Weaving ‘fabric’ of national unity

Otago Girls’ High School pupil Hala Taha was a national semifinalist at the 2022 Race Unity...
Otago Girls’ High School pupil Hala Taha was a national semifinalist at the 2022 Race Unity Speech Awards. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Reaching across language and race is Otago Girls’ High School pupil Hala Taha (18).

She was a national semifinalist in the 2022 Race Unity speech awards, speaking on this year’s topic of Nga Matimati no te ringa kotahi, The Fingers of One Hand.

"I talked about how there is a fabric that represents our society.

"We need to weave our threads together in order to become completely unified, and make like a complete pattern of unity."

To do so people needed to use a "needle" made of four components — education, awareness, tolerance and acceptance.

When people from all walks of life came together and got to know each other, it could change the hearts and minds of people, she said.

Her personal experienced helped shape her views on acceptance of difference.

She came with her family from Syria to New Zealand about eight years ago.

"I speak two languages, you know, English and Arabic."

When she came here she was fascinated about how accepting and welcoming the culture of New Zealand was.

"We live in a multicultural society here in New Zealand and everything is like, you know, diverse, so wholesome and beautiful."

As well as competing in the finals, on Saturday Hala attended the National Race Unity Hui at Nga Kete Wananga Marae at Manukau Institute of Technology.

 - Joint winners of this year’s Race Unity speech awards were Kerikeri High School year 12 pupil Joe Howells and Solway College year 12 pupil Sheryl Chand.


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