On 11 August 2021, the annual exhibition “Tūmanako! Children’s Art Works for a Peaceful World” organized by SGI New Zealand (SGINZ) opened at the Johnsonville Library in Wellington. This event has been funded by the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust and SGINZ. The Peace Foundation, Wellington Interfaith Council, United Nations Association NZ, UNICEF, and Waitohi Hub and Wellington City Council supported the exhibition, which showcased 305 artworks created by 400 students from 14 schools and community groups.
During the opening ceremony, local youth dance groups performed kapa haka (traditional Māori performing arts) and classical Indian dance, and local school students gave a musical performance. A young student from the Lower Hutt Muslimah Committee and some students from the Te Kura o Otari primary school shared their experiences of participating in the exhibition and what peace means to them.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster also gave a congratulatory speech, stating that the exhibition expresses the themes of harmony, diversity and nature and that a heart-to-heart connection is a path to peace. He also said, “I love the thoughts and aroha [love] in the children’s artwork too.”
Although the exhibition was temporarily suspended due to a nationwide lockdown, it attracted many viewers on the day of the launch, including 200 local school students and their families. One of the participants shared, “Everyone loved the event. Kids were so proud to see their artwork displayed.”
The first Tūmanako (meaning “hope” in Te Reo Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand) exhibition was held in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, more than 47,000 citizens have viewed the exhibitions. This annual art exhibition provides an opportunity for children and youth to create artworks to share their aspirations for a peaceful, inclusive and nuclear weapon-free world. At a time of unrest and divisiveness, it enables children and youth to learn about the root causes of violence and promote peace.