New Zealand Interfaith Forum

New Zealand Interfaith Forum

The National Interfaith Forum was hosted by the Wellington Interfaith Council in Wellington from 26 – 28 February 2011 at Parliament buildings.

The event was attended by more than 80 people including those participating in three separate forums.

The forum on the weekend included keynote addresses by international speakers, Freeman Trebilcock and Rachael Kohn. The workshops on Monday included discussions on the national interfaith structure, women and interfaith leadership, religious inclusions and exclusion, achieving millennium goals and interfaith elephants.

The forum also included a plenary which involved a panel discussion on the topic – how can interfaith dialogue contribute to human rights education. Despite the difficult circumstances Sr Bertha Hurley was able to attend the forum on behalf of the Christchurch Interfaith Council.

A notable outcome was an agreement to assign each regional interfaith council the responsibility to appoint a liaison person to progress the idea of establishing a national interfaith council. The forum also featured an agreement to release a statement of support for those who have suffered in the recent Christchurch earthquake:

“We unite our faith and prayers from our respective faith traditions to send our love, sympathy and support for those who have suffered or lost loved ones in the recent Christchurch earthquake. Even though we may not have suffered personally, with many other New Zealanders we feel a collective sense of shared suffering, not only in trauma, but in the loss of life, of property and loss of livelihood. We pray for the restoration of homes, of business and industry and the restoration of hope in the future. May we all be blessed with the will to work to this end.”