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No. 12 (September 1955)
– 10 –

Valuable Friendships

It was a wonderful and invaluable experience to meet the individual delegates from all parts of the Pacific and South East Asia. And I do sincerely hope that the good feelings we were able to share in our dormitories and the friendships made in our social contacts will be remembered by those delegates for whom a belief in our sincerity is vital and imperative particularly during this critical period of world effort at co-operation and peaceful co-existence. And I hope in some measure the social side of our conference may make up for the absence in conference itself of that spirit of unity and oneness in hopes, desires, and feelings so very necessary for the creation of a spiritual fellowship which transcends all barriers—race, colour or creed.

In conclusion, however, I would like to say that our visit to the Philippines was a wonderful experiene. The social contacts and friendships made there, I am sure, will be remembered by all delegates. The friendships, sympathy and understanding fostered among the delegates are to my mind, the worthwhile things about such conferences. However much we learnt of the local problems of various peoples and their economic conditions and returned home bearing such news, our efforts at alleviating such conditions although well meaning, would have little effect on the hungry millions of the world. Such discussions as carried on by voluntary groups which do not make recommendations to governments or the U.N.O., do not feed people in a hurry, although they do bring about better understanding. To my mind time is too short and the economic needs of people too great to be so delayed. Therefore, the assistance of governments and the U.N.O. must be enlisted in order to bring about immediate and effective changes. Perhaps conference considered that these bodies do help in any case and did not need our urging.

The point that I am trying to make is that the most effective work of such conferences is the establishing of friendships—ties which would be remembered by Europeans, Asians and Polynesians should there be another world war.

Both Mrs Bennett and I were privileged in being able to present papers at conference but the greetings of our people were given by the leader of the New Zealand delegation. Although this was the usual practice, nevertheless, we felt that no one but ourselves could convey the thoughts and feelings of our people. The Maori people have suffered throughout their history and would therefore well understand the sufferings of other people.

One of Wellington's well-known citizens and welfare workers for many years, Mrs H. D. Bennett, was awarded the O.B.E. in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Mrs Bennett is president of the Wellington district council of the Maori Women's Welfare League, and a member of the Dominion Executive.

She was one of the earliest organisers of the Ngatiponeke Association, whose first meetings were held in Mrs Bennett's home in Wellington.

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Other awards in the Honours List of interest to Maoris were: the M.B.E. to Miss Lilian Ada Hill, of Auckland, for public health nursing and for work among Maori people as Nurse Inspector for New Zealand from 1950; and the M.B.E. to Miss Elsie Smith, of Wanganui, for 25 years' service in the Maori Anglican mission at Koroniti.

Among recipients of awards in the Military Division was Flight Sergeant Pare Tewai, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Auckland, who received the British Empire Medal.