Story of nuclear-free New Zealand at Green Bay High School (REACT)

by Arailym Kubayeva, intern of the Peace Foundation

On June 30, Laurie Ross, New Zealand’s peace activist, and Arailym, youth programmes intern of the Peace Foundation, visited the Green Bay High School’s peace group during lunch time.

Laurie presented the story of nuclear-free New Zealand, the events related to the 30th anniversary of NZ being nuclear-free and the history of how we achieved it in the 1980s. For Laurie, visiting Green Bay school was especially poignant because she established the West Auckland Peace Group in 1982, when she lived right across the road. In fact their first public meeting was held in the school hall with the principal Des Mann.

Arailym talked about the international regime around nuclear weapons. A number of multilateral treaties have been established with the aim to prevent nuclear proliferation and testing. The most well-known is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. According to this Treaty, nuclear weapons are the only “weapons of mass destruction” that are not yet banned internationally. There is a very unfair international system: some states are allowed to possess weapons and some are not. The majority of world’s nations wants nuclear disarmament – but the nine nuclear-armed states are making that very difficult. The new nuclear weapons ban treaty creates a law stating that nuclear weapons are in fact illegal, changing the focus from security/deterrence to humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons.

 

 

During the brainstorming session students made suggestions for what to do for Schools’ Peace Week. A girl suggested that the school forms a giant Student CND Peace symbol similar to the one organised by the Peace Foundation on 11 June in Auckland Domain. The Peace Foundation would be more than happy to assist or pass on some tips for this project.

In addition, we really liked one girl’s suggestion to do a Peace Project about refugees. The reason why peace activists such as Laurie Ross work so hard to prevent warfare is because it is civilians who suffer – the mothers and children. New Zealand could offer more humanitarian aid to refugees and do more to help refugees come to live in NZ.
We also liked the idea that a GBHS group may like to perform music for a community event that Laurie is organising in July with the Nuclear Free Peacemaker mini-exhibition in New Lynn Library.

 

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