Muhammad Yunus speaks: Social businesses and entrepreneurship should be encouraged in NZ

Highlights: Health concentration at the top worries me most; eight people owning more than the bottom 50 percent of the world's population is unsustainable in the long run; I believe in working towards three zeros - zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emission; The way to tackle unemployment and get people out of welfarism is to empower them and encourage entrepreneurship


Hit and Run: My book is dedicated to New Zealand military - Nicky Hager, author and investigative journalist

Nicky Hager, author of Hit and Run, co-written with war correspondent Jon Stephenson, addressing the gathering on April 6, at the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch. The public meeting was organised by the Christchurch Progressive Network led by last year's mayoral candidate John Minto. "The book is about what the New Zealand military – and especially the Special Air Service (SAS) – did in Afghanistan in response to the first New Zealander dying in combat in August 2010," said Hager while releasing the book in March. 

First home: For house and land packages, only 5% deposit is enough

“For turn-key projects – house and land packages, you pay a deposit upfront and the remainder when the property is complete. It's important to note that you may be able to purchase such a package with as little as 5 percent deposit. And your KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal or KiwiSaver HomeStart grant can make a part or all of your deposit,” informed Nathan Miglani, from Loan Market, while addressing the gathering at a free first-home buying seminar organised by the Christchurch-based social organisation Indian Cultural Group (ICG) on April 10. It was part of a series of informative sessions ICG organises, dealing with issues of health, finances, and women empowerment, explained Sandeep Sachdev, President of ICG.

New outlook: Changing the way we look at our economy - Lyttelton's Living Economies Expo

Those who attended the recent Living Economies Expo came away energised and inspired to make change. The purpose of the event was to seed systemic change. The realisation that our systems are not working is fairly widespread: see the increasing coverage in our media of topics such as climate change, water quality, housing shortages, a failing health system, the growing divide between rich and poor, decrease in the diversity of species, questionable political leadership worldwide and of course the connector of all these issues – our current highly dysfunctional monetary system.

Festival: 2074th Hindu New Year celebrations by the Canterbury Nepalese Society

The 300-member Canterbury Nepalese Society (CNS), which was established in 2015, organised the Hindu New Year 2074 in Christchurch on April 14. Bishnu Pokhrel, President of CNS shared how the event showcased the Nepalese culture to the wider community. Surinder Tandon, President of Christchurch Multicultural Council was the chief guest. The highlight of the day was a Nepalese fashion show with men and women flaunting traditional Nepalese dresses, followed by traditional Nepalese dances and other cultural performances. The event ended with mouth-watering Nepalese cuisine.

Festival: Canterbury Shetland and Orkney Society – keeping the Viking culture alive

Formed in 1998 The Canterbury Shetland and Orkney Society is a friendly network and social hub for interested locals and Island descendants. We have about 120 members and we meet every two months for social outings and to celebrate festivals such as ‘Up Helly Aa’ ( held on the last Tuesday in January, by singing the three Viking songs and carrying out a ‘Galley-Burning,’and playing such Viking games as Kubb.

Funds: Grants for community groups

The Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) opened for application from April 12, announced Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro. “From today communities will be able to apply for $12.5 million of grant funding for the projects and organisations that matter to them most. The COGS funding is unique in that it’s decided on and distributed by local distribution committees. That means we have locals deciding what matters most to them and what will have the most impact on their own communities,” informed Ngaro.

Funds: Community embarks on a $1.2 million fund-raising drive for the Indian Centre in Christchurch

The recently incorporated Canterbury Indian Community Centre Trust (CICCT) has started raising funds to make the dream of an Indian community centre in Christchurch a reality in the next two years. The Trust hit the ball rolling on April 8 in a specially organised ghazal and old Hindi melodious songs night, where the attendees were introduced to the objectives of CICCT by Ponnuram Venu Gopal, one of the its trustees.

Islamic arts display - for those who missed out!

The Canterbury Muslim Community Trust had organised a wonderful Islamic Arts exhibition in Christchurch South Library between April 2 and 9. We had also covered the story in our last issue. Below we present some out of the 53 displays in the four categories of architectural, decorative, calligraphy and textile arts.

Law and order: Police responds to the community, increased presence for all regions

Police Commissioner Mike Bush on April 12, announced the numbers of new Police staff each district will get as part of the $388 million investment in Police announced by the Prime Minister in February 2017. The investment will see an increase of 880 sworn and 245 non-sworn staff over four years.  Sworn staff will be recruited over the next four years from July 2017, with approximately 220 new additional recruits added per year. The first phase includes the recruitment of 220 constabulary staff.  The first wing to include new recruits funded through the investment package, Wing 308, will start on July 10, 2017. These 80 recruits will graduate in October, 2017.

NZ Red Cross: Pathways to Employment programme for former refugees

"Finding employment is a key part of the resettlement process. It gives former refugees financial independence and also offers them the opportunity to use their skills and contribute back to their community." - NZ Red Cross

Recognising this, the country's Red Cross runs a Pathways to Employment programme that helps former refugees plan their employment, education, training and career goals and ultimately find work.

Cartolina: Italian radio programme presented by Wilma Laryn

Cartolina is a fortnightly programme on community radio station Plains FM96.9 that presents information on Italian culture and local events with Italian connections in the friendly, laid-back style of its producer, Wilma Laryn (see photo). The title, Cartolina, is Italian for Postcard, referring to the easy-going way of presenting the show’s message.

Awards: West African achievers recognised

On April 8, the West African community organised an achievers award night attended by over 50 people. Dennis Agelebe, President of Nigerian Canterbury Association of New Zealand, noted the contributions of the African community in Christchurch and New Zealand. Jimmy Chen, Christchurch City Councillor, and Sally Pitama from Ngai Tahu, welcomed the African community to Christchurch. "Our aim is to acknowledge West Africans living in Canterbury that have performed exceptionally well in their field. We believe that by celebrating their hard work, future generation will be inspired to aim high in their endeavours. This will also promote our image in the wider society," noted the organisers. 

Engage with us: Jimmy Chen, chair of Christchurch City Council's multicultural subcommittee

As Chair of Christchurch City Council's Multicultural Working Party, it has been privilege to lead the development of the Multicultural Strategy for the past year. This strategy is also a commitment by the Council to support and embrace the diversity of the people in Christchurch. But in order to ensure the strategy deliver, we need to develop an action plan. We need to also monitor progress on this plan to ensure its success.

Regenerate Christchurch: Community puts ideas forward

Christchurch's rebuild after the 2011 earthquake got a major breakthrough last week with Regenerate Christchurch (RC) announcing Gerry Brownlee's - minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration - approval for the company's approach for developing a Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor. RC is a new entity, established in 2016 to lead the regeneration of Christchurch including the central city, residential red zone and the eastern New Brighton.

National Family Violence Summit in June

A national summit on family violence will be hosted by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley in Wellington on June 7. The Summit will support the work already underway as part of the Government’s family violence reforms, which includes the introduction of the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill to overhaul the Domestic Violence Act and strengthen family violence laws. Family violence is a significant and complex issue in New Zealand, with Police responding to an incident every five minutes, and costing the country over $4 billion per year, noted the ministers while annoucing the summit.

New Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki launched

Minister for Children Anne Tolley officially launched the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, on March 31. “This is the start of a four to five year major transformation programme to build a more child-centred care and protection system, focusing on harm and trauma prevention and early intervention, rather than crisis management. The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will also be a single point of accountability for children and young people where it will be easier for them to raise concerns or complaints. Children and young people will also have access to a new independent advocacy service, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai," noted Anne Tolley.