10TH MARCH UPRISING DAY: As usual, our members around the country gathered in various ways to remember the 62nd anniversary of Tibet Uprising Day. In Auckland the memorial service was held at The Cenotaph to remember all those Tibetans who have perished due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Tibetans inside their homeland are still going through very rough times.

The 10th March speech by Dr Lobsang Sangay was ably read by long-time member Peter Dormon. Members of the Auckland Tibetan community joined in reciting the prayers for Long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and prayers for those Tibetans who lost their lives as result of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Speeches were made by various members, one mentioning Tibet’s environment and in particular China’s destruction and the diverting of Tibet’s once pristine waters, which will have long term damage not only to Tibet, but also countries that are fed by these waters. Another member said that we are lucky to have such a leader as His Holiness the Dalai Lama to guide the Tibetan Diaspora in our struggle for freedom. The gathering was well attended by members of Friends of Tibet, Auckland Tibetan Association and the Chinese-Tibetan Friendship group. After the service, the Tibetans provided Tibetan tea and kapsies away from the hallowed ground. ATA members also discussed the upcoming birthday of His Holiness, which will be in July, plus the proposed gathering of all Tibetans in Auckland from throughout New Zealand. FOT members will be invited to celebrate His Holiness’ birthday. More details will be announced in the next newsletter.

Wellington members gathered outside Parliament at lunchtime, Ricardo Menendez March (first MP of Latin American heritage) and Teanau Tuiono (first MP of Pacific Island origin) attended the vigil for a short period. Some members took the opportunity to discuss the reformation of Parliamentary Friendship Group for Tibet with them.

Christchurch members met outside the Chinese consulate.The Consulate seemed to be prepared for something to happen which is good.  Overall there was a good response from passersby except for one angry Chinese youth who attempted to take pictures of us and was promptly sent away by the security guard.

We later stood on corner of  busy main road at peak hour to continue to raise awareness.

We have also written letters to our MPs requesting forming a Parliamentary Friendship Group.  A small but dedicated group but new activists and supporters are needed.for Otautahi Christchurch Friends of Tibet.

More letters have been published in our local paper regarding Tibet.

A full page advertorial by unknown Chinese promoting the progressive modern technology of China was published in The Press March 11.

Generally there is more news in the media focusing on China but seldom Tibet.

Report by Claire Coveney

Parliamentary Friendship Group for Tibet:  Prior to 10th March I wrote to all 120 Members of Parliament to ask them to join with FOT members on Parliament steps, and requested that they join a rejuvenated Parliamentary Friendship group for Tibet. To my disappointment very few replied to my letter. However, I wrote to those MPs asking them to gather a few other MPs who may be interested and I would go to Parliament to meet them. I am hopeful that that will come about.

Best wishes and Tashi Delek

Thuten Kesang

National Chairman