It was wonderful to see a big turnout this year with people from all walks of life and of course, from all around the world. The event was started with a welcoming waiata (song) and beautiful speeches by several of the guests to commemorate the day, usually celebrated on December the 18th.
There was some reflection on the year gone past which might have been challenging for some but the overall message was one of moving forward together in peace. After all, we live in a multicultural community. Once the formalities were concluded, the food was blessed by a traditional karakia (prayer).
I was pleased to get a few moments with some of those present, and asked Glen Bennett, Labour MP elect for New Plymouth what his vision was for migrants in our community. Glen who comes from Wellington but resides in New Plymouth could easily relate to New Plymouth as a multicultural city but added that we are so lucky to have so much space so there is always room for more people from other cultures. “The more the merrier,” he acknowledged. It was good to see our overall positive attitude towards, and acceptance of one another. Neil Holdom, New Plymouth mayor stated in his speech that he would love to see more flags added to the council’s collection, increasing our multi-nationality within the community. We have so much to offer.
Lance Mepham from Migrant Connections Taranaki said Migrant Connections Taranaki are alway looking to expand their services to the community. They are already assisting the migrant community in so many ways but they are working hard to achieve even more. 2020 has almost been and gone but 2021 is set to give us some great opportunities. Let’s make those wishes come true.