In New Zealand, World BEYOND War and Friends Give Out 43 Peace Poles

Multicultural association board member Heather Brown and Liz Remmerswaal, Te Matau a Māui Ngā Pou Rangimarie coordinator, with two of the 43 pou. Photo / Warren Buckland, Hawke’s Bay Today

By World BEYOND War, September 23, 2022

The 43 ‘Peace Poles’ that were installed in Hastings’ Civic Square during summer will be gifted to permanent homes in schools, churches, marae, parks and public spaces this Wednesday in a special gathering at Te Aranga Marae, Flaxmere.

The poles or pou stand two metres high in the ground and are made of wood and metal plaques with the words ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth/He Maungārongo ki runga i te whenua’,and two other languages from the total of 86 other languages spoken here, reflecting the diversity of the region.

Special guests at the event include Hasting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise, Cuban Ambassador Edgardo Valdés López and Peace Foundation educator Christina Barruel.

Hawke’s Bay Peace Poles/Te Matau a Māui Ngā Pou Rangimarie coordinator Liz Remmerswaal says it is hoped that they will be an inspiration as well as a challenge to communities to use non violent ways of dealing with conflict.

Local organisations working in this space have been invited  and there will be a discussion on ways of living peacefully in the community.

“It will be wonderful if our regions can become an example of peace making and non violence in Aotearoa,” says Mrs Remmerswaal.

The project was started with a grant from the Hastings District Council Vibrancy Fund and has been supported by Stortford Lodge Rotary, World Beyond War, the Hawke’s Bay Multicultural Association and Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand.

The peace poles will be going to 18 schools including EIT, Hastings Girls’ High School, Haumoana, Te Mata, Camberley, Ebbett Park, St Mary’s Hastings, Te Awa, Westshore, St Joseph’s Wairoa, Pukehou, Kowhai Specialist School, Omakere, Havelock High, Central Hawke’s Bay College, Napier Intermediate, Te Awa and Omahu.

They are also going to five marae- Waipatu, Waimarama, Paki Paki, Kohupatiki and Te Aranga; the Hastings Mosque, the Gurdwara/Sikh temple, the Chinese Gardens at Frimley Park, Keirunga Gardens, Waitangi Park, St Andrews Church, Hastings, St Columba’s Church, Havelock, Napier City Council, Napier Cathedral, Hastings Hospital, the Mahia, Haumoana and  Whakatu communities,the  Bangladesh and the Indonesian Embassies, the Hastings Returned Services Association, and Choices HB.

The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan by Masahisa Goi (1916 1980), who dedicated his life to spreading the message, May Peace Prevail on Earth. Mr. Goi was greatly affected by the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs which fell on the city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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