Spirit of Peace

Toward a Culture of Peace (Pax Cultura) 

August 2006 E-Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Welcome to Issue #1
  • A Culture of Peace and the Spiritual Essence of Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
  • The Rise and Rise of NVC in Aotearoa
    - Sura Hart in Nelson
    - Jean Morrison in Wellington (Nelson & Golden Bay)
    - Linda Rysenbry in Wellington (Auckland & New Plymouth)
    -
    Dorset Campbell-Ross (acknowledgement)
    - NZ International Intensive Training (NZIIT), Hamilton (acknowledgement)
  • Threats to Peace and Disarmament Convention, Meiji Stewart & PuddleDancer
  • United Nations Association of NZ (UNANZ) National Conference
  • Toward a Culture of Peace & Non-Violence & NZ Ministry of Peace Forum
  • Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
  • Wellington the Peace City?
  • Upcoming Events
 

Welcome to Issue #1


Sophia La Toa

Kia Ora fellow world citizens. My name is Sophia La Toa from Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Like many of you out there, I'm passionate about world peace. I've written so many dozens of looooooooooong emails in the past few months, and been involved in varied activities relating to a culture of peace, the idea of a bi-monthly e-Newsletter to share and exchange news seemed a logical step. So without further ado here is the first edition.

The basic concept and function of this newsletter is to share and give voice to those who wish to contribute news, ideas, commentary, suggestions, pieces of architecture i.e. creative writing, poetry, art and music, especially on a Culture of Peace, or reports of activities you are involved in toward non-violence, a vision of world peace and planetary healing. While not forgetting the wars and conflict, abject poverty, and the unending human misery which besiege our ravaged planet, this newsletter is dedicated to those who share a vision of hope in our innate divinity, faith that goodness will prevail, a belief in the way forward and a deep conviction that the long dark night of the soul will end. Beyond the dark horizon the new day is dawning.

Where there is no vision the people perish. So no matter which part of the planet you're from, if there's a message of hope, a song of faith or action for peace you wish to share, send it to me for inclusion in future newsletters with photos or pics and links if possible. This first edition may give an idea of scope and scale, and as it's my first attempt with no other contributions to offer as yet, forgive me if the sound of my lone voice may seem a little self indulgent. Your feedback and future contributions will be much appreciated, but if you're happy to receive, read and enjoy, have fun! Please forward this newsletter to your mailing lists if you think your families, friends, colleagues or co-workers will enjoy reading it too and distribute it freely. If you don't wish to receive further newsletters, please let me know via return email and I'll remove your name from the mailing list.

As a keen advocate for an active Culture of Peace in our communities, I'm especially encouraged by the rapid growth of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in Wellington, capital city of New Zealand. This edition will document the rise and rise, over recent months, of NVC in our cultural harbour capital with the beautiful Maori name of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the Great Harbour of Tara, in Maori history.

However, as a one year old NVCer, I'm unable to specifically use NVC as a principal basis for this newsletter with copyright prohibitions mutually understood and respected. So NVC will be viewed as part of a peace process in progress, an underlying foundation for the practice of compassionate relationships, a culture of peace in our communities with a growing paradigm shift towards NVC consciousness and awareness in the crucible of daily life.

Spirit of Peace is the name of this newsletter as well as my website www.spiritofpeace.info (under construction)where you will find information and links to relevant sites supporting the clarion call for an active culture of peace and non-violence within our global communities. The website is where newsletters will be archived, so if you wish to find a past reference or look back on any of your contributions, this is where you will go to retrieve it.

Who or what is the Spirit of Peace? In the Ageless Wisdom tradition and teachings, “the Spirit of Peace is not an abstract concept but a potent Individual....a mysterious and Divine Entity....Whose influence played through the Prince of Peace. The Spirit of Peace is hovering close to humanity, seeking opportunity to make His Presence felt.....when the right time comes, He will vitalise the responsiveness of humanity....bringing peace on Earth.”

What is Peace in the crucible of daily life? I believe it is the essence of living in compassionate relationship with oneself and one another and all the kingdoms of nature. It is the manifest expression of synthetic rapport; an awareness of the common good with resultant action, cooperation and altruistic service. Peace will not be given us without our collective efforts. With human hands and human feet will the new world be built. At this most critical time in humanity's history, we are called upon to play our part, through cooperation and sharing, unity and humanhood. The time for action is now!

We the People, will raise ourselves above the chaos and conflict, joining hands and empowering one another and all the kingdoms of nature in our custodial care. People Power and People Speak is on the rise. United in solidarity, no corrupt government on Earth can withstand the will of the People. The future of Planet Earth is in our hands. We will take action to turn the tide of hate into the tide of love, to share the earth's bounty and to end the scourge of poverty and war. To stand for justice, freedom and the liberation of the human spirit, and to speak peace in a world of conflict. In Aotearoa, we say, Kia Kaha! Be Strong! Stand Tall! A world without war is possible. A Planet of Peace is inevitable. We the People of the World will build it now!

Let the Spirit of Peace be spread abroad. Let there be peace on Earth and goodwill toward all Creation.


A Culture of Peace and the Spiritual Essence
of Nonviolent Communication (NVC)


Dr Marshall Rosenberg founder of NVC

A little over a year ago, I discovered the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) website on the Internet and paused to explore, read and absorb the information. As I read about the founder, Dr Marshall Rosenberg and the NVC model of education with it's potential for deep connection on every level of human relationships, my eyes filled with tears and I was hooked!

My immediate thought was of the profound spiritual nature of NVC.
I reflected that for centuries, spiritual teachers and sages have endeavoured to teach the foundation cornerstone of peaceful living - Love one another and Love thy neighbour as thyself - but how utterly difficult has been the practice of manifesting that inter-connectedness in our daily lives, throughout our local, national and international communities; to the extent that we have become so disconnected from one another in the fundamental culture of language and communication. Consequently, we now face one of the most violent and critically dangerous times in human history. But here at last was a man who had developed an amazingly successful model of compassionate communication and a process of simplicity in learning to speak the language of love and peace.

Reflecting over the past year with my work in education and peace activities, and my own personal struggle to become immersed in this new language of love, NVC speaks to me as a process towards authentic living, an active energy for a Culture of Peace, a spiritual practice that calls forth the profound nature of the soul's compassionate qualities and the seven dimensions of the higher intelligence of the heart - unity, love, life, respect, honesty, justice, and kindness. It is the language of the heart par excellence when liberated from the domination culture to which we have been enslaved for centuries.

To my understanding, in a nutshell, developing an NVC consciousness or awareness is to see no enemy images or to dehumanise people, to observe without evaluating through judgement or criticism, to view with innocent perception, to be alive in the present moment, to express universal feelings and needs with honesty, to empathise with growing understanding the manifold tragic expressions of unmet needs, to make clear requests for actions which enrich our lives, to give love unconditionally to oneself and others while embracing our incompleteness and all our imperfections, and to recognise and revere the Divine Essence in all of creation.

In summary, NVC is a celebration of life, transcending limitations of dogma and the separativeness of religion, race, creed, and colour. It is the universal language of soul connection where we are One under the Sun, emanating from the One Life, the Divine Essence which unites us all; for me, that is true spiritual practice, serving life consciously in joyful contribution and creating a Culture of Peace moment to moment.

Thank you Dr Marshall Rosenberg for your spiritual gift to the planet and your tireless contribution to a global Culture of Peace through Nonviolent Communication, the Language of Life. It continues to meet my deep need for inspiration, purpose, compassion and peaceful co-existence.

"Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly
eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the
pursuit of peace, the pursuit must go on."

                                                                                John F Kennedy, past US President
 

  • Visit the Center for Nonviolent Communication:   www.cnvc.org

The Rise and Rise of NVC in Aotearoa

Sura Hart from the USA
in Nelson, NZ


Sura Hart in action at the Montessori Education and Peace Conference, Nelson Aotearoa/NZ
 

Sura Hart is an internationally recognised NVC certified trainer, and worldwide leader in the incorporation of the NVC process in parenting and schools. She designs and facilitates trainings for students, parents, teachers, and school administrators around the globe. Sura has worked with at-risk youth, creating and delivering programmes on leadership, effective communication and healthy sexuality. She serves as the contact person for the Center for Nonviolent Communication's efforts to integrate NVC in US schools.

Sura's 23 April NVC workshop in Nelson, NZ was part of the Montessori Conference 2006 - Education and Peace: The Language of Connection. Armed with flyers for Linda Rysenbry's NVC workshop in June, I flew to Nelson and joined an amiable bunch of 200+ Montessori teachers abuzz with conference camaraderie. Sura's “Speaking Peace: a nonviolent communication workshop" was attended by approximately 100 enthusiasts in the morning session and around 50 in the afternoon, mostly new to NVC.

Sura incorporated a lively mix of teaching, roleplays and exercises which were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Her gentle flowing style and seamless connections, using much loved giraffe and jackal hand puppets, evoked humour and laughter. She shared how the practice of NVC in classrooms and in families creates safety, trust and mutual respect, encourages authenticity, inspires voluntary cooperation, fosters responsibility and nurtures compassion. She compared the new NVC consciousness to learning martial art, given it's seeming simplicity yet profound nature, difficult to practice and master. So we've coined a new NVC phrase Marshall Art in Wellington.

Sura graciously allowed me to distribute NVC flyers for Linda Rysenbry's June Foundation Training in Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington. I was delighted to purchase a personally signed copy of Sura's excellent book, co-authored with Victoria Kindle Hodson, “The Compassionate Classroom" and a mailing list of Montessori teachers keen on more NVC follow-up.

Thank you Sura Hart for a lively fun workshop and sharing with us your heart warming NVC experiences. It met my need for connection and participation in the wider NVC community. Thank you Montessori Association of NZ and Ana Pickering for organising a hugely successful Conference.


Threats to Peace and Disarmament Convention
Meiji Stewart & PuddleDancer


Bob Rigg Chairman
of NCCD

The National Consultative Committee on Disarmament (NCCD) organisation is based in Wellington with Chairman Bob Rigg at the helm. He was formerly with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. Bob and his colleagues are tireless workers for nuclear disarmament both in Aotearoa/NZ and globally.

NCCD organised an International Convention “Threats to Peace and Disarmament” on 13 and 14 May, attended by respected peace activists/speakers from NZ, Australia, Brazil, Japan and NZ Members of Parliament. The Convention was preceded by a hugely successful Rock Concert for a Celebration of Peace in which Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, who is also President of International Mayors for Peace, made a brief appearance to address the peace concert enthusiasts.

The urgency and importance of work undertaken by groups like NCCD is something to be aware of and given support to. I became part of the sub-committee to help distribute information and advertising for the Convention. I mentioned to Bob my involvement in Nonviolent Communication and it would meet my need for contribution, connection and community to give an Introductory workshop on Speak Peace in a World of Conflict. However, chances were slim as the workshop schedule on disarmament, was already set - but nothing ventured nothing gained! Bob mulled over it and less than two weeks before the Convention he affirmed my workshop placement for a two hour Speak Peace presentation!

Needless to say, I was very happy to accept, but time was of the essence. My brain kicked into gear. How was I going to make the most of this Godsend opportunity to spread the language of peace through NVC and to get information into the hands of participating politicians, activists and influential decision-makers.

I emailed Meiji Stewart at PuddleDancer Press, told him my story and how urgent it was to send me copies of Speak Peace in a World of Conflict. Could he manage an air shipment from the USA to New Zealand within a week? Wow! Talk about super efficiency! Meiji wasted no time. He and his colleagues, Neil Gibson and Amber McKown swung into action with emails flying to and from the USA to NZ.

Within a matter of days, the books were dispatched! I envisioned their timely and safe arrival. The day before the Convention, I awoke to find a box of 42 Speak Peace books on my doorstep - how incredible! I did a (graceful) giraffe dance, whooped and sang with delight. Thank you so much for the amazing teamwork Meiji Stewart and colleagues at PuddleDancer. Your willing efforts to meet a seemingly impossible timeline, your joyous generosity and your heartfelt contribution to Speak Peace in Aotearoa/NZ, truly met my need for connection, cooperation and contribution in time and space. I send to you all again a big sunny smile :) a double hug hug OO and a triple xxx

Thank you Bob Rigg and members of NCCD for giving me the opportunity to join in the workshops and for your generous spirit of goodwill to those of us working alongside you towards a Culture of Peace.

Please visit the NCCD website to read some of the papers and reports given at the Convention.

The following photos with captions of Speak Peace in action :)


Sergio Duarte, Brazil's Ambassador-at-large for global Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation

 

Sir Paul Reeves, former Governor-General of Aotearoa/NZ


Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima and President of International Mayors for Peace in 1403 cities in 119 countries

Hon. Phil Goff, Minister for Disarmament and an extra copy of Speak Peace to pass on to NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark

Douglas Wilson, member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Wellington
 

John Hallam of Australia Friends of the Earth and nuclear weapons campaigner
 

Dr Bill Williams, Vice President of Medical Assn for Prevention of War Australia (MAPW)
 

Dr Sue Wareham, former President of Medical Assn for Prevention of War Australia (MAPW)

Hon. Marion Hobbs Labour Party MP and former NZ Minister for Disarmament
 

Keith Lock, senior MP of the NZ Green Party & active MP in Disarmament, Peace & the environment

Rod Alley, retired university professor and nephew of Rewi Alley, NZ's famous son in China


Alyn Ware, Global co-ordinator for Parliamentary NetworkND (PNND) given a Speak Peace book but my camera blipped & I had to pinch this lovely photo


“Speak Peace in a World of Conflict”
a two-hour Powerpoint Presentation (created by Michael Hyndman & Sophia La Toa)

Our two hour powerpoint presentation at the Threats to Peace and Disarmament Convention was well received with a captive audience, a few book sales of Speak Peace in a World of Conflict and general interest in future workshops and practice groups.

All information given on the powerpoint presentation was based on Dr Marshall Rosenberg's NVC books and videos and the Centre for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) website. Group exercises were also sourced from Lucy Leu's Companion workbook. In summary the presentation included the following:

* Introduces Dr Marshall Rosenberg, founder of NVC, recounting his experience of pioneering the NVC process and education

* The NVC Global presence and Projects

* People's Testimonies of NVC (from BayNVC video clips)

* NVC Consciousness and Spirituality

* NVC and the Heart of Social Change

* NVC Model and Process

* The Four Components of the NVC Model: Observations, Feelings, Needs & Requests

* Group exercises and practice

In between film frames, I sang two songs on my guitar “See Me Beautiful” and “Given To” as a musical summary of the lyrics which capture the essence of NVC.

At the time we were putting our presentation together, I'd just been notified about BayNVC's video of people's testimonies on the power of NVC to change and enrich their lives. It was perfect to incorporate part of the video clip into our powerpoint. Many thanks to BayNVC for a wonderful video resource - it met our need for support and community networking in sharing valuable resources.


United Nations Association of NZ (UNANZ)
Te Ropu Whakakotahi Whenua o Aotearoa


United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan in a wide eyed hongi, a traditional Maori greeting, Aotearoa/NZ

You will be aware of the complexities of the global work faced by the United Nations, so astronomical is it's outreach in all spheres of the human and global condition. Suffice for me to say, the United Nations, in all it's founding glory in 1945, for the betterment of humanity and the natural environment, continues to be the hope of the world. The complexity of balancing agendas and outcomes of it's 192 member states is a Herculean task of monumental proportions. The UN's frustrations to achieve more in alleviating the suffering of millions, mitigating extreme poverty and helping prevent conflict and war, is hindered by the chronic lack of funding and the stranglehold of the 5 permanent member states of the Security Council viz China, France, Russian Federation, UK and USA who have the power of veto. Often, their destructive self-interests, and the unilateralism of the US government, directly affect the people of the world, for better or for worse, compromising the role of the UN and it's successive Secretary-Generals to serve more effectively.

The incumbent Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said; "We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. Unless all these causes are advanced, none will succeed. In this new millennium, the work of the United Nations must move our world closer to the day when all people have the freedom to choose the kind of lives they would like to live, the access to the resources that would make those choices meaningful and the security to ensure that they can be enjoyed in peace. States, however, cannot do the job alone. We need an active civil society and a dynamic private sector."

United Nations Association New Zealand (UNANZ) was founded in 1946 and is formally associated with the UN Department of Public Information. It is a non-government organisation (NGO) and an approved charity made up of volunteers from civil society. It supports the ideals embodied in the UN Charter and the crucial role of the U.N. at the centre of multilateral cooperation to promote peace and security, development and human rights for all and thus work towards In Larger Freedom: The Freedom from Want, The Freedom from Fear, The Freedom to Live in Dignity and Strengthening the United Nations.

UNANZ is administered from a National Office in Wellington and has 8 branches in Rodney, Northern, Waikato, Tauranga, Wanganui, Wellington , Canterbury and Dunedin . It is a member of The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) which provides links with other United Nations Associations (UNAs) throughout the world and with the United Nations itself.

I serve on the Wellington branch committee and our current focus is working together with others to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, global security, and United Nations renewal. We work with other NGOs such as the National Consultative Committee on Disarmament (NCCD), and coalitions such as Aotearoa/NZ Make Poverty History Coalition, to access the UN and promote common causes.

UNANZ helps inform, interest and involve people about the activities of the United Nations and its agencies, New Zealand 's involvement, and membership contributions. We endeavour to promote and establish new branches, increase our membership base and welcome new members and participation from anyone who would like to contribute towards our aims, whatever level of interests and skills they may have to offer.

The Annual Conference and AGM on 19 & 20 May in Wellington, was organised by UNYANZ the Youth branch for 13 - 24 year olds. It included invited speakers, forums and UN related activities, followed by the AGM with reports from branches and the national President. One highlight of the Conference was the national speech awards on "Climate Change/Global Warming: A Challenge to the United Nations” which challenges high school students to research and present a 5-8 minute speech on broad global issues in the context of the United Nations. They varied from comedic to more serious deliveries, all well researched and won by Pramudie Gunaratne from Epsom Girls' Grammar School, Auckland. Pramudie concluded her winning speech with the beautiful wisdom of the Cree Indian Prophecy - Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

Between and betwixt profound discussions and dialogue, I continued to Speak Peace to members. Among them were two lovely ladies whose related works are renowned and accordingly awarded distinctions of merit and titles under the old British Empire system of knighthoods, ladyhoods and damehoods. Aotearoa/NZ is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations and has inherited its system of rewards and merits for outstanding citizen achievements.

Lady Rhyl Jansen
World President of the World Federation of United Nations Associations and past President of UNANZ. A small town Maori wahine from rural Aotearoa who aspired to make a difference in the life of others. Lady Rhyl encourages young people to realise their full potential for greatness and is an excellent role model for young women and Maoridom. Despite her fame and associations with world dignitaries, Lady Rhyl refers fondly to her humble beginnings in a small Maori community, and simply says "If I can do it, you can do it!"

Dame Laurie Salas
Former UNANZ President and Vice President of the World Federation of United Nations Associations and an Honorary Life Member. Dame Laurie is well known to all as one who has given generously of her time, energy and talents to the cause of Peace and Disarmament. My own experience of Dame Laurie is of her inclusive attitude and goodwill toward all people, her warm and sincere personality and honest approach, which endear her to many friends and colleagues. Her valuable life-long experience with the United Nations and peace activities are well respected and her thoughtful wisdom is duly honoured.

I believe the future of the United Nations will be determined by We the People of the World. I envisage it's founding ideals will be restored as we awake from our slumber and take action to ensure our future survival. If we act boldly - and if we act together - we can make people more prosperous and better able to enjoy their fundamental human rights. Solidarity and common purpose will strengthen and renew the vital role of the United Nations as the hope of the world. We have no other choice!
Join UNANZ today, start a new branch or run for UN Secretary-General :)

"It is for the world community to decide whether this moment of uncertainty presages wider conflict, deepening inequality and the erosion of The Rule of Law, or is used to renew institutions for peace, prosperity and human rights. Now is the time to act.....Action is possible. It is within reach. From pragmatic beginnings could emerge a visionary change for the direction of the world." Kofi Annan


Lady Rhyl Jansen, World President of WFUNA making a difference to the lives of We the People

Dame Laurie Salas former UNANZ President & Vice President of WFUNA & honorary Life Member

Dr Gray Southon, National Executive & Special Officer for UN Reform. Research & Report writer extraordinaire


Dame Laurie with Pramudie Gunaratne, winner of the high school speech Awards on Climate Change


Toward a Culture of Peace and Non-violence
Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace


Banner of Peace

Across the globe, the clarion call for love and peace is resounding from the four corners of the earth. It is sounded by the Mother of the World and the devic kingdom through the five elements of the ecosystems; earth, water, wind, fire and whispered in the ethers. The Soul of Humanity, for so long asleep in fearful ignorance, has finally come of age, hearing the call from the Mother of the World to save itself and the kingdoms of nature. It is stepping forth from the shadows, loosening the shackles of bondage from centuries of enslavement to a culture of domination. It's human hands and human feet are freed for the monumental task of restoring the planet and the long journey home to Freedom. As the Soul of Humanity rediscovers it's soul voice, it will see more clearly it's innate power to liberate itself and the sub-human kingdoms. No longer will it live in the illusion of fear and separation for it will travel the path less trodden and see it's reflection in the face of the Creator.

The struggle of the Soul of Humanity is witnessed most poignantly on the world stage of the American political divide where the repetitious black news of US political hegemony and the Bush Administration's road to destruction, is the shame of the human race. Suffice to say millions of ordinary American citizens have been shocked, dismayed and enraged at the blatant erosion of civil liberties both within and without the land of the Star Spangled banner, from the hallowed chambers of the United Nations, to the usurpation of sovereign states, to the genocide of collateral damage, weapons of mass destruction and destabilisation of political, economic and social orders, and the flouting of the Christian Bible as a divine right to justify the bloodshed on the war on terrorism in the name of Pax Americana!

I view this as the shadow side of the giant American personality, coming to grips with it's battle from the thralldom of materialistic domination as a Superpower on the involutionary path. It hears the death knell of it's waning power, and as a wounded dying beast struggles for survival devouring all before it in the final death throes, so will the shadow side of the American personality, played through it's successive governments and corporations, die a timely death and release the true Soul of Humanity and it's People in this great nation! A new day will dawn for America and for the world! There is deep symbolism aloft the Statue of Liberty!


USA Congressman Dennis Kucinich, initiator for global Ministries and Depts of Peace
 

Fortunately for the human race, there will always be people who have not forgotten their purpose to further the Divine Plan and to nurture the Soul of Humanity on it's evolutionary journey, for it has never been lost, only clouded by our blindness to truly see our innate divinity as sparks of the Divine Essence. In America , there are many such people actively involved for the greater good; among them Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He has advocated the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Peace, to make non-violence an organising principle within society. He believes that peace, not war, is inevitable, if we are willing to work for peace. He sees the world as being interconnected and interdependent. This vision always strives to find the commonalities, the points where unity can be formed. His book A Prayer for America is a collection of his essays and speeches representing his holistic worldview.

He believes the United States can best lead the way through full support of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention; joining the International Criminal Court, signing the Landmine Treaty and the Small Arms Treaty. As America rejoins the world in full support of principles of international law, it will help build the cause of human unity.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich's patient endeavours to build a vision for a US Department of Peace over recent years, has encouraged other nations to do the same. This has now culminated into The Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. It has become part of a spreading worldwide community actively involved in researching, teaching, and putting into practice principles and methods of peace-building and conflict transformation. The Global Alliance is at the beginning of a new, expanding movement throughout the world for governments to organise around principles of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence.

Alyn Ware and Kate Smith, Wanganui UNA President, attended the Second People's Summit for Ministries and Depts of Peace in Victoria, BC Canada on 19-22 June 2006. They were joined by other delegates from 19 countries . It was agreed on at the end of the Summit that the Global Alliance for the Ministries and Depts of Peace will help support and guide national campaigns in as many countries as possible. The Third People's Summit will be held in Japan in 2007.

In Aotearoa/NZ, we have also heeded the call and a month before the Second People's Summit, on 25 May, a forum was organised by the Wellington UNANZ branch to discuss the possibility of a NZ Ministry of Peace. I was one of three people invited from the UNANZ group to speak at the forum which included Dame Laurie Salas and Alyn Ware, a tireless advocate for peace from the Peace Foundation, Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament (PNND) and International Association of Lawyers for Nuclear Disarmament. Dame Laurie presented a paper on behalf of Gita Brooke from Wanganui, another tireless worker for Peace. Gita and Anthony Brooke founded the Operation Peace Through Unity, an NGO and global movement for Peace.

My address for Peace was entitled Initiative for a NZ Ministry of Peace. It was part of a speech I had already delivered in December 2004 to several hundred people at the Be What You Are Festival for Peace, complete with poetry. You can read my speech here.


Gregory Fortuin former
South African Honorary Consul to NZ & former NZ Race Relations Conciliator

 

One of our distinguished guests at the forum was Gregory Fortuin. He was born in South Africa and has had business and political experience there and in Australia and New Zealand. In 1998 he was appointed by Nelson Mandela as Honorary Consul to New Zealand. From April 2001 to October 2002 he was New Zealand 's Race Relations Conciliator.

I just happened to have another Speak Peace book in my bag, which I had occasion to show participants at the forum when the question of the quest for non-violence in our societies was asked. I put a copy into the hands of Mr Fortuin who was very happy to receive it .

How do others view the Speak Peace book? Dr Dot Maver is a keen advocate for a US Department of Peace and is the Executive Director of the Peace Alliance educating for a Culture of Peace. She wrote the foreword to the book, a part of which says….”Speak Peace is so much more than a self-help book. You will come away from this book knowing how to participate effectively in personal, social, political, and global change. This book is excellent and so needed at this juncture in our evolution. Peace begins with each one of us. Thank you, Marshall Rosenberg for a significant contribution to building a Culture of Peace.”

Given that Love is the substance of the universe and all creation, and Love conquers all, a Culture of Peace and Love, based on the divine principles of sharing and justice, is inevitable. We the People of the World will create it, embodying those divine principles within our founding vision for our global Departments and Ministries of Peace.
 

“Sharing and Justice, Brotherhood and Freedom are not new concepts.
From the dawn of time mankind has linked his aspiration to these beckoning stars.
Now, my friends, shall we anchor them in the world.”

                                                                     
                                                                          Maitreya, The World Teacher.

 


Jean Morrison from the USA
in Wellington, NZ


Jean Morrison working hard and having fun
at the first Wellington NVC Introductory Workshop at one of two venues

 

Just when I thought there was some respite from Peace activities, I received an email from Jean Morrison in the USA to say she would be in Wellington from 28 May to 2 June. She would be staying in a plush hotel for a few days then grace my humble digs for the remainder.

Jean has worked in areas of health, education, business, and criminal justice since 1985; with individuals, families, and groups who want more satisfying relationships and harmonious interactions. She is a facilitator, communications coach, and mediator and is involved in a variety of settings for her work and projects: from San Quentin prison to in-home family communication support. Jean has been a Nonviolent Communications Certified Trainer since 1989 and a close colleague and friend of Sura Hart. She works with Family ROI which is dedicated to helping healthy families grow stronger.

Jean's visit was sponsored by the NZ Families Commission where she was invited to share her considerable skills in Nonviolent Communication. She was also keen to share them with the wider community, so I arranged two evening workshops on consecutive days at very short notice where I appealed to the community to come and support this fantastic NVC opportunity. They were well attended with a total of nearly 70 people for both nights, with a few people attending both sessions.

It was wonderful to watch Jean in action. She was a vibrant energetic facilitator with a great sense of fun and humour. There was much laughter and enjoyment from those who attended. Audience participation, questions and answers and new innovative ways for application of NVC skills were all shared by Jean's dynamic approach. She used and showed us some great NVC resources. We managed to capture Jean on video with her permission, as a future resource for training and group practice.

Other groups were also keen to benefit from Jean's skills, and she was snapped up by the Wellington Ending Abuse and Violence (WEAV) group for a staff workshop, who continue to look at NVC as the best possible way forward for staff training and community education. Four of their staff members will attend Ron Ngata's Speak Peace Wellington workshop in late August. Saffron Gardner, WEAV Manager, is a keen advocate of NVC and part of our small practice group. Jean was also requested to speak at the Wa Ora Montessori School as an introduction of NVC to the teaching staff. So she was kept busy and energised by all the contact with the various communities.

In between, Jean was wined and dined by our small practice group of NVCers, tiki toured fast paced around the city, strutted her stuff around an alternative clothing store, whipped around Art shops and arcades, shunted up the cable car to the Botanical Gardens to visit the Peace Flame Garden forging links with Wellington and Hiroshima, and worn out by the time she returned home. But it was all good fun!

From Wellington, Jean sailed the Cook Strait to Nelson and Golden Bay where she gave a couple more NVC workshops before returning to the USA .

Thank you so much for gracing us with your presence Jean and your warm, sunny, fun-ny personality. We greatly enjoyed your workshops. The NVC community still talk about it and ask when you will return to Wellington. I think you have a bit of a fan base here! Thank you for meeting our collective need for humour, connection and community. You will not be easily forgotten. Come back sooooon. :-)


Jean at the Peace Flame Garden behind a block of stone from the city of Hiroshima


Jean having dress-up fun in kooky
trousers-turned-jacket at a kooky
clothes store in a kooky street


Jean being snapped snapping a snap of the snappy tiles of kowhai flowers in a snappy walkway


Linda Rysenbry from Sydney Australia
in Wellington, NZ


Linda Rysenbry from Sydney Australia
 

From the USA to Australia, we just kept those trainers coming to our fair Aotearoa shores, and on 17 & 18 June, Linda Rysenbry from Sydney Australia, arrived in Wellington to give a Foundation Training workshop. Linda had just completed a two week leg of her NZ journey, giving workshops in Auckland with Bonny Brown and in New Plymouth with Susie Spiller. Both workshops were very well attended.

Linda's Wellington Foundation Training workshop had been booked out by mid-May with a maximum of 25 and a squeeze to fit in one or two desperate people while referring others to Auckland and New Plymouth. I spent hours organising, chasing up payments and corresponding by email as I received many enquiries. We had a big booking from 12 Montessori teachers, no doubt from enthusiasm carried over from Sura Hart's workshop in Nelson, and flyers I had distributed there – how great is the connectedness of NVC!

Linda Rysenbry is a certified NVC Trainer and has had more than 20 years in organisations leading and coaching, combined with therapeutic practice. She has a deep respect for the intimate mystery within each of us. She holds a special focus on bringing radical honesty and empathy into intimate relationships and leadership. Linda has been active with NVC since 2002. She shares NVC in open trainings and in-house trainings and through her private NVC based coaching practice for individuals, leaders and couples.

The workshop went extremely well with a diverse group of individuals. Linda's style was gentle, thoughtful, focused and well organised. She bounced NVC principles onto flipcharts with shared input, role played with giraffes and jackals, giraffe danced with a four-step model, and practiced 3-way group empathy sessions with an empathiser/empathee and neutral observer. In group discussions we shared what was alive in us and in our extended lives with partners, families and colleagues. I find these sessions extremely moving and a stray tear rolls by while listening to and sharing another's hurt and pain. NVC is a healing balm applied to our collective wounds with some hope and relief in future for a better quality of life within our relationships.

After consultation with workshop participants and Linda's approval, parts of the workshop was video-taped. The camcorder focused directly on Linda away from participants. Linda is working on editing and developing it perhaps as a future resource for those who may find it useful individually or in practice groups.

Thank you Linda for your wonderful contribution to the life of our NVC communities in Aotearoa. Your gentle flowing style and inter-active teaching of NVC was greatly appreciated by us all. We hope you will continue to sail across the Tasman and share again your creative style with kiwi friends in Aotearoa. Thank you for meeting our collective need for learning, participation and community.

Dorset Campbell-Ross from Byron Bay Australia
(acknowledgement)

First ever Wellington NVC Foundation Training 18 & 19 June 2005


Dorset Campbell-Ross from Byron Bay Australia
 

Dorset Campbell-Ross has been a counsellor, lecturer and seminar leader since 1992, specialising in communication skills. A Certified Trainer with the Centre for Nonviolent Communication, and an NLP Master Practitioner, he has conducted business and personal relationship trainings in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Greece, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. He has mediated between groups of people in conflict in Ireland and Australia. Using audio visual aids, puppets, singing songs and playing guitar, Dorset's trainings are engaging, entertaining, humorous, interactive, and experiential. He specialises in creating a safe and supportive learning environment. Living in Byron Bay, Australia, he has trained more than 500 people in NVC, established ongoing practice groups, and has a private practice mediating and coaching individuals, couples and families in NVC.

On first discovering NVC just over a year ago, I couldn't find a NZ website for local information, but found Dorset on Australia's website. He was thinking about a NZ holiday and a few workshops, so I became the contact person to help organise the first ever Wellington NVC Foundation Training with Dorset!! There were only 10 participants but enough to form a seed group of 5 people for ongoing practice. A year on, it's unbelievable how NVC has exploded in Wellington and continuing to gain momentum. The enthusiasm generated is heart-warming and affirming of the magic of NVC.

Dorset is a very experienced trainer and the quality of his workshop was testimony to that. His style embodied the principles at the heart of NVC and though we were really green around the ears, the simplicity of his methodology, well prepared notes and handouts gave us the basics to participate with enjoyment. It was a small group and we were able to have Dorset 's undivided attention and focus. There were some fun exercises where we interchanged wearing giraffe ears (compassionate) and jackal ears (critical), turning our giraffe ears in for self-empathy and out for other-empathy, or our jackal ears in for self-criticism and out for other-criticism. That was hard work! We ended the session with a humorous giraffe dance and realised how our observations, feelings and needs are constantly in motion – dancing literally in and out of our monkey minds! Finding clarity in making clear requests wasn't easy either, until we acknowledged our feelings and needs.

It was coincidental that Linda's 2006 training in Wellington was exactly a year to the day after Dorset's training. Those of us who attended that first ever Wellington Foundation Training will remember it with gratitude and great pleasure. Thank you Dorset for meeting our group need for inclusion, belonging, and growth. We look forward to your return to Aotearoa and your quality fun delivery of NVC.

Thank you to the Australian NVC Community

Here's a chance to say thank you to our Australian brothers and sisters who have happily assisted the fledgling NVC movement in Aotearoa/NZ. I am very grateful for your gracious presence and facilitation skills. Thank you also to those who maintain an ongoing connection to the wider community through individual dialogue, information sharing and general networking. We anticipate with pleasure our continuing connection in meeting our collective need for mutuality, cooperation and support in the Asia-South Pacific Region.

What's Hot In Australia Right Now?

Regional Gathering 8th Sept to 14th Sept - Maleny Queensland

The intention for this gathering is to bring together NVC community from not only around Australia , but around the Asia Pacific region to share what we are each doing with NVC and to offer support whilst living in NVC community. We are imagining there will be trainings offered by anyone wanting to offer them (certified trainers or not), and the opportunity to make requests for trainings you would like to attend (the format will be loosely based on Open Space Technology).

The event has been inspired by Liz Gay (Singapore), Cate Crombie (Qld), Dorset Campbell-Ross
(Byron Bay) and Shari Macree (Sydney).

We have delegates coming from as far away as Sri Lanka , New Zealand , and Western Australia . We are hoping to make this an annual event and look forward to see many familiar faces there!

GET YOUR SKATES ON AND FLY ON OVER OR DOWN UNDER FOR LOTSA FUN IN THE OZZY SUN!

For more information or to register go to www.nvcinbusiness.com/Regional.htm
 

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NZ International Intensive Training (NZIIT) Hamilton
with Dr Marshall Rosenberg


Celebrating the joy of NVC with Marshall, Valentina, Michael, and Sophia.
 

In recalling and documenting my experiences of NVC's rise and rise in Aotearoa/NZ in the recent past, it would be amiss for me not to include a little write-up on our first NZ International Intensive Training on 24 November to 3 December 2005.

The excitement and anticipation of attending a 9-day NVC Community Retreat, facilitated by Dr Marshall Rosenberg and assisted by Valentina, his beautiful Mexican partner, would be the highlight of the year for any aspiring NVCer.

Three from our NVC seed group in Wellington decided we simply couldn't miss it and travelled the 8 hours by bus to Hamilton. The NZIIT was held at Houchen Retreat House, the dream of a small group of women who envisioned a peaceful setting for spiritual renewal. It is set amongst five acres of gardens, complete with a labyrinth and flaming torches for night time walks. A labyrinth is a sacred pathway, walked as a pilgrimage, and found in religious traditions in various forms around the world.


Ron Ngata in soul full action with gifts, waiatas and korero
 

An International Intensive Training (IIT) is a prestigious event and a major occasion for any NVC community. The NZIIT was organised months ahead by the conscientious and collaborative efforts of Ron Ngata and his partner, Libby Boone of Hamilton. I can only imagine the care and precision it must take to organise such a huge 9-day live-in retreat to ensure the diverse needs of all the group are met.

Ron and Libby rose to the challenge, and my recollection of their fun humour, approachability and warmth throughout the NZIIT, was a source of gratitude and deep respect for their organising ability and heartfelt support for the group, no matter how tired they were on occasions. Consequently, due in large part to their wonderful efforts, the NZIIT was a huge success and an unforgettable rewarding experience. Ron and Libby continue to work tirelessly for NVC in Aotearoa, giving workshops, disseminating information, assisting others nationally, and growing NVC resources.

Aside from Marshall and Valentina, there were 36 participants from as far away as Canada, USA/Hawaii and Australia, and 2 camera crew from Belgium who were devoted to the cause of NVC and hoping to spread it to the world through multi-media. With our permission they set up cameras around the room. At first we were a little self-conscious of them, but as days went by, they became part of the furniture.

We began each day with Rememberance, in which participants were invited to contribute something of value and meaning to themselves, and share it with the group. I took the opportunity to talk about Departments and Ministries of Peace as part of social change and a Culture of Peace. We concluded each day with Celebration and Mourning of what we received in gratitude or sadness for the day.

The major part of the day was divided into three training sessions, within the broad parameters of Developing Life-Enriching Consciousness & Language, Creating and Maintaining Life-Enriching Relationships and Contributing to Life-Enriching Social Change, Leadership and Education.

Overall for me, the spirit of NZIIT was captured in the sharing and deep empathy sessions given by Marshall and assisted by Valentina. It was reflective of a trusting community celebrating together the magic and power of NVC. The Empathy and Healing sessions were incredibly compassionate as Marshall, often taking the role of the person "inflicting" the pain, listened to and reflected back the feelings and needs behind the pain of the participant, with Valentina using her healing hands in energy work over their subtle energy centres. We watched, listened, learned and wept as we shared our collective pain from so many tragic expressions of unmet needs. The energy in the room was palpable as painful emotions, imprisoned for so long, were released to be shared, given empathy and began the process of healing. My eyes were tired from tearfulness and my evenings were spent in silent meditation, reflecting on the day's events and recharging my spiritual batteries for the next day.

In Rememberance, I will never forget my IIT experience within the safety of a trusting community, the deep connectivity, sharing, empathy and the way forward with the magic of NVC.

In Celebration and Mourning, our final day was an amazing gift of exchange and one of the most moving farewells I have witnessed. Ron had graced us with the love of his native culture and Maoritanga during the IIT with a couple of waiatas (songs) and korero (language). On behalf of the IIT group, he gifted Marshall and Valentina with books on Aotearoa and a sacred pounamu each. In Maori custom, to gift one with pounamu (greenstone) is a token of lasting love and respect. Ron cradled each sacred pounamu in his hands and passed by each participant who touched or kissed it with their love and blessing. Then it was presented to a tearful Marshall and Valentina who accepted humbly each gift. All the while, a Maori waiata was sung repeatedly by the group amid tears and smiles... Te Aroha, (Love), Te Whakapono, (Truth) Te Rangimarie, (and Peace) Tatau Tatau E (Be with us all).

My deepest and sincere gratitude to Marshall and Valentina Rosenberg for their compassionate gift of NVC in action, Ron Ngata and Libby Boone for their great executive abilities and warm humorous touch, and to all my brothers and sisters at the NZIIT who shared their authentic selves as far as they were able to at this soulful gathering of NVCers. I believe that together we met our deep collective need for celebration, integrity, interdependence, and spiritual communion. Kia Kaha!


Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament CND


Members of CND, Mike, Joan, (holding a
lighted candle) Catherine and their
regular Peace flame vigil outside the
Wellington Cenotaph War Memorial to
fallen soldiers.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is based in Wellington, meeting together at the Peace Movement Aotearoa offices at the infamous Trade Hall in Vivian Street . Membership over recent years has fluctuated to such an extent, it has become necessary to regroup and reform. It is a grassroots movement and has valuable resources and information for educating the public on the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. It is a group for our time and merits wide support from all sectors of the community, whether you join as an active member or as a financial benefactor to further CND's work of public education and awareness on nuclear disarmament.

CND has been active in Aotearoa/NZ for over 40 years formed in 1959, one year after its counterpart, CND UK, which is as strong and active as ever. Information sharing and education of the general public about the horrors of nuclear weapons and warfare cannot be stressed enough. The urgency more so now than ever before as we stand on the brink of the most dangerous times in human history of a possible nuclear holocaust. Today there are still enough nuclear weapons available to destroy the world ten times over.

CND is very active on the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of 6 & 9 August 1945, 61 years ago. They make white peace poppies, have street appeals and hand out leaflets with information on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings by the USA. One bomb was dropped on each of those cities in 1945, and in the first few days 250,000 people died. Those nearest where the bomb was dropped were vaporised by the intense heat. All that was left were their shadows on the ground.

Nuclear weapons can kill even when they are not used in war. Cancers were hardly known in the remote parts of Russia, the USA, the Pacific and China which were used for nuclear testing. Now hundreds of people in those regions die from cancer, and babies are born dead and with terrible deformities caused by radiation. These dangers are spoken widely about by Dr Helen Caldicott, a paediatrician and world expert on the effects of nuclear radiation. She has continued to work tirelessly for over thirty years educating people and writing books about the dangers of nuclear radiation, manufacture, disposal and warfare.

In Aotearoa/NZ there are committed individuals for the cause of nuclear disarmament and peace. Among them are Kate Dewes and Rob Green from Christchurch and Alyn Ware from Wellington. In tandem with the Peace Foundation which they founded, they have also grown into a specialised branch of education in adding a Disarmament and Security Centre. There is a Peace Foundation branch in Wellington, directed by Alyn Ware, who is also active on the UNANZ committee and travels the globe educating parliamentarians, government officials and organisations on nuclear disarmament and peace. Their Peace Foundation website is listed at the end of this article.

Another mover and shaker for peace is the hardworking Edwina Hughes who is coordinator for Peace Movement Aotearoa (PMA), the national networking peace organisation. PMA provides alternative viewpoints, news and resources for people interested in peace, social justice and human rights. Topics they work on include: armed conflict, the production and sale of weapons, military spending, globalisation and militarisation, and human rights abuses; the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous people's rights; suggestions for alternative ways of thinking and peaceful resolution conflict; information on opposing militarism and war, peace initiatives, and peaceful protest. PMA is committed to peaceful resolution of conflict and social change through non-violent means.

For those of us at the grassroots interested in increasing our nuclear knowledge, awareness and spreading the word to garner support for peace and disarmament, Larry Ross from Christchurch, veteran of 50 years experience on peace and nuclear issues, will begin his NZ Tour of the North and South Island from September to November 2006. He will talk about nuclear weapons, NZ's nuclear free stand and how we can develop NZ as a Peace Nation and it's peace-keeping role globally and in the South Pacific.

Please let Larry know if you would like to organise a talk in your area with him. The more people are aware of the inherent dangers of nuclear weapons, the more likely they will support public debates on the nuclear issue which I believe is the most urgent issue facing humanity today. We the People can make a difference but only if we become informed and proactive.
Take Action! Contact Larry at nuclearfreenz@lynx.co.nz and visit his listed website.

Nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately on an enormous scale, and their effects are not constrained by international frontiers. They would kill people in countries which have nothing to do with the conflict, but which border the warring states. They break humanitarian law, which says that weapons must be able to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. Nuclear weapons do not create a safer world. Their production and maintenance wastes vital resources, damages the environment, increases regional instabilities and their usage, God forbid, will annihilate the planet and all life forms into eternity!

CND believes that international nuclear disarmament can be brought about only by diplomacy and negotiation, not by military action. Strengthen CND by becoming a member or financial supporter or start another branch in your city! Please email me for more details and information.

Today more than ever let us
Remember Hiroshima! Remember Nagasaki! Remember Chernobyl!

WARS CONTINUE and so do PEACE MARCHES in WELLINGTON

From Iraq to Palestine, the insatiable war machine of US hegemony continues it's empire building behind the flags and banners, from the illegal war with Iraq to the current Israeli-led-US-backed bloody assault on Lebanon...Iran?...Syria?..Enough! is Enough! is Enough!
(This is my view & not necessarily of those individuals mentioned above)


"Let us together show the world:
that the need for war is past;
that the instinct of man is to live and to love;
that hatred is begotten of separation;
that the Law of God lives in man and is fundamental to his nature."
                                                                          
                                                 Maitreya, The World Teacher.
  


Wellington the Peace City?



Wellington's Peace Flame Garden includes a block of stone from the city of Hiroshima and a plaque with an extract from New Zealand poet Hone Tuwhare's powerful poem "This is no ordinary sun."

I feel happy to conclude this edition of the newsletter with a commentary on Wellington as a Peace City, given my ongoing dialogue on a Culture of Peace.

Wellington's Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, is a member of the International Network of Mayors for Peace and 2020 Vision for a nuclear free world by the year 2020. The Mayors for Peace is composed of cities around the world that have formally expressed support for the programme Mayor Araki of Hiroshima announced in 1982.

Current statistics show membership stands at 1,403 cities in 119 countries and regions and increasing daily. The President of International Mayors for Peace is Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima.

Wellington is in process of becoming a Peace City, with a well documented submission from it's supporters. Therefore, the promotion and growth of Nonviolent Communication as part of a Culture of Peace and compassionate communication is in alignment with the energies and ideals supportive of a Peace City.

To date, the submission put together by the Peace Foundation, with community consultation to grant Wellington Peace City status is still Under Action in the Council Chambers amidst dialogue and debate with councillors evenly split on the ayes and nayes. Supporters have been labelled “bleeding hearts” and we were sent some points of concern to clarify our submission, by the opposing councillors.

By now you would have been saturated with my views about a Culture of Peace. My commentary to support community efforts for Wellington's peace city status is documented below. I am very hopeful Wellington will be named a Peace City soooon:)

My Commentary in response to questions by opposing councillors

The International Mayors for Peace network, of which Kerry Prendergast is a member, should be actively supported by their local councillors who understand what Peace Cities mean. They need to take time to inform themselves of the growing support for the 2020 Vision of Mayors for Peace and Peace Cities, and the positive impact they may have on future world peace, town by town, city by city, nation by nation. Dramatic as it may sound, it may yet have long term implications on the future of global peace.

Will our Peace Keeping forces be compromised if the capital city is declared a peace city?

In what ways will the Peace Keeping forces be compromised? To seek peace does not mean avoiding conflict nor to ignore the obvious need for help and assistance when conflict arises. It is well known that NZ Peace Keeping forces prove themselves equal to the challenge of peacekeeping in war torn regions of the world, contributing to international security. In services to local communities abroad, they have also assisted in repatriating refugees, helping to educate villagers on hygiene and basic health care, teach sport to children and discuss how democracy works. When off duty, they help to rebuild schools, work in orphanages or play sport with local children. While at home and in the Pacific, they provide essential resources for disaster relief, search and rescue, epidemic control and national security.
These are vital services both nationally and internationally which contribute to the wellbeing of all communities. I believe the capital city being declared a peace city will not compromise the important role of the Peace Keeping forces both at home and abroad.

Peace isn't defined in the proposal, what is Peace?

To my understanding, Peace is essentially and above all, the establishing of right human relationships, in partnership with our living environment; of synthetic rapport with its resultant cooperation. Peace is the capacity to transform conflicts constructively and without violence; a continuous process. "Peace begins with me" is not just a sentimental feel good pacifist statement. It can potentially galvanise the call to action as we seek to build peace in our communities and nations. In the 21st century, our lives are spanning this turbulent time of a fundamental shift in attitudes and orientation to life with a deep intention to live in a more humane and peaceful world. It is time to live our full potential, and to create a Culture of Peace where our innate creativity will flourish.

"Where there is Peace, there is Culture. Where there is Culture there is Peace". Wellington stands proud as the cultural capital of Aotearoa. It's cultural diversity is not only reflected in it's multi-cultural communities, but also home to the Royal NZ Ballet and NZ Symphony Orchestra. Film, theatre, music, art and dance talent abound. It's beautiful ethnic festivals are welcomed and joyously attended by many. Wellington is home to cultural creatives - a capital city of which to be proud. Culture is the flourishing of the human spirit in it's highest form of expression with harmony, beauty and peace the outcome. Is it not fitting then to give our creative cultural capital Peace City status?    

This is just a warm and fuzzy idea with no real or practical outcomes

To the contrary - A Peace City
will not only give practical and moral support to the International Mayors for Peace and it's 2020 Vision but also build on the following:

* A nuclear free capital city - with the current unsettled political climate where nuclear energy discussions predominate and the uncertainty of government leaderships, we can reinforce our nuclear free stand and encourage other cities do the same in solidarity. We need only look to Australia and the Howard leadership now discussing future nuclear activity.

* Peace is much more than the absence of violence. It includes the concept of wholeness, well-being, the presence of right relationships and co-operation within our communities. A Peace City and a culture of peace will encourage peace education in homes, schools and work places.

* Peace-building involves everyone
. It is not restricted to politicians or leaders. Nor is it restricted to those most obviously engaged in a conflict. Peace-building needs to be organic, occuring throughout society. Movement is from the top down, from the grassroots up, and from the middle out:

  •  Peace and the Business Community: how can business not only benefit from peace and development and a clean environment, but how can they contribute?
  • Peace, Women and Men: under the present circumstances, women are leading the way to peace guided by basic needs and empathy for others; how can that inspire men?
  • Peace and Development Analysis: not all intellectual tools are adequate for peace and development; how should we analyse?
  • Peace and the Arts: arts are a very powerful means of communication, how have they been used for peace and how to develop them further?
  • Peace Museums: museums, like text-books, monuments, street names, are guardians of collective memory, how can they serve peace?
  • Peace Tourism: tourism being the world's biggest industry could be a giant peace building activity - how can tourism serve peace?
  • Peace at the personal level: all conflicts are born equal and have the same right to be transformed into peaceful resolutions at all levels.

* The churches and religious/spiritual groups can be encouraged to have a vital role to play both because they are major institutions in society and because the work of reconciliation and peacemaking is central to all the spiritual teachings.

* Peace making is a journey.
There is no correct way to engage in peace-building, rather a multiplicity of efforts which complement each other. There is a value of opportunities for networking between different processes.
 
Is this going to cost a lot and are we going to be inundated with funding requests?  


I for one would love to see a Peace Walk Labyrinth somewhere in the capital. It would be modelled on the Chartres Labyrinth at Frederic Wallis House Lower Hutt. Wellingtonians will have the opportunity to make a symbolic Peace Walk through the labyrinth any time of the day or night. It can be used for meditative and contemplative reflection, to restore equilibrium and balance and time out from the stresses and strains of everyday life. The Peace Walk Labyrinth transcends all barriers of culture and religion, and therefore open to every man, woman or child to walk for peace in our Peace City. Peace is a potent transformative energy when used with massed intent for goodwill within our communities.

"Each of us is a citizen of a common planet, bound to a common destiny. So connected are we that each of us has the power to be the eyes of the world, the voice of the world, the conscience of the world, or the end of the world. And as each one of us chooses, so becomes the world."
 
                                              US Congressman Dennis Kucinich in A Prayer for America
  



Upcoming Events

  • Guhyasiddi and Anita's Auckland NVC Workshop 17 & 18 Sept - download flyer
  • Wellington Community NVC Practice Group - commenced & report in next newsletter
  • Development of NZ NVC Website - Home Page coming soon!
  • Soul Voice Aotearoa - workshop 3 & 4 Feb 2007 - contact Sophia - www.soundandvoice.org
  • Space Clearing - workshop 12-16 Jan 2007 - contact Sophia - www.earthtransitions.com
  • Spirit of Peace radio programme - the People's Voice coming up!