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    UNA NZ National Conference 2021

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    Event description


    Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

    A warm welcome to the United Nations Association of New Zealand 2021 Conference.

    UNA NZ is hosting its annual National Conference this August. This event is hosted at the New Zealand Parliament by Vanushi Walters MP.

    The conference is our flagship event. It is a chance for our hundreds of members across the country to convene, for citizens to raise their voice, for the diplomatic community to engage with the broader society, and a place for fostering understanding of and engagement with the United Nations. 

    This year's theme, adopted from the United Nations itself, is 'Building Back Better'. As we are well into our second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, this conference will explore how to build back from COVID-19 to create a better world that has less inequality, poverty, climate degradation and more cohesion, prosperity and sustainability - the core focuses of the United Nations.

    Our 2021 conference is a momentous occasion as it marks UNA NZ's 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated with a cocktail evening on Friday 13th August (5.30pm-7pm). 

    The full-day conference on Saturday 14th August (9.15am-4.15pm) will consist of a range of speakers, panellists, and an interactive workshop.

    This conference will provide insights from academic experts, politicians, and notable practitioners from sectors such as engineering, employment rights, and international diplomacy.

    We are excited to be having the Conference in person again: come and enjoy a weekend of great discussions, learning, networking and collaboration!

    The ticket price includes attendance and catering for both days. 

    Day 1 – Friday 13th August 

    Grand Hall, New Zealand Parliament, 1 Museum Street, Pipitea 






    Refreshments will be served prior to the formalities


    Welcome address

    Welcome address on behalf of UNA NZ acknowledging the 75th anniversary of UNA NZ


    Keynote address

    A keynote address from our Host MP Vanushi Walters.

    MP Vanushi Walters was elected as the member of Parliament for Upper Harbour in 2020 and sits as Deputy Chair of the Justice Select Committee and is a member of the Regulations Review Committee. With private, public, and community sector experience, Vanushi has held Governance roles with Amnesty International, Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa.


    Refreshments and networking

    Refreshments will be served following the formalities while attendees network



    The event will conclude by 7:30

    Day 2 - Saturday 15th August

    Grand Hall & Legislative Council, New Zealand Parliament, 1 Museum Street, Pipitea






    Please arrive from 9:15 to register before 9:30


    Opening and welcome

    The event will be open with a Karakia and a welcome address by UNA NZ president Gaya Paranisamy


    Dame Laurie Salas Memorial Address by Dell Higgie

    Dell Higgie will deliver the Dame Laurie Salas Memorial Address.

    Although recently retired from an impressive diplomatic career – involving being NZ’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism, and a Permanent Representative to the UN and Conference on Disarmament – she continues as an Ambassador-at-Large for MFAT, and as Chair of the Geneva-based Trust Fund for the Arms Trade Treaty.


    Address from Associate Professor Mere Skerrett

    Associate Professor Mere Skerrett will discuss the theme from an education perspective.

    Associate Professor Mere Skerrett has an extensive background in teaching and researching in early childhood and primary education sectors, with a focus on Te Reo/English bilingualism. She is an International Research Fellow with the Velma E. Schmidt International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Collaborative.


    Morning Tea


    Keynote Address from Hon Nanaia Mahuta

    Hon Nanaia Mahuta will present the keynote speech. The Minister will discuss the value of international commitments in working towards building back better, and the role Aotearoa New Zealand could play.

    Hon Nanaia Mahuta is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs – the first indigenous woman to hold this portfolio – the Minister of Local Government, and Associate Minister for Māori Development. 


    Address form H.E. Ambassador Nina Obermaier

    Ambassador Nina Obermaier will discuss the theme from a diplomatic perspective, specifically between Aotearoa New Zealand and the EU.

    Ambassador Nina Obermaier is the EU Ambassador to Aotearoa New Zealand and is part of the European External Action Service. Notable positions include working as the Advisor to the Deputy Chief Negotiator as part of the negotiation process for the UK withdrawal from the EU.


    Bead and Proceed workshop 

    Bridget Williams will deliver a high-energy presentation getting everyone up to speed on the SDGs and why they matter. Attendees will each have the chance to paint a bead that represents the SDG they want to personally commit to. While painting attendees discuss why they have chosen their SDG and actions they will take towards progressing it. A stunning work of art is created from the beads that symbolises the joint commitment of the attendees. 





    Panel moderator: Peter Nichols 

    Panel speakers:

    • Megan McCoy, MOH General Manager Global Health and Director-General Advisory, and WHO former Technical Officer
    • Chris Dunlop, Beca Regional Manager
    • Dr Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at NZ Human Rights Commission
    • Professor Siah Hwee Ang, Professor of International Business and Strategy, Chair in Business in Asia at Victoria University of Wellington, and Director of the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence


    Closing remarks 

    Closing remarks will be offered on behalf of UNA NZ.


    Afternoon tea

    Guests are invited to join us for afternoon tea following the closing remarks.



    The event will conclude at 4:00

      COVID-19 Announcement: 

      In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic UNANZ stands in right to postpone or cancel this event in case of any alert level changes. 

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      No refund policy specified.