Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn shared his own migration story with pupils and staff from St Anne’s Catholic School in Manurewa on July 29.
The occasion was the introduction of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s Social Justice Week 2016, which has a theme of “We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter”.
St Anne’s pupils led a prayer liturgy in their parish church on the theme of “Welcoming others”.
Bishop Dunn shared that he had been born in England, at a time when his father was doing studies related to his profession as a doctor.
The future bishop came to New Zealand when he was a baby, before he could speak.
Bishop Dunn had previously asked the children to guess where he was born.
The first answer was “Australia” and the second was “France”. The third suggestion was the correct one – “England”.
While engaging with the St Anne’s pupils, the bishop asked if anyone knew the name of the ancestral home of the Maori people.
One young voice piped up: “Waiheke Island”. Bishop Dunn smiled and replied, “Good guess – no, sounds like Waiheke”. Another student came up with the right answer – Hawaiki.
Later, in one of the St Anne’s learning hubs, Bishop Dunn showed year 5 and 6 pupils the countries from which his ancestors had come to New Zealand. These included Australia, England, Ireland and the Cook Islands.
Three students also shared where their migration stories – Bianca Velasco (from the Philippines), Leonel Dinkha (from Iraq) and Talon Shelford, who related how his ancestors came to Aotearoa in the great Maori migration from the Pacific, and then how his family came to Manurewa.
Speaking about the Social Justice Week theme, Bishop Dunn said in a statement that people are being encouraged “to think about how we can all be more open to one another by listening to how we came to live in Aotearoa New Zealand”.
“These might be very recent journeys or over generations.
“It helps us to know the story of our nation.”
Caritas has produced resources for Catholic schools and parishes, with the aim of raising awareness about issues facing migrants and encouraging people to consider their own migration story, as well as how we can help welcome new arrivals to New Zealand.
Social Justice Week ran from September 11-17.