New Zealand 20 May: Wellington Waterfront - New Zealand Parliament

New Zealand Parliament Peace Run Ceremony

On a remarkably still morning in the capital city, Wellington, runners carry the flaming torch along the picturesque waterfront. A meeting with Mayor Andy Foster, MP Chris Penk and cultural groups will take place this morning to celebrate cultural diversity.

Peace Runners and a striking lion are at attention in the front of The Beehive, the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington.

Chris Penk on the left reaquaints himself with the runners. He has supported the grassroots Peace Run programme in his own electorate of Kaipara ki Mahurangi, appearing at the popular Parakai Hotsprings to commemorate its inclusion in the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom programme. It links Parakai with parks, mountains and waterfalls around the world including the Auckland Domain, Niagara Falls and the Matterhorn ranges. Mayor Andy Foster on the right is a bona-fide Peace Runner, and has run with the team through the city of Wellington, guiding it through it's beautiful mounts and parks. Here he sports his Peace Run T-shirt from that run just a few years ago.

Muslim Badami is the host and MC on the steps of parliament. Originally from India and now a long-time citizen of New Zealand, he draws inspiration from the fact that the UN have a World Day for Cultural Diversity on the 21st of May and that in the spirit of harmony and oneness the Peace Run seeks to bring all cultures together.

Soraya is a Wellington-based Peace Runner.

Mayor Foster speaks eloquently and powerfully about the need for understanding and diversity among communities. He echoes the motto of the Peace Run, "Peace begins with me". See peacerun.org/nz to see Andy and other New Zealand mayors saying this motto, which thousands of school children have said.

MP Chris Penk inspires, encourages and concludes with "Let peace begin with me, and let peace stop with no-one".

Shikha of The Souldancers, explains how a group of friends from Soka Gakkai, formed a performance group to celebrate together their love of dance. She expresses her gratitude for their taking part on this occasion.

Ana Laura Lopez leads a dynamic Mexican and Colombian traditional dance group, Life and Movement, that according to their facebook profile, is "a group created with the purpose to preserve and share culture through dance and music."

Wellingtonians from various backgrounds, nationalities and religions came to celebrate the fact that we are really one big global family.

Some of our photos have been taken by our dear friend Geoff Richards. These girls are representatives from Wellington Girls School.