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On International Women's Day, March 8, SGI-New Zealand Aotearoa (SGINZ) women participated in Wellington Women Walk for Peace (WWW4Peace), a peace walk through the city from Parliament to Civic Square and an evening Peace Celebration. The event emphasized the empowerment of women and expressed opposition to war and to violence against women and children. Along with WWW4Peace founders, SGINZ representatives were part of the event's organizing committee.
Prior to departure, the 150-strong group of women were addressed by Barbara Arnold, national president of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and Rosemary Barrington of the Sonja Davies Peace Award Trust. Ms. Arnold paid tribute to Kate Sheppard who spearheaded New Zealand's suffragette movement and Ms. Barrington spoke on the life of peace activist Sonja Davies (1923-2005). Deb Moran, director of policy at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, was also present. The walk was concluded with an address by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, followed by an interactive demonstration by the Women's Self-Defence Network.
The evening Peace Celebration was held in the Te Marae theater space at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The celebration, which was opened by British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell, included performances and a silent auction of photographs, paintings and books. Money raised at the auction was donated to the Wellington Women's Refuge, Shakti Community Council--an organization that supports migrant and refugee women in New Zealand--and the Daya Trust that supports education for girls living in poverty in India.
Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and current administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, and former UN under-secretary-general Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury sent messages marking the occasion.
[Adapted from a March 14, 2013, article on the SGI-New Zealand Aotearoa (SGINZ) website; photos courtesy of SGINZ] related article THS Photos Antinuclear exhibition: "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" Pictures of the exhibition in different countries Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
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