Liz Remmerswaal

It’s a commonly held belief that the power to make peace lies primarily within the role of world leaders working together to negotiate peace deals – a top down approach. However, the philosophy of the World Beyond War organisation seeks to empower ordinary people with the desire for peace — as encapsulated in the words of Laozi, an ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher.

“If there is to be peace in the world,

There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,

There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,

There must be peace between neighbours.

If there is to be peace between neighbours,

There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,

There must be peace in the heart.” 

This was the theme of the gathering that celebrated the installation of the Peace Pou on Sunday in the Hastings Civic Square. It’s laid out in two circles of 43 wooden pou inscribed with ‘May Peace Prevail On Earth/He Maungarongo ki runga i te Whenua’ in the languages spoken within Hawke’s Bay. 

We have a great diversity of nationalities represented within New Zealand’s population, with Auckland, our largest city having 160 different languages spoken and in this respect it is unique in the world’s cities. 

Presided over by Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and organised by World Beyond War NZ’s National Coordinator Liz Remmerswaal, created with the mahi of Stortford Lodge Rotary (Civic Award winners 2021) as one of the HDC ‘s Vibrancy Project.

Around the world Peace Poles have been placed in such notable locations as the north magnetic pole, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the Egyptian pyramids in Giza, and the Aiki Shrine in Iwama, Japan.

The ceremony was led HDC Pou Ahurea/Principal Māori Advisor Charles Ropitini who is also a deacon with the Pakipaki Māori Catholic Mission, featuring MTG’s Maori Curator, Te Hira Henderson, Ngati Kahungunu (Ngāti Hinemoa, Ngāti Hori, and Ngāti Hawea) and Brian Burrough of the Stortford Lodge Rotary as speakers. 

Present were Rick Barker, Chair of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Labour MP for Hastings Anna Lorck representatives from the RSA, National Council of Women, Zonta, Heretaunga Womens’ Centre, the Landmarks Trust, local churches and Napier City Council as well as many members of  the international community who call Hawke’s Bay home. Songs by the HB Soul Choir conducted by Stephan Zebe from Berlin brought great energy to the event.

The Peace Pou are the forerunner of an International Peace Garden (to be located adjacent to the Heretaunga Women’s Centre) that is planned for the Hastings Civic Square as part of the Hastings City Revitalisation Plan. It will serve as a permanent acknowledgement of the desire for peace in the world.

The installation was blessed by civic leaders who slowly walked the Peace Pou circles touching each pou in turn with a mamaku frond dipped in water and in February the poles will go to new homes in the region including churches, schools, marae, parks and community organisations. Organisations will have the chance to reserve their pole by contacting Liz Remmerswaal via

Photos: Duncan Brown


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  1. Thank you for this story so full of compassion and hope. And thanks to all those who made it possible.

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