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IMG_3424Professor Edwina Pio (centre) with Adrian Rurawhe – assistant speaker Labour, Dame Susan Devoy – race relations commissioner, Dr Maureen Siehr (Director Interfaith Scotland), Jocelyn Armstrong – Chair Religious Diversity Centre, Labour MP Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, and trustees of the Religious Diversity Centre.

Professor Edwina Pio, who works and researches in the area of religious diversity at work, has been appointed as a trustee of the religious diversity centre. This is a national centre of educational and research excellence, fostering an appreciation for and understanding of religious diversity amongst all New Zealanders, under the leadership of the chair Jocelyn Armstrong. Rt Hon Helen Clark, is the patron and she notes: “the world badly needs voices of reason and tolerance and those who will work to build dialogue and respect across faiths and beliefs. I do believe New Zealand can show the way.”

New Zealand is one of the most religiously diverse nations in our fragile planet earth, despite the growing number of individuals who tick no religion for the census. While predominantly Christian, New Zealand now has significant communities of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Baha’i and Jews whose work and religious lives interweave. The expression of religion at work and sacred spaces in often ‘secular’ workplaces is often challenging for employers and employees. New Zealand is more religiously diverse than countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia and Spain. There is also intra religious diversity such as Christians from India, the Middle East, Korea, China and the Pacific Islands. Professor Pio emphasises the need for inner disarmament so that policies and practices for religious diversity are carefully calibrated with grace and gratitude.

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