Focus on nuclear-free status

Show of thanks planned in Timaru

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On the bay .. At Caroline Bay, looking forward to Saturday's celebrations of 30 years nuclear free, are (from left) Roselyn Fauth, Sarah Boyd, Jasmine Jones, Shirley Ashton and (at front) Harry Boyd (2) and Medinella Fauth (2). PHOTO: RACHAEL COMER

by Rachael Comer

Messages of thanks from Timaru residents will be sent to a New Zealand woman who is continuing the fight to keep the country nuclear free.
A collage of photos from a community nuclear-free celebration at Caroline Bay on Saturday will be sent to disarmament campaigner Kate Dewes, of Christchurch.
Dr Dewes, a former adviser to then United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, flew to the United Nations in New York on Sunday, heading a team to help negotiate a treaty aiming to eradicate nuclear weapons.
June 8 marked 30 years since the passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act and a group of women in the region wants to acknowledge those who made the Act possible.
Roselyn Fauth came up with the idea of sending a message of thanks to those who helped keep the country nuclear free.
“I was thinking about it and wanted to acknowledge all the people that work to keep our nuclear-free status,” Mrs Fauth said.
Dr Dewes, a long-time peace campaigner, had sacrificed a lot, she said.
Dr Dewes has travelled to New York for the three weeks of negotiations with her husband, Robert Green, and two other New Zealanders, Lyndon Burford and Lucy Stewart, representing civil society.
The conference will include delegates from more than 130 nations.
Members of the public are being encouraged to visit Caroline Bay on Saturday to take part in the “Let’s Say Thanks” event.
Mrs Fauth said often people did not want “a silver tray award” and she had wanted to do something practical to show how much the work of Ms Dewes, and others, was appreciated by “everyday” New Zealanders.
“I incorporated TimaruRocks [group] too, and thought it would be good if people bring along their painted rocks which have nuclear-free messages and thank-you messages on the Saturday.”
Mrs Fauth will then take photos of the individual rocks and combine them into a collage to be sent to Dr Dewes, as a “thank you” from Timaru. She hopes people will place their rocks together to form a peace sign at Caroline Bay.
Fellow organiser Shirley Ashton said she had vivid memories of when the country became nuclear free.
“I was living in Auckland and was in the [Royal New Zealand] Navy. I remember there were so many protests and marches.
“Being in the navy, I wasn’t allowed to take part in the protests.”
Mrs Fauth emphasised that the event was not a political stand, more a peaceful way to recognise the 30 years of New Zealand’s nuclear-free status.
The Let’s Say Thanks event will take place at the Caroline Bay lookout at 10am on Saturday. Bring a rock painted with a thank you or nuclear-free message.