A major forum challenging Napier again to become a model city in challenging social injustices and creating a better future for all the population has ended with a plea for the 180 people who took part to take the messages they heard back out to the community to help effect change.
The plea was made by Napier Pilot City Trust secretary and former high school principal Mark Cleary, at the end of the trust's annual Unity Day Forum, a full day of korero on Friday in Napier's War Memorial, where speakers included justice sector Cabinet ministers Kelvin Davis, the Minister of Police and Minister for Children, and the Minister of Police, Poto Williams.
Others included Judge Louis Bidois, University of Auckland Head of Indigenous Studies, Chief victims advisor Dr Kim McGregor, and former Prison Service boss and now veteran social justice advocate Sir Kim Workman.
There was also a tribute to veteran Napier social justice campaigner Pat Magill, a founding force in the Pilot City Trust which was established more than 30 years ago and who at the age of 94 continues the campaign with his constant plea: "Build communities, not prisons."
"It's the best-ever," he commented after the forum.
The Unity Day was initiated with his Unity Walk from Taupō to Napier in New Zealand sesqui-centennial year 1990, with Magill drawing in many notables over the years, including other Cabinet ministers, MPs Governors General, Chief Justices, ambassadors and mayors to take part.
Ending the day-long forum, in which there were also presentations from local leaders with the bestowing of the annual Unity Day Awards to those contributing to social and community services in Napier.
The 2021 recipients are Tracey Benson, Martyka Brandt, Sallie Dunford, Levi Armstrong, Peter Eden, Peter Findlay, Rose Hiha, Janice Keepa-Kahukiwa, Hori Reti, Marewa Kuini Reti, and Satyam Saha.
Still campaigning and fronting many of the issues - from street-level discussion in what he calls an office outside a Maraenui pie shop to more formal campaigns with such people as the Prime Minister, mayors and MPs, Pat Magill was on Friday night the special guest at the launch of a book drawn together by daughter Jes Magill in just a few months, with contributions from those who have supported his kaupapa over the years.
The tome – the 284-pages of "Pat Magill – Leading from the Front, He Kaihautu, kei mua" – has a foreword from retired MP and former Cabinet minister and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia and is an astonishing collection of 20 chapters of people's reflections on the work of Magill, who was 4 when the Hawke's Bay Earthquake hit in 1931.
He went on to take over the family carpet business, became a leader in the YMCA, a Hawke's Bay Magpies halfback for one and a half matches, the rugby union's president for a year in the 1966-1969 Ranfurly Shield era, and a YMCA director as he embarked on what has been recorded as 40 years of community service.
A modern evolvement is his drive to have the Napier City Council develop its environment as a Child Friendly City, where the interests of all children are taken into account in decisions affecting their futures.
In her foreword, Turia describes him as a "thought leader and a shape-shifter" whose endeavours in building a better future have included encouraging a better understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, including courses taken-up by government departments.
All 150 copies were sold by the end of the launch at the Old Soldiers Club, and a second print run is being considered.