Quaker community you are welcome. Contact us on email@example.com.
Photo: 'Major General Bryce', 'Tohu', 'children' and 'Te Whiti' getting ready to perform a play about Parihaka at the Peace Picnic, Nov 4th, Anzac Park , Nelson
We celebrated peace and commemorated Parihaka Day in Anzac Park, Nelson last Sunday afternoon, on a blustery spring day. We had a mountain of shared food and watched a play on the events of November 5th 1881, heard the Apology from the Crown to the people of Parihaka past and present, the Principles of Parihaka, and the Legacy for the Future. We sang peace songs in Te Reo and English, and painted peace stones (pohatu). Our picnic started with a karakia by Archdeacon Harvey Ruru followed by waiata. Harvey also led us through a Dawn Blessing at 5.30am next morning, Parihaka Day, on a beautifully clear and still morning which was followed by breakfast at the Quaker Meeting House.
Our challenge now is to extend our reach to more and more New Zealanders who do not yet know of the tyranny, divisiveness and oppression inflicted by the Crown on Parihaka's children, women and men, who responded with dignity, discipline and immense courage. We celebrate the commitment to peace and non-violence of Tohu and Te Whiti and Parihaka.
The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict," according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee announcement on 5 October 2018 in Oslo, Norway. “Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes," according to the award citation. After reading the citation, Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen told reporters that the impact of this year's award is to highlight sexual abuse with the goal that every level of governance take responsibility to end such crimes and impunities. The citation also highlighted the historic context of the 2018 award: “This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. This is also set out in the Rome Statute of 1998, which governs the work of the International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes that sexual violence in war and armed conflict is a grave violation of international law. A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war." Mukwege is the first Congolese and Murad the seventeenth woman and first Iraqi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Denis Mukwege is a gynaecologist specialising in the treatment of women victimised by sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nadia Murad is a Yazidi human rights advocate who survived sexual slavery by the Islamic State in Iraq and published a memoir of the ordeal. “Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions," reads the award citation. Norwegian Nobel Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen commented on whether the Me Too movement inspired the Committee's award decision: “#Metoo and war crimes are not quite the same. But they have in common that they see the suffering of women, the abuse of women and that it is important that women leave the concept of shame behind and speak up."
At the time of the announcement in Oslo, neither awardee could be reached and informed of winning the prize. “I was in the operating room so when they started to make noise around (it) I wasn't really thinking about what was going on and suddenly some people came in and told me the news," Mukwege told Norwegian daily VG after completing his second surgery of the day, “It was so touching when I was operating and I heard people start to cry and it was so, so, so touching." “I can see in the faces of many women how they are happy to be recognised, and this is really so touching," he said when informed by phone of the news. Later addressing colleagues and supporters at the hospital, he said: “dear survivors around the world, I want to tell you that through this prize the world is listening to you and refuses indifference ... We hope that the world will no longer delay taking action in your favour, with force and determination, because the survival of humanity depends on you. It's you women who carry humanity."
“I hope that it will help bring justice for those women who suffered from sexual violence," said Murad, learning of the award while in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She said she will share her award “with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world" and will be thinking of her mother, who was slain by IS militants. Middlebury College President Laurie L. Patton wrote in an email, “This is by far the best cancellation notice I have ever had to write," when Murad had to cancel as guest speaker delivering the night of the award announcement a presentation entitled “Hope Has an Expiration Date: Exploring the Plight of Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East." (This news is reprinted from Wikipedia.)
The Quaker Lecture is delivered each year by a Quaker or non-Quaker on a topic which aligns to Quaker values. Previous speakers include Bryan Bruce, Jane Kelsey, Marion Hobbs, Elizabeth Duke, Tony Taylor and others. The Lecture is normally given at the annual meeting of the Society of Friends in May, but next year will be given in Whanganui in February, coinciding with the annual seminar on Prison Reform at the Whanganui Quaker Settlement, to fit in with Terry's programme.
Terry calls himself a "Quanglican" - he was the Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the 1980s. As an envoy for the Church of England, he travelled to Lebanon to try to secure the release of four hostages, including the journalist John McCarthy. He was himself kidnapped and held captive from 1987 to 1991. Waite remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in solitary confinement. He was finally released on 18 November 1991. In 2008, he joined the Religious Society of Friends.
Terry wanted to ensure that his suffering would not be “totally negative”. His compelling memoir, Taken on Trust, became a bestseller. In recent years, he’s spent considerable time in Hawke’s Bay, where he wrote his latest book Out of the Silence: Memories, Poems, Reflections.
The annual Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) held in Dunedin in May affirmed in a letter to the Minister of Climate Change appreciation for the Government’s recent initiatives in climate change. The letter particularly affirmed statements made about the importance of climate change, limiting of oil and gas exploration, the announcement of the membership of the Interim Climate Change Committee, welcoming of the Productivity Commission draft Report, and the moves being taken towards the Climate Change Commission and the Carbon Zero Act.
The Meeting recorded its acknowledgement of these positive developments. A copy of the letter was sent to all Members of Parliament.
Recently, Quaker activity on sustainability has focused on responding to the tremendous threat to life on the Planet posed by climate change . Quakers in Nelson and nationally have divested from funds invested in the fossil fuel industries, and Friends have joined demonstrations to call for climate justice. Individual Friends throughout New Zealand are active in campaigning organisations Greenpeace, 350.org and Generation Zero because of their concern about global climate change. Nelson Meeting made a submission to Nelson City Council to urge them to consider sea level rise, fossil fuel investment, and measures to mitigate climate change in their long-term Plan.
The national Quaker Futures Committee supports Meetings and individual Friends to engage with the challenges presented by threats to the future, especially climate change. They have made submissions to Government and commented on Government policy. You can read about the work of the Quaker Futures Committee at quaker.org.nz.
Quakers in Nelson support call for boycott of Israeli products
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has voted to establish an independent international inquiry into the recent events in Gaza, in which over 1,000 unarmed people were shot. Twenty-nine countries voted in support of the investigation, two voted against, and 14 abstained. The United States and Australia opposed the establishment of the investigation. Three EU states voted in support of the investigation, including Spain, Belgium, and Slovenia.
Adalah Legal Researcher Soheir Assad, who presented to the Council in Geneva prior to the vote, said in response: “This decision by the UN Human Rights Council is an important step to uncover what has happened since the start of the protest marches in Gaza on 30 March and an important step towards achieving justice for the victims and to hold the perpetrators accountable. We presented to the Council data documenting the Israeli human rights violations against protesters in the Gaza Strip, which emphasises the need to establish an independent international commission of inquiry. These findings show that the killings and woundings of Palestinians carried out by Israeli soldiers are the result of a systematic policy and clear orders by the Israeli military leadership."
from Adalah, The legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, website here.
Quakers in Nelson have resolved to support BDS: “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law. BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. Boycott involves withdrawing support for Israel and Israeli and international companies that are involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as well as complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions." from bdsmovement.net
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls for a boycott of all Israeli products, including Hewlett Packard and Soda Stream. Quakers in Nelson ask you to join us in leaving Israeli-made products on the shop shelves.
To learn more, read about BDS here.
photo from Amnesty Intl
Quakers in Nelson share the views expressed by Quakers in Britain. This article is reproduced from their website.
“Once more, Quakers in Britain are watching with horror the ongoing killings in Gaza. The killing of Palestinian protesters, with hundreds injured, by the Israeli military comes as Palestinians in Gaza embark on six weeks of nonviolent protest known as the ‘Great
March of Return'. The march aims to draw attention to the forced expulsion and fleeing of Palestinians from their land when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
“We write remembering the millions of Palestinian and Israeli lives lost and damaged during a conflict, which, this May, will enter its 70th year.
“We wish to stand with all nonviolent protesters seeking a peaceful and just end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As we are not able to be with them there, our presence has to be one of speaking out here.
“As Quakers, we support and celebrate the use of nonviolent direct action in struggles for freedom, equality and justice around the world. The peaceful, civil society-led ‘Great March of Return' follows a long and proud tradition of nonviolent resistance including Mahatma Gandhi's Salt March in 1930 and Martin Luther King Jr's 1963 March on Washington. We have recently marked 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and are reminded of his words:
‘We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to surface the hidden tension that is already alive.'
“We call on the Israeli military to end their violent use of live gunfire on unarmed protesters, in clear violation of international law. We mourn the ongoing 50-year military occupation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government that has led to such despair and tension. We consider that the Israeli government can engage constructively with the issues that have led to this civil disobedience: the blockade of Gaza and the military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We call on them to do so immediately.
“We find hope in the perseverance of Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activists. We are moved by the ‘Sorry Commander, I cannot shoot' campaign by B'Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights organisation. This campaign emphasises that if soldiers receive orders to shoot live gunfire into crowds of unarmed civilians, they are duty-bound under international law to refuse. The resolve of B'Tselem to speak out and advocate for international law is both brave and inspirational.
“In contrast, we are astounded by our own government's failure to condemn the killings, or to uphold nonviolent efforts and systems of accountability within international law to end the conflict. We urge the British government to support the UN Secretary-General's call for an independent investigation into the killings. All governments are capable of leadership that is both moral and pragmatic. Let ours not be the ‘appalling silence of good people' so warned against by Martin Luther King Jr."
Read B'tselem report, Sorry Commander: I cannot shoot
Sally Burton’s exhibition entitled Pale History portrays the fatal confrontation in the Wairau on 17 June 1843 between Ngati Toa and the settlers of Whakatu/Nelson. 26 people were killed, including John Cotterell, a 23 year old surveyor with the New Zealand Company and a Quaker pacifist. Cotterell’s raupo hut was burnt down by Te Rauparaha who three times tried to evict the surveyors, and it was Cotterell’s report of those events which triggered the confrontation.
The history of the Wairau Incident is told in figures formed from driftwood from the Waimea River and Tasman Bay coastline, clothed in tapa cloth. In her introduction to the exhibition Sally Burton writes: “Pale History provides people with an opportunity to reflect on the facts, question who they are and where they belong. Just as the old people saw the phantom waka Te Awatea out in Tasman Bay as the symbol of the passing of the old ways, the survey chain and survey peg star-mirrors represent Matariki and the start of a new era and new beginnings.”
The confrontation between colonists from Whakatu/Nelson and Ngati Toa in the Wairau Valley was the first clash over land rights since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. The New Zealand Company, formed in 1838 by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and represented in Nelson by his brother Arthur, required 221,100 acres of fertile land, which could not be provided in Whakatu, Motueka or Mohua/Golden Bay. They looked to the Wairau, made questionable purchases without skilled interpreters, and claimed ownership of land there. John Cotterell was dispatched to survey it.
Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha possessed these lands and denied that they had been purchased. He and other chiefs used the legal means available at the time to have the surveyors removed. When those efforts were ignored Ngati Toa carefully removed the surveyors and their equipment, returned them to their ship in Cloudy Bay and burnt the shelters and survey pegs. The terrible consequences of this non-violent resistance to a land grab, later deemed to be without legal basis by the British Government’s agent, are explained in a detailed account by Hilary and John Mitchell in the exhibition brochure.
The impactful installation and its accompanying brochure provide a powerful evocation of shameful colonialism: “greed for land, callous overriding of Maori rights…, and a refusal to negotiate”. It opened on November 5th 2017 and continues until Sunday, March 11, 2018, and has received very positive reviews.
There is a fine tradition of using tapestry to portray significant Quaker stories, including one created in New Zealand in 1985 and gifted to the Quaker tapestry collection in Britain. There is even an official Quaker stitch. Quakers in Nelson have embarked on a journey to depict their history in embroidery.
The first step is to gather the stories of the first settlers from England who arrived in Nelson, who were surveyors and educators. The first Quaker Meetings in New Zealand were in Nelson from 1842. Though they strove to have respectful relationships with manawhenua, the surveyors were colonists engaged in a colonial project to acquire land. One, Sylvanus Cotterell died in a conflict with iwi over the survey of land which had not been sold to the NZ company in Wairau, in 1843. Tracing Quaker history from the 19th century through to today will provide the 'cartoons' from which the embroideries will be created.
We are not a group of accomplished needleworkers, but with the encouragement of one of us who is, the drawings of another, and the guidance of the Nelson Embroiderers Guild we aim to create a special record of Quaker presence in our region.
“It is a great honour to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This historic agreement, adopted on 7 July with the backing of 122 nations, offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organisations in one hundred countries. By harnessing the power of the people, we have worked to bring an end to the most destructive weapon ever created – the only weapon that poses an existential threat to all humanity.
This prize is a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face of our earth.
It is a tribute also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement. The treaty categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination. It is a response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community that any use of nuclear weapons would inflict catastrophic, widespread and long-lasting harm on people and our living planet.
We are proud to have played a major role its creation, including through advocacy and participation in diplomatic conferences, and we will work assiduously in coming years to ensure its full implementation. Any nation that seeks a more peaceful world, free from the nuclear menace, will sign and ratify this crucial accord without delay.
The belief of some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided, but also dangerous, for it incites proliferation and undermines disarmament. All nations should reject these weapons completely – before they are ever used again.
This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.
We applaud those nations that have already signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and we urge all others to follow their lead. It offers a pathway forward at a time of alarming crisis. Disarmament is not a pipe dream, but an urgent humanitarian necessity.
We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides towards a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path.
The 7th July marked an historic moment for the future of the world. The United Nations Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty was adopted by 2/3rds of the world. This treaty is the first legally binding statement on the illegality of nuclear weapons. It prohibits the 122 signatory countries to develop, test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, as well as to threaten to use them or to allow any nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory.
A strong team of New Zealanders played an integral role in the adoption of this Treaty, working at all levels of civil society. Grass roots peace movements, civil servants in government, academics and think tanks, have worked tirelessly to bring about this ban.
This treaty expands what New Zealand has been doing for 3 decades years — this year being the 30th anniversary of NZ’s Nuclear Free legislation. Now other countries around the world are adopting a similar position to what NZ has had in law since 1987.
The ban has been adopted by an overwhelming majority and now goes back to the respective governments to be signed and ratified. We are hoping that New Zealand is among the first to sign this treaty. The Treaty is open for signature on the 20h September. Once 50 countries have signed it will enter into force in international law.
Despite being the most indiscriminate and inhumane of all weapons, by some legal glitch, nuclear weapons have up until this time, still been legal. It puts nuclear weapons in the same legal category as other weapons that are indiscriminate and inhumane — land mines, chemical weapons, biological weapons and cluster munitions. All these weapons are now illegal and an international war crime is committed if used.
There is also much hope to be taken from the fact that there is a huge amount of support from the public, young and old, from countries around the world. These include Latin America, Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific.
Although it is difficult to perceive at times, there are two things that threaten the future of humanity — nuclear weapons and climate change. The biggest threat to humans, all living species and the environment, because of their catastrophic potential to wipe out entire populations, flora and fauna are nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the threat of nuclear weapons is at an all time high, not just from countries like North Korea and from malicious actors, but also from hacking, which happened recently in Iran with their nuclear facilities.
The fundamental premise of this Treaty is that it has challenged both legally and morally, the concept of nuclear deterrence and shown that the latter is fundamentally flawed.
The 122 signatory States are now telling the nuclear weapons states that it is not ok to have nuclear weapons, to use nuclear weapons or to threaten to use them; there being no legitimate reason to kill millions of innocent civilians.
This is a proud moment for Aotearoa New Zealand; not only can Kiwis play courageous first class rugby and sail by the seat of their pants, they can help pull off far-sighted international agreements that make the world a safer place in which to live.
On a cold winter Sunday we gathered on the Nelson Cathedral Steps to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, knowing we will be here again on Wednesday at 5.00pm to commemorate the horrific losses on Nagasaki Day. This year, for the first time since the first atomic bomb detonation in July 1945, there is hope at last that a nuclear weapons-free world is closer to being achieved because of the adoption of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the UN negotiating conference last month in New York - information about the Treaty and New Zealand’s statements to the conference are available on the iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand web site at http://www.icanw.org.nz.
“Welfare not warfare” is a focus for peace groups for the New Zealand 2107 election. To quote from Aotearoa Friends’ Newsletter regarding New Zealand’s military spending, “In last year’s Budget, New Zealand’s military spending rose by NZ$580 million to a total of $3.69 billion. In addition to the annual military budget, in June 2016 a further $20 billion was allocated over the next 15 years for increased combat capability, new offensive weapons systems and warships, and to establish a new cyberwarfare capacity.
What a shocking waste of public money – especially at a time when there is an increasingly desperate need for increased social spending to house the homeless, and the number of children living in a family with an income below the poverty line continues to rise (in 2016, 28% of children were living in a family with an income below the poverty line, and 14% of children were living in conditions of material hardship).”
We encourage everyone with a concern for peace to quiz your local candidates about these realities.
Here is a selection of questions to ask your candidates:
• Successive governments have said that there is no direct military threat to this country. So why does NZ have armed forces, and what it your attitude regarding the use of military force?
• Currently NZ’s security lies in our independence and our contribution to good international relations, which is why we do not have enemies. It is our view that having armed forces and being involved in military and intelligence alliances diminishes rather than enhances our security. What do you think?
• The 2016 Defence White Paper stated that NZ Armed Forces will remain an expeditionary force. They are being re-armed with increased combat capability for that purpose, e.g. the purchase of 9,000 assault rifles at the cost of $59 million. Wouldn’t this money be better spent on housing and initiatives to reduce poverty?
• In the 2016 Budget, $3.69 billion was allocated to the armed forces. An additional $20 billion military expenditure over the next 15 years was announced shortly after that Budget. How can the government justify this level of annual military expenditure, let alone the additional $20 billion when we have such a critical need for increasing spending on health, housing, welfare and education?
• Would you support a peace tax such as legislation recently introduced to the British Parliament? A peace tax would allow New Zealanders to divert the proportion of their tax that is currently spent on the armed forces to a peaceful purpose.
• The Armed Services of New Zealand can be transformed into an unarmed force equipped for civil defence, coastal duties, environmental projects and rescue operations. Expensive military equipment is not needed for this work. The money saved could be well used for housing, education and building our capacity as a peace nation. What in your view prevents this transformation happening?
• Can you assure us that if you are elected you will do your best to ensure that the government will divest from any company involved in the production of military weapons and weapons systems?
The artwork White Poppy Wreath has been chosen for inclusion in a 2018 calendar celebrating Quaker Peace-building, and art works by Quakers around the world. Comprised of knitted, crocheted and some fabric white poppies, White Poppy Wreath was conceived and created by Nelson Quaker Barbara Curtis, with the help of Nelson and Golden Bay Friends, in 2015. It commemorates the loss of the lives of non-combatants in WW1. White Poppy Wreath was part of a Peace Exhibition in Friends Meeting House on Anzac Day 2015, and was included in an exhibition in the Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson in May 2015. It is on display in the Meeting House.
The calendar is a joint project by Quaker Arts Network (UK) and Friends World Committee for Consultation. The selection of 12 main images feature a range of high quality artworks in different media reflecting different aspects of Quaker peace-building. The calendar and image for each month are accompanied by a short inspirational text. A brief commentary introduces the art and peace-building work. The text is printed in English, Spanish and French. It is to be launched at Quakers in Britain’s Yearly Gathering at the end of this month.
It will be for sale direct from the Friends World Office: further details at www.fwcc.world
Information about international sales and postage rates are available from Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, if you would like to purchase a copy of the calendar, contact us by sending an email. At 30cm x 30cm, the retail price is £10.00. All profits will support Quaker work around the world.
Quakers in Nelson joined others concerned by the potential attack on democracy and the right to protest that the NCC plans represent. Unions, lawyers, and activists spelled out the dangers of having to obtain a permit to protest. At present there are no restrictions, nor are there elsewhere in the country. In Wellington organisers of demonstrations, protests or rallies are only required to advise the Council of their intention to protest, so that their safety can be provided for. Speakers likened the proposed bylaw to Putin's Russia where permits are required and rarely allowed. The fine for holding an unpermitted demonstration would be up to $20,000 per person. Such a rule would give an official of the Council the right to refuse Nelsonians their freedom of expression.
Quakers hold peace vigils as part of our opposition to violence in all its forms, and we join demonstrations in support of social justice. Our practice is to obey the laws of the state, except when they conflict with our inner convictions. We work to amend laws we consider unjust. We have made a submission to the Council, which will be heard by them on June 21st, opposing this as an unjust and unsupportable intention.
Quakers in Nelson held a Peace Vigil on the Cathedral Steps on Anzac Day as part of nation-wide events to commemorate all the non-combatants and war resisters as well as the combatants who have lost their lives in war. Organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa in conjunction with Quakers, the vigil message was to Honour the war dead by ending war.
Those at the vigil carried posters and banners calling for an end to war as a response to conflict, and promoting peace.
The vigil came the day after figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed world military expenditure in 2016 at an estimated US$1,686 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent in real terms from 2015. Just twelve days of military expenditure would eradicate extreme poverty everywhere, and just five weeks of military expenditure would ensure that five of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals are met.
Read more about global military expenditure here.