Manun Par, Lucy Palmer, Jenny Lawm and and Sophie Fletcher get together at Sunday’s Race Unity Day. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Faces of unity

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Thousands of locals of different race, religion and cultures descended on Victory Square on Sunday for the annual Race Unity Day.

The event, due to take place the weekend before, was postponed after the Christchurch terror attacks which MC Matt Lawrey says felt like “the right thing to do”.

The postponement didn’t hamper the turn-out though, with organiser Mary Bronsteter saying it actually worked out better.

“Surprisingly, nearly every single one of the stall holders could make it and we actually have even more than before.”

Mary says the decision to postpone was not taken lightly but was the right decision to make, considering the circumstances.

“As a community we really needed that time to grieve and mourn and reflect, and I’m so glad we postponed it.”

With 35 performances from groups of different nationalities and cultures, the crowds were treated to a show of colour, flare, and emotion.

Mayor Rachel Reese told the crowd that the alleged gunman “underestimated the resolve” of New Zealand and Race Unity Day was a time to celebrate that.

She encouraged everyone to “be actively inclusive” going forward.