Peace Week marked on Auckland campus


The display of 606 pairs of shoes donated by the loved ones and relatives of the 606 people known to have committed suicide in the last year


Massey University’s Auckland campus marked Peace Week last month with art installations focusing on the theme of justice placed around the campus.

The installations, organised by the campus’ Chaplaincy Team, provided staff, students and those in the University community the opportunity to consider the issues raised by the artworks.

Four instillations were displayed throughout the week, including a circle of eight flesh coloured chairs on the central lawn suggesting the potential for conversation around finding common ground; a sex trafficking exhibit featuring recent articles about the problem in New Zealand; and peace poles reading “may peace prevail on earth” in a variety of languages.

Chaplain Jill Shaw believes the most confronting exhibition however was the display of 606 pairs of shoes donated by the loved ones and relatives of the 606 people known to have committed suicide in the last year.

Ms Shaw said the display was grim and confronting, with almost all that saw it stopping to chat with the chaplains about how they or those in their community had been affected by suicide.

“One postgraduate student spoke of how horrible it would be for her family to see such a display if her suicide attempts had succeeded. She called her husband to tell him that she could now see the experience from a different perspective. Another student was overheard talking to his friend as they walked toward the library, ‘mate! If you ever are thinking suicide again, you ring me. Don't struggle with that alone, man’.”

Ms Shaw says the exhibition is a stark reminder that better mental health support and the ability to discuss the subject in the same manner as other illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, is needed.

The campus’ Peace Week celebrations occur annually in September to coincide with the International Day of Peace.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey