The International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Every May 29th the world celebrates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. May-29 (1)This date marks the anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in 1948 to monitor the ceasefire after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which was the first ever UN peacekeeping mission.

Logo of the United Nations

The United Nations Peacekeepers are a force made up of over 120,000 people (though more than a million have served since it first started 72 years ago) from the military services, police forces and various civilian organisations.

The United Nations blue beret- worn by all UN Peacekeepers

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was created to celebrate the people who serve with the force and veterans of the service, to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives trying to make the world a better place through the force and help bring awareness of this force for good in the world.

New Zealand members of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula

While many are aware of the Peacekeepers, very few are aware of the long standing missions they carry out.  The current peacekeeper force is created from personal from 125 countries and currently serve in 17 missions around the world. UN Peacekeepers are used to protect and care for civilians, disarm ex-combatants, ensure ceasefires are kept, protect human rights, the rules of law and supporting free and fair democracy. They also work tirelessly to make sure women’s voices are heard  in civilian, military and political life.


This year alone UN Peacekeepers are present in Syria, the Sinai Peninsula, Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, Liberia, Southern Sudan, Mali and continue to work across the globe on removing landmines and explosives abandoned after wars.



As an ex UN peacekeeper I would like to encourage you to spare time to consider the impact UN peacekeeping missions have played over the last 72 years. The late 20th century would have been vastly worse if not for their efforts.

Together for peace…


International Day of the Nurse

On Tuesday May 12, the world celebrated the International Day of the Nurse. 2020 is also the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The theme this year is “Nursing the World to Health”.

Comprising more than half of global health workers, nurses routinely give promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative care to meet individual health needs. They are also among the most vital healthcare professionals fighting the current pandemic.

International Day of the Nurse (World Health Organisation, 2020)

The contributions of nurses have not gone unnoticed – many people in countries around the world, from New York to New Delhi, have been showing their heartfelt appreciation for their nurses’ dedication and sacrifices in giving care and saving lives during this pandemic. By way of example, every night New Yorkers clap at seven to express their gratitude for nurses and other hospital staff on the front lines. This is part of the trend called #ClapBecauseWeCare.

Closer to home is news about United Kingdom Prime Minister Johnson expressing his thanks to his nurses for helping save his life, “when things could have gone either way”. Among the team was New Zealand born nurse Jenny McGee.

Most people value good health and longevity as among life’s greatest blessings. Nurses are therefore deservedly appreciated as the professionals who meet our health needs. So, it would be a nice gesture to say thanks to the nurses we know or meet, including our nurse educators and nursing students at Ara.

Watch this 2-minute video tribute to the incredible work of nurses.   

Anzac Day 2020: #Stand at Dawn


This Saturday the 25th of April, 2020 is ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day is the public holiday we have in New Zealand to honor those women and men both past and present who have served in the military services of our nation. Many did not return home so it only right that we remember them.

Anzac Day Crowd
A large crowd in the Strand, London on the first official Anzac Day in April 1916. (Getty Images)

ANZAC Day 2020 will be very strange indeed…because of the Covid 19 outbreak and subsequent lock-down this will be the first time since 1916 when there will be no public celebrations of the day anywhere in New Zealand or Australia.

The New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA), Australian Returned Service League (RSL) in concert with both local and national authorities are promoting an alternative to the usual Dawn Service.RSALogo

This commemoration is titled:  #Stand at Dawn- apart but together as one. 

At 0600 hours on Saturday the 25th April they would like all New Zealanders & Australians to stand at their letterbox, at the end of their driveway, in their front yard or in their lounge as a way to commemorate the day.RSL-ColourGoldprint-Official



A national remembrance service will be broadcast by Radio New Zealand online and on the radio for those who wish to listen in.

This will truly be in the spirit of the ANZAC tradition as this event will be happening in Australia with the exact same format.

Join myself and the many millions of other Australians and New Zealanders both at home and around the world who will Stand at Dawn this Saturday.


Lest we forget…..

Please note that as ANZAC Day falls in the weekend this year Ara Library will be closed on Monday the 27th April but will be back from 8 am on Tuesday the 28th.

Library Open Day Today!

Come  and see us and learn some stuff you didn’t know about the Library whilst munching on some Cookie Time Cookies, building a tower of cards and answer a skill question about the Library and go in the draw to win some movie vouchers. Winners will be drawn and announced by midday Thursday.

Celebrate International Mother Language Day – Friday 21st February

This Friday Library is International Mother Language Day and the Library would like to invite you to take part in our celebration of this important day. International Mother Language Day is a day that is intended to celebrate and protect all the languages of the world. There are approximately 6000 languages on this planet, of which 43% are endangered.

We wish to celebrate the diversity of culture we have here at Ara and we thought we could do this in a few ways. Please join us in the Library to stick a pin in our world map to share with others where you are from. There will also be board with a bunch of Post-Its where you can write and write a greeting or proverb in your mother language.

Or you could share an example on our Library Facebook Page, an image or short video of your written or spoken Mother Language

Contributions from students from previous years

Hope to see you in the Library tom

Its a knockout….grand final today….

‘It’s a Knockout’ – health and wellbeing activity for students with a great social atmosphere!

Jill Milburn (hospitality tutor) and Mark Wheatley (automotive tutor) have based this challenge on the British TV programme.

There are four teams; Fox Harriers, Aoraki United, Godley City and Coupland Athletics each led by tutors. Arnold Prasad (automotive), Joanne Fraser (business), Cody McMinn (painting & decorating) and Steve Le Corre (hospitality).


Every student who is enrolled at our campus has been put into four groups. If students can’t make it, they can still add points to their teams with other activities throughout the day.

  1. Outdoor Education – treasure hunt
  2. ‘Ara’s got talent’ singers’ rappers’ rhymers’ dancers and poets
  3. ‘Blind folded cake decorating’. A member from each team was given instructions on decorating a cup cake blind-folded from the other members of the team
  4. ‘Hungry Hippos’
  5. ‘Ara quiz day’ – music, general knowledge, films
  6. ‘Ara Kahootz’
  7. Inflatable obstacle courses on the green (today). Come and check it out!

Grand final today and there will a huge Barbecue 4-5pm thanks to Gene Foster and Wally Katene.


Thanks to Amanda from Fonterra who has been supporting us by donating cheeses and will attend prize giving and Leonie Rasmussen for being so supportive and contributing to every event.


Prize Money – 1st $300, 2nd $150, 3rd $75, 4th $50 and a trophy presentation from Fonterra.

Events have been held monthly on a Wednesday 3- 4pm followed by a barbecue – thanks Gene and Wally (hospitality tutors).

Helen Purdon

Library Assistant- Timaru Campus

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day and there is a lot to like about the good feelings that stem from being kind to someone, or by having someone be kind towards you, or simply by being kind to yourself.

World Kindness Day is about thinking about how we can become happier, and help the world by doing kind things for ourselves and others.

Today is also referred to as Radom Acts of Kindness Day and you can find information about being a RAKtavist and many, many, suggestions for kind acts at RAK

Join us at the City Campus Library for Random Acts of Kindness Day where we have created a large scale dice that you can roll and it will reveal a kindness suggestion, plus you will receive a small gift form us. This activity starts at 10 am and will continue until there are no treats left.



What act of kindness will you do today?