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Mayor Justin Lester's Speech at UNIHRD

Mayor Justin Lester's speech at United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day,
Wellington January 2018


NZ National Commission for UNESCO - Robyn Baker, Chair and Vicki Soanes, Secretary General
Wellington City Council – we have always been humbled that our council is a partner of The
Holocaust Centre. It is an honour to support the Holocaust Centre each year with a grant to
commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Human Rights Commission/Council of Jewish Women/B’Nai Brith Wellington Unit
Wellington Regional Jewish Council/ Wilson Funeral Home

MP’s and Councillors
Embassies & Consulates
Very importantly - Holocaust Survivors and descendants

Today, we are here to do a very important thing.

We are here to honour and remember the victims and survivors of the Shoah, the Holocaust. We do
so on UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marks the liberation of AuschwitzBirkenau
and honours the victims of Nazism.

This year the Holocaust Centre of NZ (HCNZ) has aligned with the Human Rights Commission in
support of their campaign – Give Nothing To Racism.

So today we are also here to ensure that we do everything in our power to ensure nothing like this
happens again.

All of us are responsible for advancing the causes of peace, justice and human rights both in New
Zealand and around the world.

In Wellington we take pride in our tolerance and acceptance of others. We are one of the most multicultural
cities in the world and yet we live in peace. Not many countries can say that. In Wellington, w
don’t just tolerate diversity, we celebrate it. We embrace our difference.

This is an important message for our children and children everywhere. A message that we will not
allow them to live in a world of racism and hatred.

We will teach them to stand up and speak out, not to be silent or a bystandaer – to fight against
racism, religious intolerance and homophobia.

We will teach them to “give nothing to racism”.

This means - no jokes, no jibes, no small hateful words.

I will teach my children that even these small hateful words can have a huge impact.
However, I must say that I have never met a child that is inherently evil. They are influenced by
their surrounds and most often by their parents. We need to be an example for our children.
This Remembrance Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the lesson that even the smallest act
of prejudice can begin the process of allowing hatred to flourish.

That small hateful words and acts can have a very chilling effect on communities. They give
permission for even larger acts of violence and intolerance. We cannot allow these small things to

We cannot be bystanders. We can’t give anything to racism.

The Holocaust Centre does an incredible job in educating the community in this very thing. Thank
you for the work you do.

As I said last year, today is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our best ideals, to commit
ourselves to doing more to help those in need, to do more to include those who are left behind, to
reject hatred and to strive for a better world together.

Mayor Justin Lester, at UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, Makara,
Wellington. January 26th 2018

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