Posted on May 30, 2019
Our Main Speakers at Tuesdays meeting were Ricky Waters and Jocelyn Armstrong,
Ricky is  the co-ordinating Chaplain at Manukau Institute of Technology, UNITEC Institute of Technology and Massey University, and Jocelyn is a trustee of the Religious Diversity Trust.
Ricky and Jocelyn spoke about religious diversity  in New Zealand and commented on the effect of the Christchurch massacre.
Ricky spoke to the subject of religious diversity and Jocelyn spoke to the Religious Diversity Trust which provides programs in religious diversity aiming to foster an appreciation  for and understanding of religious diversity in New Zealand.

Ricky made the point that New Zealand is now religiously diverse and that Auckland  is the second most religiously diverse city in the world. Singapore being the most.

This has occurred since the mid 80s when New Zealand immigration rules change from an Anglo-Saxon perspective to a more global perspective with immigrants coming from all corners of the world.

In Auckland 40% of the community indicate an adherence to Christianity. But in addition to that there are Buddhists, Hindu's, Jews, Sihks Muslims Ba Hai, Atheists, Spiritualists, new Agers and and others.

In the three decades since the change of immigration rules New Zealand has become a multicultural and multireligious society the downside of this is that culture has been looked after by state and local bodies but nothing has been the diverse religion conflict that can sometimes create

Ricky made the comment that religion is formed by culture and cultures like what formed by religion. In a number of screen shots Ricky noted that our assumptions about the faith an individual follows is to a certain extent fashioned by our own perceptions.

Ricky also drew our attention to the New Zealand Bill of Rights act which provides that every person has the right to manifest their religion or belief in worship observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.  This provision has implications in education, school and tertiary, the  workplace and elsewhere.  How will that affect our generally secular society?

Jocelyn spoke to us about the Religious Diversity Centre whose aim is to make people comfortable about talking about religion and dealing with issues within religion

The Religious Diversity Centre purpose is to foster an appreciation understanding and deeper relationships among the religious, spiritual and secular communities in New Zealand, and provide an independent and informed voice on religious and spiritual issues in the public sphere.

The Religious Diversity Centre aims to build social cohesion and a religiously diverse society in which  all are safe.  A society where there is understanding and respect for others different practices and beliefs so that we can work together in productive diversity.

The Religious Diversity centre provides diversity and antidiscrimination workshops is available for professional, business, charity community or religious organisations Jocelyn told us that each workshop is tailored to suit the needs of the organisation or group including half day, full day or two day events.  The events are inclusive of everyone whether they be religious or not and contain customised content.

Like it or not New Zealand has changed beyond recognition over the past 30 years and is a multicultural nation of diverse races and beliefs.  as such the Religious Diversity Centre has an important place in our society as we grapple with issues of diversity and difference in belief and as we debate the impact of the massacre in Christchurch in March of this year.