Topic: Somalia's 50th Anniversary celebrated in Hamilton

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New Zealand celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Somali Nation.

Hamilton's Somali community held an event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Somalia. The event started with the Somali national anthem followed by New Zealand national anthem.



A lot of the crowd were visibly emotional and had held their right hand on top of their heart. Hamilton's Somali students association lined up in front of the crowd on the stage wearing t-shirt with the Somali flag and had been waving the Somali flag singing "somaliyey tosoo".

 The Somali community leader Mr Keyse Awil Abdi Hirad was present and took a great part to organise this event. He shared view words of wisdom pointing out the unity of the Somali Community in Hamilton and how they are not divided like Somalis back home or other cities in New Zealand.

Abdirizak Abdi (Abdirizak wadad), who is one of the founders of the Waikato Somali Friendship Society presented a brief history of Somalia. He deliberately removed from history the shameful parts that Somalis are well known for starting from 1991. Mr Abdi said that he is not the best person to talk about or present the Somali history as there were within the crowd people who were present during the independence of Somalia however Mr Abdi presented a time line of the Somali history dating back to 500s.

The crowd which included children and young people who have got no idea about the Somali history were also presented with documentary from Somali website. This documentary was well researched of the Somali nation's history.

There were also guests present in the crowd, Mr Philip Yeung, Hamilton City Council's Ethnic Development Advisor was invited to speak and admitted that he was learning about the Somali people's history. Mrs Sandra Mackenzie, Ethnic Affairs Advisor for the Office of Ethnic Affairs  was also invited to speak and showed a great interest in the Somali history.

When Somalis first arrived in Hamilton they were mostly women, children and elderly men, this has caused them to slowly integrate. It's very clear that Somalis do not intend or encourage assimilation as some may see this to be integration. Most Somalis views of integration is where they are able to work, positively contribute, understand other communities and live harmony alongside them as well as maintaining their heritage which includes their religion.

Fifteen year later after the Somalis first arrived Hamilton, a research by Shardell Quinn as part of her Masters put the Somali Community in the Waikato area on the spotlight. Ms Quinn's research indicated that New Zealanders where too slow accepting Somalis and most effected was the Somali women because of how they strictly adhere to their traditional dresses. (

Today we can see the fruits of those children. Last year Mr Abdi was the editor of a Somali magazine featuring Somali graduates with degrees, masters and PHD. This has suddenly changed the perception that some may had about the Somali communities around the country ( ). For the Somali Graduate Journal, 2008. Mr Abdi arrived in New Zealand as a refugee from Somalia in May 1993. Before the outbreak of Somalia's civil war, Abdirizak was in his second year of tertiary study, which he continued at Waikato University, going on to complete a Masters of Management Studies.

Mr Abdi has personally produced the Somali Graduate Journal to profile others like him who have come to New Zealand as refugees, but who have gone on to succeed in their studies in Hamilton. Waikato has already produced 24 Somali graduates from Bachelors to PhD, and there are currently 47 others undertaking tertiary study.

As well as profiling graduates of tertiary study, the journal also has articles on Aqiil Farah, the first Somali man to join the New Zealand Army; the first New Zealand Somali student association; information about Somalia; and an article about a Waikato Museum exhibition on Somali culture, Rare View which opened in December 2005.

The Somali community in Hamilton have a long way to go but they are surely on the right track and will achieve greater success. 

Abdul Mohamed
Independent news and community events writer






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Somalia's 50th Anniversary celebrated in Hamilton

Subject:50th Anniversary of Somalia
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Somalia's 50th Anniversary celebrated in Hamilton by Abdul Mohamed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License