Hate starts small but so does hope.

Since late last year the Teaching Council has been working on a Give Nothing to Racism project under the same banner as the Human Rights Commission’s national campaign to create conversation around racism in New Zealand.

The teaching profession of New Zealand is in a unique position; as leaders and change-makers of society we know that you are committed to ensuring our tamariki and rangatahi are supported to feel, think and behave in inclusive ways.

We have been working with teachers, an expert thought leaders group and the Human Rights Commission to create a resource specifically to support teachers to have safe and productive conversations about racism that result in changes to behaviour and practice as set out in Our Code, Our Standards.

The tragic events in Christchurch have confronted many of us with the issue of racism. The importance of this project has been brought into stark relief following the mosque attacks. It’s important to continue to build our understanding of racism so we can learn together to dismantle it and truly become a nation where “this is not us”.

Hate is emboldened by an environment that endorses it, even in passive ways. Racial prejudice and intolerance lives in our everyday. In New Zealand, racism is woven into the fabric of society. It lives in our everyday systems, structures, statistics, and assumptions.

Racism can be obvious but more often it is subtle and restrained. It can be observable in the things we overhear on the bus, at the supermarket, at work, in schools and early childhood centres, with our friends and at family gatherings. We read it too: online and in newspaper opinion pieces. We hear it on the radio, and see it on our TV screens.

While hate-fuelled atrocities are extremely rare, we all interact with racism every day. The way to dismantle racism, is rather than thinking am I or others ‘racist’ or ‘not racist’, we need to decide if we will feed it, or starve it.


As New Zealand’s teachers, you help shape the hearts and minds of our precious tamariki and rangatahi.
They are living in a society where prejudice and discrimination is pervasive. Society is teaching them who fits where, who is superior, who is less, who belongs, and who is to be feared. These messages are so pervasive, they are almost indiscernible to us all, but they can feed racism.
We all look to people we trust and respect to inform our social norms, and the behaviours we find acceptable and those we don’t. Tamariki and young people look to you as role models of society.
We all need to do our part, and as trusted and respected teachers of our children, you can support them as they navigate through the harsh truths of our society and instil in them a ‘give nothing to racism’ attitude. Teachers have told us not all of them have the skills in their toolbox to navigate race and racism, and that’s where our project with Human Rights Commission comes in.
We believe the resource we are developing will make a real difference and we look forward to sharing it with you. In the meantime, below is some work already completed by the Human Rights Commission. We ask that we stand together, as we work to Give Nothing to Racism.

Lesley Hoskin,                                                         Paul Hunt,
Interim Chief Executive Teaching Council              Chief Human Rights Commissioner