PM honours Mandela on centenary of his birth

By Jessica Tyson

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has honoured the legacy of Nelson Mandela this morning in a speech at a Peace Summit in New York.

At the event, marking the 100th year since Mandela's birth, Ardern spoke about how he had a profound impact on New Zealand.

During her speech Ardern said Mandela’s struggle against racial segregation was supported in New Zealand through a mass protest movement, including the 1981 Springbok Tour protests.

“My father missed my first birthday because of it.  He was a policeman and was called upon to work during the protests that surrounded the tour.”

She said that when Mandela visited New Zealand in 1995 as the elected President of South Africa, he described the news of the protest actions in New Zealand as being like the sun coming out. 

“I remember that 1995 visit; his dignity; and his inspiration.  Mandela was a living embodiment of the United Nations' values.  It is these values and Mandela's moral example that we must look to promote in a world that is more fragmented and fractured than ever before."

She said that Mandela’s appearance on the field following South Africa's 1995 Rugby World Cup victory showed, that if he could make peace, so could the rest of South Africa.

“Today, let us remember Mandela and the values he devoted his life towards on his long walk to freedom, but let us not forget that there is still work to do. 

"We must ensure that the just, peaceful, prosperous, democratic, fair and inclusive world which Mandela strived for is fully realised.  New Zealand's commitment to this work remains unwavering.”