News Release

Faith Representatives Support Efforts to Strengthen New Zealand Communities

Latter-day Saints participate in religious human rights and emergency management discussions

Religious human rights expert, Professor Paul Morris, recently brought more than 20 faith leaders and religious representatives to the table with Meng Foon, New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner, and Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner.

The aim was to listen to faith and religious leaders share about their experiences of their communities’ engagement with government agencies and how these could be improved. 

Foon quoted the Māori proverb: "He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.” He encouraged participants to remember that what we have in common is that we are human, with the power to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Tania Torea, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Communication Director from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared with the group principles of hope, peace and love as taught by Jesus Christ. "If we are teaching and applying these principles in our churches, we are contributing to a hope-filled and peaceful nation in which people care for each other. I think that's an important conversation to have with government," she said.

At another event, Latter-day Saint communication directors, Muriel and Tagaloa Samuela, helped host members from Auckland’s religious communities to focus on disaster and emergency preparedness in their places of worship.

The Church partnered with Professor Paul Morris, Religious Diversity Centre (RDC), and Rohan Jaduram, Auckland Emergency Management (Auckland Council), in organising the event.

Professor Morris presented on utilising existing networks that are inclusive and accessible and identifying community values, needs and strengths. He said, "These workshops are important to understanding what resources and support are available within our religious community to respond to an emergency."

The RDC is a national centre of educational research of excellence which aims to provide a deep appreciation and understanding of religious communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has representatives in the RDC.

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