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February 2021

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


Happy New Year to all of you! We hope everyone had a great time for celebrations, relaxation and reflection with friends and family. The end of February is already upon us which means time is flying by, however, it seems the year has started well as New Zealand is doing amazingly to curb the spread of Covid-19 within the community.

I am pleased to write my first introduction as President for this newsletter as it highlights recent achievements and explores issues to promote the goals of our association: to help New Zealanders understand the UN and promote engagement with it. 

But firstly, I would like to acknowledge the sterling efforts of my predecessor as I inherit a vibrant organisation in a healthy financial state with a bright future. Thank you, Peter Nichols for your amazing leadership and effort as you had built and cultivated not only a good team, but a well-defined organisation culture which has benefitted UNA NZ in many ways. We thank you for your ability to mentor and inspire many young people to be the best version of themselves.

I would like to further acknowledge Joy Dunsheath for her wisdom, experience and advice, and her ongoing commitment as Special Officer World Federation of United Nations Association Liaison. Thank you.

As for the other office holders who have stood down at the last AGM, I thank Pete Cowley for his many competent years managing our finances, I note too how time consuming that has been. Thank you to all those who have offered to continue to serve the association in various roles. 

I extend a very warm welcome to Catherine Ashworth as our secretary, treasurer Dan Harward Jones and Danika Ciullo as Special Officer of Communications, and to the upcoming volunteers which have applied for various volunteering positions which we have advertised recently.

Well since being in this role, I have been actively communicating with key people in and outside of the organisation to plan for what is important for UNANZ. I have mentioned that my focus for the year is to promote engagement with the UN among young, indigenous/ Pacific people and private sectors.        

I hope to see as many of you as possible for all our upcoming events.

Thank you.

Gaya Paranisamy
President the United Nations Association of New Zealand

 New leadership at the United Nations Association of New Zealand

The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) has elected a new President: Gaya Paranisamy. Gaya was appointed as the National President on 1st January 2021, replacing Peter Nichols who stood down as a President after 2 and a half years in the role. Gaya has been National Vice-President for the last 2 years striving to achieve the Association’s goal of ‘Promoting engagement and understanding of the United Nations’.
Mr. Nichols will continue his involved with the UNA NZ as immediate past President. “We thank Peter for his inspired leadership and enormous time and effort expended throughout his Presidential terms. Peter has been a great mentor to me and many other young people in the organisation”, Gaya says about her predecessor.
Joy Dunsheath JP, WFUNA Executive, New York (World Federation of UNA Associations), former UNA NZ President & UNA NZ Honorary Life Member warmly congratulates Gaya on her election as President.  Joy says, " Gaya has an understanding of human rights where diversity is valued, and human dignity and rights are respected. She displays a strong community involvement and a sound understanding of the United Nations' SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and how these are to be implemented". 
Formerly from Malaysia, Gaya moved to New Zealand to work for the Earthquake Rebuild in Christchurch. Currently, Gaya works as a Cost Manager for Beca Ltd. in Wellington. Gaya has worked as a Quantity Surveyor in the construction industry in various parts of Malaysia. She is also a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and won a “Highly Commended Award” for Rising Star category, NAWIC Award in 2019. She is very passionate about promoting gender equality.
Gaya’s says her focus for the Association is to ‘promote UN engagement with the wider sectors, especially within the private sectors, to work with young and indigenous/pacific people on promoting SDG’s.
UNA NZ promotes and supports the aims and objectives of the United Nations and is committed to the ideals embodied in the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Over recent times, the Association has held meetings on Climate Change, Human Rights, Immigration, environmental issues and peacekeeping. It has seven branches nation-wide including a new one in Palmerston North.
If you want to contribute or participate in the UNA NZ’s activities, then visit its website:


7 young women selected to represent UNA NZ at the Commission on the Status of women

The United Nations Association of New Zealand is thrilled to announce the names of 7 young women who will be representing us at CSW65.
We were very inspired by the amazing actions these young women were taking to improve the status of women across New Zealand, from engaging with UN initiatives, delivering period equality campaigns, consent education and more.

They have worked in diplomatic bodies, advocacy organisations, large corporates, academia, small NGOs, Global movements and the public sector.

We know they will represent us well on the world stage and use the opportunity to build knowledge and confidence that will continue to bolster the impact of their work.

The United Nations Association of New Zealand congratulates:
Brodie Joyce
Kate Hellings
Victoria Cammell
Sarah Gulley
Ellen Lear
Ruby Sands
Ranisha Chand


Get to know our new National President: Gaya Paranisamy

Get to know our new National President: Gaya Paranisamy
"I visited New Zealand 6 years ago as I am a die-hard fan of "The Hobbit" & "Lord of the Rings". Half a year after my visit, I moved to New Zealand from Malaysia as I got a job with the Earthquake Rebuild. I am a Quantity Surveyor by profession, and I work for Beca Ltd.
Growing up in a community that was immersed in culture, I was exposed to the dynamics of equality at a young age. I grew up in an amazing family and was always surrounded by people with strong personalities that have shaped me into who I am today.
I personally enjoy connecting with people from different cultures and demographics.
My focus for the year as the National President is to promote UN engagement with the wider sectors, especially within the private sectors, and to work with young and indigenous/Pacific people on promoting SDG’s. I am also passionate in promoting gender equality.
During my free time, I love going for a walk in the bush or along the beach and catching up with some friends for a nice banter."


 UNA NZ proud to be co-hosting CSW65 parallel event

“Ensuring full participation of migrant and ethnic women in post-COVID-19  responses and decision-making” 

Migrant and ethnic women in New Zealand have historically been underrepresented in public decision  making processes. The impacts of COVID-19 are further marginalising these groups, exacerbating  inequalities and potentially increasing exposure to other social, economic and protection risks. The  event showcases the stories of how migrant and ethnic women in New Zealand and in the Pacific  region are dealing with the pandemic and the amplified challenges they are facing. The event explores  the socio-economic and political implications of coronavirus on migrant and ethnic women in New  Zealand and the Pacific region, across the three SDGs of gender equality (SDG 5), decent work and  economic growth (SDG 8), and reduced inequalities (SDG 10). 

With only 10 years to go until the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the  disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is reversing decades of women’s rights progress. 

Within this context, the Global Goals Institute, in collaboration with the New Zealand Human  Rights Commission, the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women, Pacifica Inc.,  Rotary Wellington and the United Nations Association of New Zealand wishes to invite you to a virtual parallel CSW65 event to showcase the stories of migrant and ethnic women and the need for co designing solutions to address urgent problems in the age of COVID-19. 

The panel will showcase concrete actions and will be showing good examples from New Zealand,  the Pacific and beyond on how migrant and ethnic women hold knowledge, resilience and solutions  needed to co-design a better post-pandemic world together. The event will promote different  approaches and measures to attract migrant and ethnic women to leadership levels for greater diversity  and inclusion. 

The panel discussion will be held on the virtual CSW NGOs conference platform on Tuesday, 23  March at 11 am, NZDT. Following the CSW65 virtual event, a seminar will be held in Wellington and  virtually at a later date to report back and to reflect on steps ahead. 

Please RSVP your interest to Ann Afadama at to secure your  virtual participation.




Wā Kōrero sessions for ’Our Precious Earth’ - video footage now available


The video footage of the Wā Kōrero sessions for ’Our Precious Earth’ is now available to view. This session was one of many as part of whenau ukaipo a week-long art installation and series of events linked to the sustainable development goals.


To watch the full session, follow the link below and enter in the password.


Password: whenua



To learn more about whenua ukaipo a UN@75 event please look at the following links:

 UN & Australia Sustainable Partnership Forum

The incredible global impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has made people in Australia and around the world aware of the urgent need for action to ensure people’s basic needs are met; that the planet is made secure from the effects of climate change and that our future world is healthier, safer, fairer and more prosperous.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the global blueprint to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure prosperity. Working together to implement them by 2030 will mean we address the underlying factors which exacerbated the worldwide crisis: poverty; food insecurity; fragmented health systems, educational inequality and climate change.

On 20 and 21 April 2021, we will bring together governments of all levels, businesses, universities, start-ups, students and community organisations to hear from, and interact with, leading speakers from within the UN and from companies, universities and organisations which partner with the UN.

Over two days, Forum delegates will have access to compelling and inspiring expert information. While virtual, people will be able to connect, network and lay the groundwork for the range of partnerships needed to achieve the SDGs. This gathering will encompass all 17 Goals but be guided by SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals to ensure it is outcome oriented.

After a worldwide consultation, the UN has identified four key areas which require urgent and sustainable solutions. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to watch Nations United: a beautiful and inspiring visual representation of these challenges.

Our Forum will use these as overarching themes for our range of Keynote and Panel Sessions and Interactive Workshops. They are:

  • Climate and Planet
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Justice and Human Rights
  • Gender Equality

UNA NZ members can receive a discounted member rate - Find out more about the summit 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 30 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.


Apply for the Youth4Climate Summit!

Apply for the #Youth4Climate: #DrivingAmbition event today!
You’ll have the chance to win a fully-funded ticket to Milan, Italy to discuss the issues that are important to YOUth directly with the ministers attending #PreCOP26 
Don't wait! ➡️

 Renew your UNA NZ membership for 2021!

Do you enjoy receiving this newsletter, reading a copy of our annual publication, getting discounted rates to attend events, having a channel to engage with the UN, appreciate having an independent civil society voice on issues relating to the UN, value our advocacy for the progression of the SDGs, attended a lecture we have hosted, read one of our intern research reports or simply wish to support our voluntary not for profit work?

Then, renew your membership for 2021 and allows us to continue the work that we do! As an incorporated society, membership is one of our main forms of income and is what keep us active. We thoroughly value your membership, we hope you have found it valuable throughout 2020 and we look forward to receiving your support and continuing to provide value in 2021.

Renew your membership on our website by clicking here,



UN Secretary-General António Guterres to mark U.S. reentry into Paris Agreement with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

UN Secretary-General António Guterres joined U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement on 19th February 2021.
The discussion with the Secretary-General and the Special Presidential Envoy took place during the opening session of UNA-USA’s virtual 2021 Global Engagement Summit and was moderated by Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation.
The event takes place as countries gear up to raise the level of climate action and ambition in advance of the critical Glasgow Climate Conference, COP26, that will be held in November. 

The U.S. joins a growing global coalition of countries, along with companies, cities and financial institutions, that are developing and implementing plans to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century.
You can view a recording of the session at any of the following links:
 Goal of the month: Reduce Inequalities


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight and deepen existing inequalities among and within countries, adversely impacting countries and groups already at greatest risk of being left behind.

In this edition of the Goal of the Month editorial, we look at the importance of Reducing Inequalities, examining some of the most pertinent sustainable development issues of our time – vaccine inequity, climate injustice, social and economic inequalities – as major stumbling blocks in our efforts to recover better.

Read more about goal 10 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!
Want to Join the United Nations Association?

Learn more and complete the form to secure your membership by clicking here.
Copyright © 2021 United Nations Association of New Zealand
You are receiving this email because you are a member or affiliate of our organisation or have previously expressed interest in our activities. We value your feedback on the newsletter and welcome contributions.

At the United Nations Association of New Zealand we are bringing people together to support the United Nations and promote its activities.

UNA New Zealand
Level 13, Davis Langdon House
49 Boulcott Street Wellington 6011

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