Kiwi researcher awarded for work on indigenous health and wellbeing

Trish Carter and Dr Matire HarwoodCommunication and Information Commissioner Trish Carter (pictured left) attended an Auckland ceremony on 2 November, held in honour of clinical researcher Dr Matire Harwood, winner of a prestigious fellowship in the L'Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science programme.

Dr Harwood received the $250,000 fellowship for her research in addressing the inequities of health related outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Her research is important to the 400 million indigenous people around the world and it could improve their health outcomes not only in New Zealand but also internationally.

“Indigenous health and wellbeing is an international priority, with long-term conditions the biggest contributor to life expectancy gaps worldwide,” says Dr Harwood.  “Achieving equity within health and wellbeing will have a positive impact on the lives of patients, as well as for the community, the nation and the world over.

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature to hold Creative Cities hui

Creative Cities Hui 2017 A4 NO TEXT compressedDunedin UNESCO City of Literature is holding a Creative Cities Southern Hui from Tuesday 28 November to Saturday 2 December.

The collaborative event, sponsored by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and held in partnership with the University of Otago’s Centre for the Book, is free and open to all, with registration essential.

The Hui offers events, talks and workshops around the themes of creativity, connection and collaboration. Each event is open to all creative minds; an opportunity to foster creative connections through all disciplines and interests.

The Hui programme includes:

  • Centre for the Book: Books and Users, a day of presentations and discussions, exploring the many ways we interact with books, and probing the meaning of ‘user’
  • Creative Connections aims to explore creativity as the touchstone of healthy and sustainable communities, and celebrate the power of collaboration to inspire. The wealth of exciting keynote speakers includes Steven Edmund Winduo (Papua New Guinea), Anna Maria Lorusso (Bologna UNESCO City of Music), and Noel Waite (Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature)
  • Transitions and Transformations is a participatory workshop, facilitated by Noel Waite, inviting creative minds to identify ways to collaborate and develop sustainable creative partnerships.

Arts Centre receives prestigious UNESCO heritage award

Arts Centre Clock Tower building Worcester BoulevardThe immaculate heritage restoration of two Arts Centre buildings has received an Award of Merit in the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

It’s the fourth time a New Zealand project has been recognised by the awards, with the Arts Centre taking out honours in a field of 43 projects from 10 countries.

It received the award for the post-earthquake restoration of two of the site’s most historically valuable buildings – the Great Hall and Clock Tower.

Judged by an international panel of conservation experts, a total of 16 awards were presented to diverse projects from six countries – the others being from Australia, China, India, Iran and Singapore.

Auckland becomes UNESCO Creative City of Music

auckland city of music photo splore festival serena stevensonAuckland has become a City of Music, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Auckland’s successful bid, along with 11 other music cities worldwide, was announced by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on 31 October.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

“We warmly congratulate Auckland Council on its successful bid.”

Councillor Alf Filipaina, a staunch supporter of the bid made by Auckland Council working with Recorded Music NZ and APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association), is thrilled to share Auckland’s distinctive sound with the world and strengthen music opportunities in the city.

"From indie folk and brass bands to waiata aroha, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Lorde, there’s no doubt music is a part of us. It goes right to Auckland’s roots, with waiata woven into our history and everyday culture," he says.

"Supporting Auckland as a creative city and growing our music industry will enrich city life, the cultural landscape and build community identity and liveability for all Aucklanders.

Meet our new Youth Reference Group members

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to announce the six new members of our Youth Reference Group: Shaymaaa Arif, Injy Johnstone, Peter McKenzie, Ashlee Peacock, Nola Smart and Charlotte Steel.

“We received applications from 100 incredibly talented young people and it was a very difficult decision to narrow them down to six,” says Libby Frampton, an advisor in the National Commission’s Secretariat who is responsible for the youth portfolio.

The Youth Reference Group is chaired by the Special Advisor – Youth (currently Danielle Newton) and provides advice to the National Commission on how to engage young people in UNESCO’s work programmes. 

Shaymaa Arif

Shaymaa crop Shaymaa (22) recently graduated with a Law and Social Sciences degree from Waikato University and is now a qualified barrister and solicitor. Her achievements include being selected for the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institution Delegation for the World Heritage Committee 41st Session in Poland, representing Te Piringa Faculty of Law in the National International Humanitarian Law Mooting Competition in Wellington, and being selected for the Delegation of New Zealand for the prestigious Shop for World Youth Programme in 2016. She received the Waikato Student Unions Scholarship for Cultural Contribution 2016 and was a 2015 finalist in the Westpac New Zealand Women of Influence Awards in the ‘Young Leader’ Category. She is also a Trustee of the family-founded Charitable Trust ‘Tamariki Outreach’, which sponsors Syrian orphans and helps the local community through aiding vulnerable members as well as connecting the Muslim community with the non-Muslim community.

Global Citizenship Education Award launched

Education 820pxThe New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is seeking to reward projects that foster global citizenship through its inaugural Global Citizenship Education (GCED) Award.

Applicants from the education sector and community groups are invited to tell the National Commission about their global citizenship education projects or develop new ones between now and March 2018 to be in to win cash prizes.

“GCED aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. 

Kids’ Polling Booth teaches civic responsibility

kids polling boothAround 300 children in the Wellington region aged 5-12 got a taste of democracy in action during the General Election thanks to the efforts of independent theatre company Barbarian Productions.

With support from the National Commission, the group set up a mock polling station at Vogelmorn Bowling Club and invited children to cast their vote and campaign for what they believed in. Children from local schools also visited during the lead up to the election.

"With the Kids’ Polling Booth we wanted to offer children an opportunity to experience firsthand the embodied experience of voting – actually going into the booth and making the choice for themselves, then posting into the ballot box,” says Head Clown Thomas LaHood.

“We also wanted to create a space encouraging children to come forward with their own ideas, concerns and political voices. We are always very inspired working with children, and especially so in these areas of civic rights and responsibilities and social values.”

Six major grant recipients announced

bg title waka houruaThe New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has awarded six grants worth $125,550 in total in its UNESCO’s 2017/2018 Contestable Funding Round.

The successful projects range from a collaborative wānanga aimed at finding solutions for kauri dieback and wider forest ecosystem conservation to a youth project focused on building the capacity of young people to make a positive difference in their communities, to a pilot programme for Peace Week.

“We received a number of excellent proposals but the six we selected most strongly reflected our mission and strategic priorities, and have the potential to lead to positive long-term change at a national or regional level,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the National Commission.

“We’re excited about sharing the outcomes of these projects.”

National Commission represented at Iwi Chairs Forum

Representatives of the National Commission attended the Iwi Chairs Forum in Whakatane on 3 August, hosted by Ngati Awa at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae.Iwi Chairs Forum crop

Thanks to an introduction facilitated by Social Sciences Commissioner Materoa Dodd, Chair Robyn Baker and Culture Commissioner Dr Arapata Hakiwai were invited to profile UNESCO and share the current priorities and work programme of the National Commission at the Forum.

The Forum is a platform for sharing knowledge and information between the tangata whenua of Aotearoa, with hui four times a year hosted at different marae throughout the country. The primary focus is for participants to educate one another about what they are doing, how they are doing it and how they can best support one another.

Youth Reference Group out and about

Teina and DanielleTwo members of our Youth Reference Group, Teina Wells-Smith and Danielle Newton, did an excellent job of representing the National Commission in August. Below are the activities they have been involved in.

Nga Rangatahi A Iwi forum

Teina Wells-Smith attended the Nga Rangatahi A Iwi (NRAI) forum. This was part of the Iwi Chairs Forum, which is an opportunity for Māori from different iwi to share information and aspirations around topics of cultural, environmental, social, economic and political development.

NRAI participants are young Māori representatives of their iwi. As part of the day Teina joined a group discussion about Pou Taiao (environment), where they brainstormed ideas around  barriers that prevent rangatahi (young people) from connecting themselves to the environment through kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

Teina says he came away from the day inspired and with invaluable connections to future iwi leaders.

Could you be the next youth voice of UNESCO?

Are you aged between 18 and 25 and want to take action to promote peace and social justice in New Zealand and the Pacific? Then we want to hear from you.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is recruiting new members for its UNESCO NZ Youth Reference Group (YRG) to advise us on an ongoing basis.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) is the global organisation that contributes to the building of peace, sustainable development, intercultural dialogue and the eradication of poverty through the five programme areas of education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO works through these five areas within the context of New Zealand and the Pacific.

Hearing the voice of youth within our work is vital, so we are looking for people who have:

  • a strong commitment to the UNESCO ideals
  • knowledge and interest in at least one of five programme areas of UNESCO
  • demonstrable interest in activities or organisations involving youth
  • an understanding of youth issues
  • the availability to actively participate and commit to the work of UNESCO and
  • the ability to express views clearly at meetings.

Successful applicants will form a group chaired by the Special Advisor – Youth that provides advice to the National Commission. During the year, there will be up to three National Commission meetings in Wellington that you must attend. You will also need to be available on email to communicate with the Youth Advisor and the Secretariat. Terms are either for one year or two years.

If you want be part of the UNESCO NZ Youth Reference Group, send your one page expression of interest (including current occupation, area of interest and reasons for wishing to contribute to the values of UNESCO) and your CV as soon as possible but no later than Monday 21 August 2017.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Advisor, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, if you have any questions.

Note: This is an unpaid role, although all associated expenses will be covered. The role requires domestic and possibly some international travel.

Celebrating Imagining Decolonised Cities prizewinners

IDC winners with RobynThe winners of the Imagining Decolonised Cities (IDC) contest, supported by our last round of contestable funding, were announced in May. Chair Robyn Baker attended a prizegiving of one of the winning teams (Runner Up Under 18) this month, comprising four high school students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna in Wellington — (pictured from left with Robyn Baker) Paige Scruton Nepe Apatu, Watene Campbell, Christian Mauriri and Te Hoera Sullivan (absent). Submissions to the contest can now be viewed on the IDC website

Contestable funding round 2017/18 now open

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is calling for Expressions of Interest for its contestable funding round by 30 June.

Applications are primarily being sought for ‘major grant’ funding from $15,000 to the level of $40,000. Minor grant funding is also available for amounts under $5,000.

“We are seeking innovative projects, events, programmes or initiatives that reflect our mission and strategic priorities,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the National Commission.

“As UNESCO is an organisation of ‘ideas’, we are especially interested in projects that demonstrate new ways of working and which have the potential to lead to positive long-term change at a national or regional level.”

Intangible Cultural Heritage workshop

CRIHAPRepresentatives from 10 South Pacific countries gathered in Auckland in May for a capacity building workshop on intangible cultural heritage.

Organised by the International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP) under the auspices of UNESCO Apia Office and supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, the workshop was based on the ratification and implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A UNESCO treaty, the 2003 Convention is aimed at safeguarding the uses, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques that communities and groups (and in some cases individuals) recognise as an integral part of their cultural heritage. This intangible heritage can be found in forms such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship knowledge and techniques.

Imaginative digital journeys

Nature Through ArtsHow can young people make a difference in their natural environments?

Nature Through Arts Collective is enabling young people and their families to learn about and get involved in some of New Zealand’s critical conservation challenges through a series of dynamic and imaginative digital journeys at nature sites.

Supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, the project explores new ways for young people to have an active voice and become innovative thinkers in sustainable development. Creative and artistic activity, innovative technology and immersion in nature are combined to empower a wide community of adventurers who can be both virtual and real ‘super-heroes’ in their own backyards and reserves.

The project builds on the success of the Collective’s recent pilot ‘Imagine My City 100 Day creative challenge’, also supported by the National Commission. This was a community-based project to ignite the imaginations and dreams of young people for a neighbourhood full of nature.

Visit from Assistant Director General Natural Sciences

ADG visitIt was the National Commission’s great pleasure to welcome the Assistant Director General Natural Sciences, Dr Flavia Schlegel to New Zealand in March.

Dr Schlegel was in New Zealand as part of a three week visit to the Pacific region, participating in a workshop organised by the International Network for Government Science Advice in Auckland and the 150th anniversary celebrations of the New Zealand Royal Society in Wellington.

Free Global Citizenship Education seminar

gced visual en1 e1440949511407What is global citizenship education? Why is it important? And how do we encourage New Zealanders from all walks of life and at all ages to become responsible and active global citizens?

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is holding an evening seminar in Wellington on Monday 22 May from 5.30-7pm, featuring:

  • Libby Giles (Global Citizenship Education facilitator, member of the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies (NZCGS) and the Alliance for Responsible and Sustainable Societies)
  • Scarlett Parkes (Auckland Girls’ Grammar Deputy Head Girl, co-author of an International Youth White Paper on Global Citizenship)
  • Cheryl Stephens (education specialist; National Commissioner for Education, NZ National Commission for UNESCO).

Don't miss this opportunity to hear from three individuals from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about helping people become engaged global citizens.

Dunedin authors showcased at international children's book fair

Bologna standChildren’s books created by Dunedin authors and illustrators were showcased at the iconic Bologna Children’s Book Fair earlier this month, thanks to a successful bid for a free stand by the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.

Bologna UNESCO City of Music invited the 116 UNESCO Creative Cities to apply, and the literary city’s proposal was selected.

Director City of Literature Nicky Page says, “Winning the stand means we were able showcase our wonderful local writers and illustrators and provide a hub for New Zealand children’s books at a trade fair that attracts tens of thousands of publishing industry players worldwide.”

Peer tutoring book launched

Beeby book launchFormer Beeby Fellow Jesse Pirini launched his book Peer Tutoring: A training and facilitation guide at the end of March.

Developed during his Beeby Fellowship, the book provides practical, research-based strategies for anyone wanting to run a peer tutoring programme or to improve their own tutoring practice.

“Jesse’s work is the perfect match for the National Commission’s goal of providing equitable access to education,” said National Commission Chair Robyn Baker in her speech at the launch. “His resource aims to make tutoring programmes more accessible, particularly in communities where there are a scarcity of resources. By helping communities develop and sustain their own tutoring programmes, his work benefits students whose families can’t afford private tuition fees.

Representing the voice of youth

Co writers holding up White PaperA standing ovation at an international UNESCO forum in March made the culmination of many months and long hours of work all worthwhile for 17-year-old Auckland Girls’ Grammar deputy head girl Scarlett Parkes.

The driven year 13 student co-wrote an international youth White Paper on Global Citizenship with youth teams from 11 different countries, collaborating virtually across multiple time zones.

Scarlett was one of 10 representatives who travelled to Ottawa, Canada to complete the finishing touches and present the paper at the Third UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education.