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April 2021

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

Ko Monique tōku ingoa, nō Manawatū ahau.

Welcome to the April newsletter, it has been a busy month! We had the National Council, the first proper one I have attended (the Manawatū branch was only formed at the November NC). It was great hearing about what all the branches have been up to and watching the presentations from various people across UNA!

One of the biggest challenges we are finding, as a young, newly created branch, is figuring out what it is we want to achieve. We would like to raise awareness, fan out, and grow our organisation within the Manawatu - but what is the best way to do this? We are excited to join other community initiatives, but we have yet to decide what community initiatives and events we want to lead. Attending the NC inspired both myself and other members of our branch to get creative and try and answer this question. We are excited to be a UNA branch, working with you all to create a sustainable Aotearoa.

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi- With your basket and my basket the people will live

Monique Corson
Manawatu branch president

 United Nations Association of New Zealand Speech Awards Open for 2021!


The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) is excited to launch our Secondary School Speech Award for 2021. 

The United Nations Association of New Zealand has held regional secondary school speech awards for over 35 years. This year the competition will again be held online in light of the ongoing COVID19 situation.


Students must speak for a minimum of 6 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes and must make a particular reference to the aims, work and aspirations of the United Nations. The topic that students are asked to address is:

“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?”

We suggest that the UN Website and UNA NZ website be explored. Students are encouraged to do their own research, though, and add their own perspective. Certificates are awarded to all who participate. The deadline for entries is 30 June 2021.

We invite you to share this announcement widely and encourage a wide range of students to apply by submitting a recording of them delivering their speech via our online form:

For any queries please contact or

UNA NZ hosts first National Council meeting for 2021


In April UNA NZ hosted its first National Council meeting for 2021.

We were joined in Wellington by branch presidents, special officers, committee members and more. 

We received an update from Colin Keating about the joint project on UN renewal supported by UNA NZ and the Centre for Global Studies. 

We also received a workshop from Dr Negar Partow on the future of the UN which prompted participants to consider artificial intelligence, the relevance of the nation-state and more. 

Finally, we had an interactive session with Dr Samantha Leonard who runs the Masters of Sustainable Development Goals at Massey University who left us with a message of hope about the progress that is being made towards the SDGs. 

Pictures above: UNA NZ National Council meeting atendees

 Only 30 copies of "A seat at the table" left! 

UNA NZ was honoured to launch the book "A seat at the table: New Zealand and the United Nations Security Council 2015-2016" last year at our UN day reception in conjunction with the support of MFAT and NZIIA.
We are deeply honoured to have Negar Partow and Graham Hassall the editors of the book as respected and longstanding members of UNA NZ who have contributed a great deal to our organisation. 

We have had many people asking us where they can get a copy as it is sold out at many locations! 

There are 30 left that can be purchased at the link below:

100 seconds to midnight public lecture with Alyn Ware.


Alyn Ware is UNA NZ's Special Officer for Peace and Security and boasts an impressive CV with many achievements and accolades in progressing peace and disarmament around the world.

Alyn is currently based in Prague but was visiting New Zealand this month. We were lucky enough for Alyn to do a public lecture titled '100 seconds to midnight. 

During his talk Alyn discussed the ongoing risk of nuclear weapons, the need for disarmament, alternatives to nuclear weapons and the role the United Nations and Civil Society can play in promoting and achieving disarmament.

 Shut out: why the United Nations is no utopia.

Indigenous climate activist Kera Sherwood-O'Regan reflects on her experiences engaging with the United Nations and the challenges civil society and indigenous groups face in engaging meaningfully in UN summits, meetings and dialouges. 

"Without formal standing, indigenous activists must spend their time lobbying national delegations to speak up for their peoples’ interests. Sometimes, they’ll make headway, only to discover the country they were dealing with has made a side deal with another nation.

For disabled people, a group among which Sherwood-O’Regan counts herself, even getting around the conferences is challenging, with big crowds, barriers, and long distances between meeting rooms.

”You... come out of your politics degree thinking that the UN is the place where this great diplomacy is meant to happen, and where there are going to be these great standards of human rights, where people's voices are able to be heard, and where indigenous people can have a say,” she says.

“That illusion was shattered pretty quickly.”

You can read the full article here.


You can still watch to United Nations Association of New Zealand Speech Award 2020 winner and runner up speeches online!

UNA NZ has been running our Secondary School Speech Award for 35 years. Previous finalist and winners include our current Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Chris Bishop MP. This year due to COVID19 the competition was run online.

We were pleased to announce last year that the runner up for the 2020 speech awards was Demira Singh from St Cuthbert’s College and the winner of the 2020 speech awards is Desmond McBride from Fraser High School.

Read a full press release with links to online recordings of the winner and runner up speeches here

Pictured above: Desmond McBride from Frase High School, Winner of the UNA NZ speech award 2020 delivering his winning speech.

Myanmar: Stand with the people and protect them, urges UN rights expert

"The international community has a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar, under attack from their own military, the UN independent human rights expert on the country argues, in the second part of our in-depth interview, calling also for refuge to be given to those who have fled for their lives to neighbouring countries." says UN Human rights expert.


You can read the full interview here.


Latest issue of transparency times now available 

You can read the latest copy of transparency times here.


United Nations gives New Zealand a 'fail' grade in Family Court review.

"New Zealand has failed to address the “obstruction of justice” for domestic violence victims within the Family Court, and must make changes to ensure women and children are safe, the United Nations (UN) women’s rights committee says.

In a report released on Wednesday, the committee said it regretted New Zealand had chosen not established a royal commission of inquiry into the courts as it recommended in 2018, after hearing multiple reports the courts were not meeting victims’ needs."


Read the full article here.

 Goal of the month: Good Health and Wellbeing

This World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) will launch a new health equity campaign to build a fairer and healthier world. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed stark inequities in access to, and coverage of health services, as well as on mortality rates. 

As we prepare to build back after the pandemic, we need to put in place policies and allocate resources so that the most vulnerable communities see their condition improve faster; and marginalized groups and individuals can enjoy the same level of health and well-being as other groups in our societies.

We need to also ensure that the health sector delivers universal health coverage – to everyone, everywhere. The campaign will run until International Universal Health Coverage Day (12 December).


“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must implement policies and allocate resources so all can enjoy the same health outcomes. That means achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

— Excerpt from UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Health Day 2021

Key resources:


Read more about goal 3 here.
Marking 75 years of the International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is marking its 75th anniversary this week and its current President has said that she is confident the institution and its highly-regarded rules and procedures “will continue to provide fertile ground for the peaceful settlement of inter-State disputes”.


Read more about the ICJ and what is being done to acknowledge its 75th anniversary here.

 Don't forget you can now 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!
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At the United Nations Association of New Zealand we are bringing people together to support the United Nations and promote its activities.

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