The Dunedin City Council, with assistance from the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group, are organizing a local forum for religious faith community representatives, council representatives and other interested parties to discuss a proposed national statement on religious diversity. We are writing to invite your faith community to be represented at our Dunedin meeting.

When:Thursday 9th November 2006
Time:5:30 to 7:30pm
Where:   The Octagon Club (8 the Octagon next to the Craft Bar)

Refreshments Food to be provided

The proposed national statement is intended to promote interfaith understanding and religious tolerance, and it is therefore proposed that forums to discuss it be on an interfaith basis.

The Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, in conjunction with Professor Paul Morris of Victoria University and Rohan Jaduram of the Human Rights Commission and the Ministry for Social Development are coordinating the organization of these discussions nationwide. Please find below the latest edition of the "Draft Principles of Religious Diversity" as at 18th October 2006.

After our local meeting, responses from all around our land will be analysed and presented to a national interfaith forum in Hamilton in mid-February, and then presented to government for consideration.

For more information please feel free to contact:

Michael Laufiso - Ph 474 3513; 0272461039 or email:

Greg Hughson - Ph 4798497; 0272121048 email

Please RSVP to Michael Laufiso by 2 November 2006

Latest (18/10/06) Draft Statement on Religious Diversity in New Zealand

  1. The State and Religion
    New Zealand has no state religion. The State treats all faith communities and those who profess no religion equally before the law.
  2. The Right to Religion
    New Zealand upholds the right to freedom of religion and belief and the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of religious or ethical belief.
  3. The Right to Safety
    Faith communities have a right to safety and security.
  4. The Right of Freedom of Expression
    The right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press are vital for democracy, but shall be exercised with responsibility and in an informed manner.
  5. Recognition and Accommodation
    Reasonable steps shall be taken in educational and work environments and in the delivery of public services to recognise and accommodate different religious beliefs and practices.
  6. Education
    Schools shall teach an understanding of the diversity of religious and spiritual traditions in an impartial manner.
  7. Religious Differences
    Debate and disagreement about religious beliefs within faith communities and beyond is inevitable, but shall be exercised within the rule of law and without resort to violence.
  8. Cooperation and understanding
    Government and faith communities shall seek to build and maintain positive relationships with each other, and promote tolerance and understanding in the community.