Ōtautahi/Christchurch became New Zealand’s first Peace City in May 2002, also marking the 20th anniversary as the country’s first Nuclear Free City in March 1982. It consolidated Christchurch’s long peace history and demonstrated our city's commitment to actively foster a peaceful future through a range of community initiatives.
These initiatives were based on recommendations from the experts on the UN Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education(external link)(external link), including local peace and disarmament campaigner Dr Kate Dewes ONZM. The study was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2002, which encouraged municipal leaders working with citizen groups to establish peace cities, “through, for example, the creation of peace museums, peace parks, websites and the production of booklets on peacemakers and peacemaking.”
Peace proposals adopted by the Christchurch City Council include establishing a World Peace Bell, gifting a Peace Sculpture to the city of Nagasaki, granting Peace Awards, exhibiting material at the Canterbury Museum about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mahatma Gandhi and New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation, creating a peace collection in the Christchurch library, sourcing memorabilia for the museum and peace archives(external link)(external link) for the Macmillan Brown Library, and creating online content documenting the city’s rich peace heritage.