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November 2021

Ka nui te mihi kia koutou katoa - UNA NZ monthly newsletter
Dear Members and Supporters of the United Nations Association


Welcome to the November newsletter. 

November has been another exciting month for UNA NZ building on our work in October. 

We are pleased to announce in this newsletter the finalists and winner of our annual Speech Award which has been held each year since 1986.  This year the competition was held online considering the ongoing COVID19 pandemic situation.

The challenging topic was: The role of the United Nations (and its broader system, including for example, the WHO) in addressing global challenges such as COVID-19 reinforces the need for governments, NGOs, the private sector and people everywhere to support and develop the United Nations. What should this support and development look like?

This Speech Award offers a valuable opportunity to research the work of the United Nations, prepare and practice a speech and finally deliver that speech to an audience.  Public speaking is an important skill.  Secondary School Students from across NZ entered their speeches.  Many of our past finalists and winners have become household names.

We are also pleased to announce the details of our online event to mark Human Rights Day 2021 and a number of other exciting events. We hope you enjoy reading this update.


 UNA Speech award winners announced 


The United Nations Association of New Zealand has held the Secondary School Speech Award for over thirty years. Previous winners have included Dr Diva Dhaya, young New Zealander of the year, Paula Tesiora, now Commissioner for Disabilities and Chris Bishop MP, previous finalists include current Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern.

The topic for 2021 was: “The role of the United Nations (and its broader system, including for example, the WHO) in addressing global challenges such as COVID-19 reinforces the need for governments, NGOs, the private sector and people everywhere to support and develop the United Nations. What should this support and development look like?”


Usually, regional finals are held and regional winners are then brought to Wellington for a national competition where they also get to participate in UNA NZ’s national conference and receive a tour of parliament. This year due to COVID-19 the speech awards were held online. 


We were pleased by the number of entries received despite this and are inspired by the charisma, resilience and engagement of young people who continued to participate. They reflect a bright future for New Zealand and its engagement with multilateralism. The ideas shared by the students have provided us with fresh perspectives on the relevance of the United Nations and how it is viewed by young people today. 


With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that following the judging process a runner up and a winner of the United Nations Association of New Zealand Speech Award for 2021 have been selected.


The runner up for 2021 is Hunter Hayes from Westlake Boy’s High School, Auckland. His speech can be viewed here.


The winner for 2021 is Isabella Etherington from St Pauls Collegiate, Hamilton. Her speech can be viewed here.


The 2022 speech award details will be announced early in 2022 and will be posted on our website


Please send any questions to

 Human Rights Day 2021 Webinar: Can a gendered approach to human rights challenges boost sustainable development? 

Date and time

Thu 9th Dec 2021, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Event description

The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) will mark the 73rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 6th anniversary of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (the 17 SDGs) with a seminar entitled “SDG5: Can a gendered approach to human rights challenges boost sustainable development in general?”

This seminar will be an online event, held on Thursday, 9 December 2021, 5.30pm-7pm. We are delighted to announce the panel of excellent speakers who will be part of this celebration: Dr Karanina Sumeo, Human Rights Commissioner for Equal Employment Opportunities; Dr Gill Greer, former Chief Executive of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and co-writer of the Civil Society SDG People's Report 2019; Dr Mike Ross, lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, where he teaches courses on Māori language and customs, and Isabella van Hooff, Monitoring Agency Relationships Adviser at Department of Corrections National Office and intern of UNA NZ.

The President of the UNA NZ Gaya Paranisamy will chair and Special Officer for Human Rights Dulce Piacentini will moderate the seminar, which will address the following theme and topics: 

We know the Sustainable Development Goals are interrelated: when one improves, other SDGs will improve too as a consequence. With an SDG Alliance being formed in New Zealand with the participation of all different sectors of society – public, private, not-for-profit, academia, individuals and communities –, a critical debate on which SDGs may take a lead in boosting sustainable development turns out to be fundamental. 

With this in mind, and considering that women and girls are frequently the most affected population when it comes to human rights challenges, we ask: Is the SDG5 – Gender Equality a goal with the power of making several other SDGs improve to a greater extent? Having a gender perspective when formulating public policies to the numerous social challenges we currently face can improve sustainable development further? How can New Zealand benefit from adopting a gender approach on its public policies? 

Our Speakers will address the following topics:


  • The power of the interconnection between SDGs and what can be better in the definition of SDG5
  • How te ao Māori on the role of women can support sustainable development and gender equality in Aotearoa
  • How women migrant workers can boost sustainable development in both their original and host countries.

You can RSVP here.

The UN and Climate Negotiations: Implications for our planet and country


NZCGS 8th Annual Global Affairs Lecture with guest speaker Hon. James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change

The New Zealand Centre for Global Studies in collaboration with the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Auckland invite you to participate in the following co-hosted event on climate change.

Fresh from the UN’s COP26 in Glasgow, guest speaker Hon. James Shaw will speak to: ‘The UN and Climate Negotiations: Implications for our planet; implications for our country'.

Responses will be given by Catherine Leining (NZ Climate Commission, Wellington) and Alex Kazaglis (Vivid Economics, London).

Rod Oram will be the moderator and NZCEL’s Ass Prof Caroline Foster will chair the Q&A.

Date and Time

Mon, 6 December
6 pm - 7:30 pm


Online event

To register for this event, click here.

 Five years since signing the Paris Agreement: Reflections and mapping a path forward - webinar recording available

On October 28th, 2021, The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNANZ) - Wellington Branch hosted an online discussion forum on climate change and the Paris Agreement with some of New Zealand’s leading experts on the subject including:

· Dr. Kennedy Graham, who led the discussion:Dr. Graham has been a diplomat, university academic, UN official and Member of Parliament

· Stephen Walter: General Manager, Carbon Budgets, Markets and Adaptation, Climate Change Commission

· Dr. Charles Ehrhart: Director, Climate Change and Sustainability, KPMG New Zealand · Mark Baker-Jones: Director, Policy and Regulations, Te Whakahaere

· Craig Weise: CEO of New Zealand Green Investment Finance

You can watch the recording on youtube here.

Goal of the month - SDG 16

This months SDG editorial focuses on COP26

The webpage has a range of resources including: 

  • Secretary-General António Guterres opens World Leaders Summit
  • TED Countdown: Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
  • Key Online Resources
  • Daily COP26 Newsletter
  • COP26 Explainers

 Read more about SDG 13 and COP26 here.


 UN Women Film Fundraiser: Breaking Bread

Event description

UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand is once again activating its 16 Days of Activism campaign, “Orange NZ” to End Violence Against Women and Girls. This annual campaign runs from the 25th November to 10th December 2021. 

We invite you to join us for a fundraising movie night on Thursday 2 December 2021 from 5.30pm at Light House Cuba, Wellington to see Breaking Bread.  Doors open at 5.30pm with nibbles and drinks and a fundraising raffle preceding the screening at 6.30pm.

Breaking Bread is a ‘docufilm’ about an Arabic female chef using food to break down political and religious barriers between Israel and Palestine. ​​Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel - the first Muslim Arab to win Israel’s MasterChef - is on a quest to make social change through food. And so, she founded the A-Sham Arabic Food Festival, where pairs of Arab and Jewish chefs collaborate on dishes like kishek (a Syrian yogurt soup), and qatayef (a dessert typically eaten during Ramadan). A film about hope, synergy and exotic fare, Breaking Bread illustrates what happens when people focus on the person, rather than her religion; ​on the public, rather than the politicians. 

Proceeds raised will go to Women’s Refuge New Zealand and the Kiribati Women & Children Support Centre

Please bring cash if you would like to participate in our raffle,  we have some amazing prizes thanks to some generous supporters including Antipodes!

Date and time

Thu 2nd Dec 2021, 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm NZDT
Add to calendar


Light House Cinema
29 Wigan Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand

Get directions

Purchase your ticket here.


 Reflecting on COP26 

Rod Oram in Glasgow watches countries big and small present their climate pitches, but feels New Zealand has let itself down with its promises in advance of the UN summit 


Read his analysis here.


 Auckland Transport shines bright at UN Climate Conference

Auckland Transport’s zero-emission bus fleet will be showcased in a virtual exhibition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow this month.

The COP 26 summit improves the global efforts of countries all over the world to play their part in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Auckland Transport’s (AT) transition to zero-emission buses has been recognised in a C40 cities exhibition at COP 26, along with a number of wider Auckland Council initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.

The AT board adopted the Low Emission Bus Roadmap in 2018, which outlines the transition to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

Read more here.

 Don't forget you can read our annual publication online!

Our annual publication UNA NZ NEWS has launched! Only online for now, but printed copies will become available soon, production and distribution of these has been delayed due to COVID-19. 

A great thanks is owed to our former National Administrator Chris Vogliano and our design intern CJ who spend considerable time curating the publication. We are grateful to our intelligent and experienced special officers who made valuable and informative contributions to the publication regarding their respective fields.

You can read it online here via a pdf on our website or on Issuu here


UNA NZ Education Portal Resources

Curious to know what our education portal actually is? 

The UNA NZ Education Portal is an excellent web page for UN-related resources.  

The resources on this site are designed for primary school aged children. If you are an educator please use these resources as you wish. We also encourage educators, students and parents to contribute to the portal to help it grow. Find out how you can contribute here.

Check out our about page to watch an introductory video, read updates, learn how to contribute and most importantly, how you can take advantage of these resources to make learning exciting for your students. 

Click here to learn more.

Check out our newly updated website!
Want to Join the United Nations Association?

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