After a successful stay in Timaru, Let Me Be Myself moved back to the North Island, launching in Gisborne at Tairāwhiti Museum on May 26th. In one of her last NZ engagements before returning to the Netherlands, Her Excellency Mira Woldberg officially launched the exhibition. She reminded attendees of the need to remain vigilant about rising antisemitism and the importance of learning from the past. Commenting on the relevance of Anne Frank’s message today, she emphasised our collective responsibility in standing up against prejudice and discrimination.
A highlight of the opening function was a reading, in te reo Māori and in English, from Anne Frank’s diary by two local high school students. Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, former Mayor of Gisborne, was delighted that young people were involved in this event and commented that if we don’t teach about the past in our schools then history could repeat itself. We are very fortunate to have Meng’s continued support for the exhibition and he has attended several of the exhibition launches.
Recently appointed CEO of the Holocaust Centre, Gillian Wess, also spoke at the launch function and noted that we are seeing a worrying trend in discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand, hoping that Let Me Be Myself will make people more aware of how to combat this. David Zwartz ONZM, a prominent member of the Jewish community in Wellington, spoke about the history of Jewish persecution and highlighted the impact that Anne Frank has had on the world. Without fail, when we visit venues around the country, Anne’s story never fails to educate, inform, and inspire.
Once again, Education Manager Lizzy Eaves trained local peer guides via Zoom due to the continuing impact of Covid on students, their learning in school, and their participation in education outside the classroom. Despite this, students from Lytton High School and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga were trained via Zoom, with the support of the educators at Tairāwhiti Museum. Sharon Start-Walter, from Lytton High School, commented that her students ‘couldn’t stop talking about their day on the way home and even asked if they could have another training session!’ We are delighted by their enthusiasm and wish our trained guides all the very best for their visits to the exhibition with their peers.
Let Me Be Myself will be located at Tairāwhiti Museum until July 24th, which gives locals and visitors plenty of time to see the exhibition in this venue. Our next location is Te Aka Mauri Rotorua District Library where we hope plenty of students from local schools and colleges will be able to attend an in-person training event in early August.