International Day of Non-Violence

Quick Facts - NZ

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2024 Date2 October 2024
2025 Date2 October 2025

International Day of Non-Violence

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International Day of Non-Violence History

International Day of Non-Violence is a globally recognised day that promotes peace, tolerance, and understanding amongst people from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. It works towards the prevention of conflicts, both on personal and global scales, and encourages non-violent solutions to these issues. This observance is not only a reminder of the importance of diplomacy and dialogue in resolving disputes but also an invitation for all individuals to renew their commitment to peace and harmony within their communities and the world at large.

The International Day of Non-Violence finds its roots in the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, a worldwide symbol of peace and non-violent resistance. For New Zealanders, this day embodies the nation's core values of cooperation, understanding, and tolerance, alongside the traditional Māori concept of manaakitanga, which emphasizes generosity, hospitality, and kindness towards others. It serves as an opportunity to foster a greater sense of unity and empathy within the diverse population while demonstrating the potential for non-violent methods in addressing disputes and social issues.

In New Zealand, International Day of Non-Violence is observed through events and initiatives by various organizations and communities, such as peace vigils, discussions on non-violence, cultural activities, and experiential workshops for young people. These events often highlight the significant contributions local leaders and individuals have made to peace and non-violent movements. The International Day of Non-Violence is celebrated annually on 2nd October, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, commemorating his influence on promoting peace and non-violence worldwide.

Facts about International Day of Non-Violence

  • Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals - Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The philosophy of non-violence has roots in several religious traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • Non-violence is often a strategy used by people who are marginalized/oppressed and lack the resources or power for a violent revolution. It puts moral pressure on the offending party.
  • New Zealand is one of the few countries to have never experienced a civil war, and this is often attributed to the peaceful interactions between the indigenous Maori people and European settlers.
  • New Zealand was the first nation to grant women the right to vote in 1893, following a long and non-violent women's suffrage movement led by figures like Kate Sheppard.

Top things to do in NZ for this observance

  • Volunteer at or donate to your local domestic abuse shelter.
  • Offer your time and support to local peace organizations or charities that work towards conflict resolution, peaceful coexistence, and social justice.
  • Personally, take time to reflect, meditate, or practice mindfulness to promote inner peace and non-violence in your life. You can join local meditation groups or simply spend time in nature.

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