New Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy may not be starting until the 1st April 2013, but she has hit the ground running in her role with the Human Rights Commission.
Today is Race Relations Day, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Ms Devoy has some innovative ideas she's launching to "encourage harmonious relations between the diverse peoples of New Zealand by encouraging respect for human dignity and the realisation of the human rights of all people in New Zealand."
"We only need to look across the Tasman to witness how Australians celebrate their day," says Ms Devoy, calling for a brand new national day. "They may be our arch-enemy on the sports field, but you do have to admire the way they celebrate their national day with a great showing of patriotism."
Ms Devoy is concerned about Waitangi Day having lost it's way as a time for New Zealanders to have a "good ol Kiwi barbecue." So she's keen to reframe it, in line with the lead on racism shown by Australia, and set up a completely new opportunity. "Waitangi has been hijacked and if it can never be really seen as a day of national celebration then perhaps the time has come to choose another true New Zealand day. We deserve a day of true celebration and pride."
So this Race Relations Day, the new Commissioner is launching a new slogan:
"Advance fair New Zealand!"
Ms Devoy is hoping all New Zealanders will rally behind her cry to be more like Australia when it comes to race and diversity. The Human Rights Commission is very proud of the leadership Ms Devoy is showing before her role has even officially begun.