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Wellington’s religious communities welcome Dame Susan Devoy

Aug 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Diversity, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News



Sir Anand, with agreement from Rehanna Ali (centre), offers words of support to incoming Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan

THERE was no hint of the squabble that greeted Dame Susan Devoy’s appointment as Race Relations Commissioner when she was welcomed into her role at a multi-faith dinner at the Wellington Jewish Community Centre recently.

Event co-host and head chef for the evening Joan Buchanan, of the Wellington Buddhist community, said the purpose of the evening was to welcome and generate support for Dame Susan.

The world’s biggest religious communities were represented at the dinner by members of Wellington’s Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish and Christian communities, who all individually gave Dame Susan words of wisdom for her five-year stint of office.

Among the public figures attending the dinner were Wellington city deputy mayor Ian McKinnon, former governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand, and former race relations commissioners Gregory Fortuin and Chris Laidlaw.

The dinner, a vegetable-based meal, was prepared in accordance with kosher law, Ms Buchanan said.  She described the meal as representative of the event itself.

“There are challenges when catering to different religious groups, but that’s something we do not wish to shy away from.”

Dame Susan wrapped up the evening with a speech of her own, emphasising the importance of evenings such as these.

“Interfaith programmes play a major part in the commission’s Diversity Action Programme, and I was touched by the warm welcome I was given,” Said Devoy.

Ms Buchanan’s team has hosted evenings such as these twice in the past.   Last year, she organised an event to welcome Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth to his role.

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is a Whitireia journalism student covering the Mount Cook area in Wellington. He has a BA in Political Science and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
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