Each year 21 March is observed around the globe as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Wellington City Libraries is a proud participant of the Diversity in Action Programme and have run events around making clay Earth People every year since 2005.
To celebrate Race Relations Week 2010, Wellington City Libraries are running several free cultural awareness events including Earth People and Festival of Cultures from 15 - 20 March (check out our Event Calendar for details). Come and visit us at Newtown, Johnsonville, Tawa, Kilbirnie and Miramar libraries and celebrate these events with your community!
This year we are very excited that Waitakere, Hastings, Upper Hutt, Kapiti and Porirua libraries have joined us in making Earth People. Come back often to see photos and comments on this page from these events as we celebrate our communities together!
Race Relations Week was celebrated at Johnsonville Library through a Festival of Cultures attended by more than 60 people on Friday 19th March.
All the librarians and most of the guests and children from a local kindergarten were dressed in their national costume.
A showcase of rich cultural performances from the different members of the community highlighted the event – a traditional Chinese Guzheng instrument, originally shipped from China, played beautiful music pieces performed by Cris and an Ethiopian Traditional Coffee Ceremony was described and interpreted by Taitu, one of the librarians.
The children loved the story telling by Veronica and the amazing paper cutting crafts by Yu. The event was also attended by Johnsonville Community Centre ESOL class & the Chinese Senior Community.
As part of Race Relations Week, Miramar and Kilbirnie libraries played host to the famous Italian puppet, Pulcinella, cousin to the English Punch. His friends, Teresina, La Morte (Death), Fred and the Black Sheep came along too.
Anna Bailey, our puppeteering librarian, gave the traditional tale a NZ twist, when Pulcinella left his darling Teresina and her delicious pizza for an ill fated trip to NZ. What with a cannibal sheep and a visit by Death it wasn’t a story for the faint hearted.
The brave students from St Pats, Holy Cross and Miramar Central and a few fearless preschoolers were a wonderful audience. They played there role to the max, yelling encouragement to Pulcinella, booing the Black Sheep and La Morte and laughing at all the silly goings on.
All in all it was a very raucous but enjoyable morning in both libraries.
On Wednesday afternoon at Miramar library and on Thursday at Kilbirnie, people celebrated Race Relations Week by making clay people.
We started each of our clay people making sessions with a retelling of the story of how clay was brought to the Pueblo Indians by a clay woman and a clay man.
Our artists ranged from preschoolers, school children, teenagesrs and mums. Everyone seemed to enjoy getting their hands dirty. Productivity was high as weird and wonderful characters, relatives, friends and even an elephant and a volcano emerged from the clay.
Miep Gies, who helped Anne Frank hide, died January 11 at the age of 100. She was the last survivor of a small group of people who helped the Jewish family hide from the Nazis during World War II. It was Miep who found Anne’s diary after the family’s hiding place was discovered and they were deported to concentration camps. She never read the diary and kept it for safe keeping and handed it to Anne’s father Otto after the war.
Ada Nally, WCL’s Multicultural Customer Specialist said on hearing of Gies’ death
I will never forget my school trip as a ten year old to the secret annex. Anne’s description of her hiding place came alive as we passed the bookcase which hid the staircase leading to Anne’s living areas. The pictures of famous Hollywood movie stars at that time are still on her bedroom wall. I have read Anne’s diary several times and still prefer to read it in Dutch.
Did you know that the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam is not the museum, the canals or dare I say the red light district? It is the Anne Frank museum.
Anne Frank’s story to the world is a warning of the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination, and is an assertion of the values of freedom, equal rights and democracy. Wellington City Libraries holds several copies of the diary and other books about Anne Frank, including Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies – click on the links to the left for details.
March 21 is Race Relations Day and Wellington City Libraries will host a festival of cultures at Johnsonville library, book displays and continue with Earth People at several libraries. For more information visit our Earth people blog in February and March. The theme this year is: “It’s About Us: Whanau”.
WCL has over 600,000 books, 450,000 magazines, and 85,000 CDs, DVDs, videos and other items at our central library and 11 branches. We are located in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Looking for your local branch? Have a look at our Library Locations page.