On 13 November 1995 President Nelson Mandela came to St Matthew-in-the-City to thank the anti-apartheid movement and the people of Aotearoa for their support of the freedom struggle in South Africa. President Mandela spoke to a large crowd from the St Matthew’s pulpit.
On 13 November 2014 at a gathering to remember that day, about 150 people were spellbound as they listened once again (thanks to Radio NZ Archives) to Mandela’s speech, accompanied by photos of the gathering from 1995. Many people could recognise their younger selves.
Then inspiring speakers followed: Desmond Abrahams was a young activist in the last years of apartheid who spoke of the fear and experience of arrests and torture at the hands of the South African “authorities”.
HE Zodwa Lallie, High Commissioner for South Africa, spoke about how 20 years of freedom has impacted South Africa and how the country is now living up to Mandela’s vision of justice, reconciliation and peace. She also spoke of the importance of New Zealanders’ actions protesting the 1981 Springbok tour and how those actions made a difference and will never be forgotten.
The evening was enlivened by songs from the Heaven Bent Gospel Choir which had the audience wanting to be up and dancing.
A highlight for everyone was young Auckland Poet Brian Gashema (of Kenyan origin) who performed two poems – Crowns and Momma.
Ngati Whatua Orakei welcomed the guests as they had done 19 years ago for President Mandela and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse represented the City and thanked the main speaker, the High Commissioner.
Then as if my magic overnight the church was transformed into a breakfast venue for
Living the Vision: Business and Mandela’s Legacy
Three speakers shared their stories from their businesses to the 100 attendees.
Rangimarie Hunia, from the Board of Ngati Whatua Orakei spoke about Ngati Whatua’s vision for delivery of services and their investment in housing.
Les Morgan, Director of Operations at Sudima Hotels spoke about leading a diverse team of staff and having each on contribute as part of the team. Sudima Hotels pay above the minimum wage and have a low staff turnover.
Carl Robinson, Director Global Sustainability and Social Responsibility, Fonterra, spoke about partnerships with schools and community groups in the Breakfast and Milk for Schools programme, and environmental work with the Dept of Conservation. She talked about the challenges of partnership and the need for honesty and the acceptance of diverse opinions to achieve common goals and values.
Rod Oram, business journalist, drew the threads of the conversation together speaking about the ideals Mandela has left us with which were evident in the speakers’ presentations.
Both events were presented in Partnership with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and were sponsored by Trust Management, Hesketh Henry and KPMG.