5 December 2008
An exhibition providing an insight into the lives of refugees will open at Waikato Museum next Wednesday [10 December] at 10am – coinciding with celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
'Walk with Me', toured by the Petone Settlers Museum and sponsored by the Department of Labour, aims to connect people either emotionally or practically with refugees who have resettled here in Waikato and the rest of New Zealand. It highlights some of the circumstances that force people to leave their homes and the issues confronting them from the time of leaving their homeland to resettling in a new country – a journey that can take many years.
Waikato Museum Director Kate Vusoniwailala said the themes behind Walk with Me means it aligns nicely with local celebrations of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
"The exhibition looks at the perceptions and stereotypes that surround former refugees' lives today in New Zealand, providing opportunities for informed debate with several discussion stations located around the exhibition allowing visitors to voice their opinions and think about different situations concerning refugees," she said.
"It aims to challenge people's perceptions, raise awareness of the issues surrounding refugees, assist refugees in the process of resettling here in Waikato, and provide a 'safe' place for refugees to visit and take part in the debating of issues and sharing of their stories."
As well as engaging with the community via the exhibition, a series of public programmes and events will provide an avenue for Hamilton's refugee community to tell their own personal stories and encourage awareness of the refugee journey.
Following the opening, a march celebrating International Human Rights Day will depart from Knox Street at 11.40am and proceed down Victoria Street to Garden Place. The march will involve about 600 people from various Waikato schools, community groups, and reference groups and all are welcome to participate.
Walk with Me runs at Waikato Museum until 5 April 2009.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Kate Vusoniwailala
Designation: Museum Director
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6709
Mobile: 021 620 098
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6571
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761