Kia ora: Planning is progressing for the NZ Humanist Conference and IHEU General Assembly 3- 6 August. We have inspiring speakers and meeting with both international humanists and our fellow humanist kiwis will be a stimulating occasion. Blasphemy Law in NZ is getting closer in its progress towards repeal. Submissions for the Repeal of Section 123 of the Crimes Act close on Thursday 10 May. Both of these need US. Do put in a submission and do come to the Conference. The magic is US.

Monthly meeting: Monday May 7 6.30pm til 9.00pm

Workshop on the draft NZ Humanist Manifesto

In 2017 the Humanist Society of NZ and the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists (NZARH) began a collaborative exercise of developing a Humanist Manifesto for new Zealand. The idea of the Humanist Manifesto was prompted by the 2017 General Election. The intent is to establish a set of common issues which describe an NZ society where secular, humanist and rationalist values are upheld. The NZ Humanist Manifesto would be an indicative guide for politicians of how the non-religious community views public ethical issues in NZ contemporary society.

An early draft was published in the August 2017 Humanist Newsletter. The NZARH also published a draft in the Presidents’ Corner of The Open Society Vol 90, No 3, Sept 2017. On Monday 30 July there will be a public Parliamentary Function at the Beehive, Wellington to welcome our IHEU guests. At this gathering we will formally present the NZ Humanist Manifesto. We will use our May monthly meeting to further define our ‘draft’ Manifesto and ready it for presentation. We are following a series of Humanist Manifestos beginning with Humanist Manifesto I written in 1933. Humanist Manifesto II and III were written 1973 and 2003. These three were produced by the American Humanist Association. In 1980 the Council for Secular Humanism founded by Paul Kurtz wrote A Secular Humanist Declaration.  This was further developed by Kurtz in 2000 as the Humanist Manifesto 2000. In 2002 the Amsterdam Declaration 2002 was passed unanimously by the General Assembly of the IHEU at the 50th anniversary World Humanist Congress. This declaration is seen by the IHEU, “as the official statement of World Humanism.” Our NZ Humanist Manifesto is a local adaptation. Please join us on Monday, as your input into this document is very much welcomed.

All interested people are welcome, Society members and members of the public – bring a friend.

Venue: Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St in the George Room

More about those Manifestos

Humanist Manifesto I, (1933), was issued by an ad hoc group; with the sole exception of philosopher John Dewey, all its promulgators were Unitarian ministers. It is unique among the manifestos in that it explicitly regards humanism as a new religion.

Humanist Manifesto II (1973) was drafted by Free Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz and surviving Manifesto I coauthor Edwin H. Wilson under the auspices of the American Humanist Association. It rejected the religious orientation of its predecessor, defining humanism as secular and nonreligious.

A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980) was drafted by Manifesto II coauthor Paul Kurtz. It was promulgated as the founding document of the organization now known as the Council for Secular Humanism, co-publisher of Free Inquiry magazine.

Humanist Manifesto 2000 (1999) was drafted by Paul Kurtz and first appeared in the Fall 1999 issue of Free Inquiry. It expanded on previous documents in the series by, among other things, calling for a planetary approach to humanism and further emphasizing humanism’s dependence upon scientific naturalism.

Humanist Manifesto III (2003), also known as Humanism and Its Aspirations, was drafted by a committee under the auspices of the American Humanist Association. It is (by design) the briefest of the manifestos.

Amsterdam Declaration 2002, this is the Manifesto with which we in NZ are perhaps the most familiar.

Humanism is ethical. Humanism is rational. Humanism supports democracy and human rights Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility.  Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognises the transforming power of art. Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our time. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere. The Amsterdam Declaration explicitly states that Humanism rejects dogma, and imposes no creed upon its adherents.

2018 Humanist Conference and International Humanist & Ethical Union (IHEU) General Assembly 3-6 August

This gathering is a collaborative event with the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (NZARH)

Thank You NZ Humanist Charitable Trust!!  A grant of $5000 has been approved by the Trust to support this August national gathering of humanists and rationalists in NZ. We are very appreciative of this help to fund our international speakers. This Trust Fund is the legacy of Humanist Society of NZ member Eileen Bone who loved discourse on humanist values and issues.

Request for Sponsorship: An international event such as our August Humanist Conference requires sponsorship so that we can keep registration fees down. We invite interested persons to consider making a Conference donation. Any donation over $5 is tax refundable. A breakdown of donation spending will be provided. You donation will be acknowledged and it is hoped that a small function for contributors to meet our international and NZ speakers could be arranged. Donations can be made to our account:  bnz 02-0392-0094973-000 with the Reference ‘Conference and your name’. Please also email with your contact details.


Request for Homestay Accommodation: We are receiving enquiries from young people overseas wishing to attend the Humanist Conference. These young people could be assisted with homestay accommodation. Young humanists from some countries will need to apply for an NZ Visitors Visa as their country may not have visa waiver status. In such situations it is a prerequisite for applicants to have pre-arranged accommodation noted on their application. As the Visa processing time is 2 months it is necessary to begin Visa application now. If you are interested in helping with a homestay for a young Conference attendee please contact Gaylene:

Parliamentary Welcome Function 30 July 5.30pm Beehive

To begin this IHEU NZ visit there will be a prior event in Wellington on Monday 30 July. This is a Parliamentary Welcome Function being held at the Beehive. Sara Passmore, our HSNZ President and Peter Harrison, NZARH President will launch the NZ Humanist Manifesto – a collaborative document with HSNZ and NZARH. We will also hear from Andrew Copson, of Humanists UK and the IHEU, and Dr Leo Igwe, the founder of the Nigerian Humanist Society. After the welcome there will be dinner at the Whitby Restaurant at the James Cook Hotel. Some of our visitors will travel up to Auckland by car and it is thought that we may travel together over two days up to Auckland. After the Conference and General Assembly there are plans for some travel together down to Hobbiton, Rotorua, Waitomo Caves and back to Auckland. The James Cook Hotel is offering a discounted room rate if you are attending from outside Wellington. To make a room reservation use the link below:


You are very welcome to join the ‘road trip’ north and also the post –conference travel.

There is more information on and also see Events on our Facebook page Humanist Society of NZ


NZ Humanist Conference & IHEU General Assembly

Conference Venue:  Hotel Heritage Auckland is our Conference venue. This hotel is in downtown Auckland Hobson St and is set within the iconic Farmers Building which many may remember from childhood days.

Conference Website: to register go to

Conference Dates and programme outline: We will begin with a social gathering Friday 3 August which will include a Humanist Quiz with the winning team of four receiving a collection of 4 signed A C Grayling books. Saturday 4 August will be the Humanist Conference with a dinner in the evening with Sunday 5 August, the General Assembly. All are welcome to attend the General Assembly to observe the inner workings of the IHEU.

Conference Speakers

Eru Hiko-Tahuri and Te Henare,

In the 2013 census 46% of Māori said they had no religion. However, Eru Hiko-Tahuri, who blogs and writes under the name The Heretical Hori states that ‘there are very few Māori who would admit to being atheist”.

Eru Hiko-Tahuri, and founder of Maori Atheists and Freethinkers Te Henare, will talk about about being atheists, letting go of superstition, and navigating the Māori world where almost everything is permeated with notions of spirituality and religion.

Andrew Copson

Secularism – separation of church and state and the elimination of legal religious discrimination – has many opponents. Some of these opponents are theocrats, making explicitly religious arguments against secularism. But others are not and make non-religious arguments against this way of ordering politics and the state. Even in majority non-religious societies, can we therefore be confident that secularism will follow? Andrew Copson, President of IHEU and author of Secularism: politics, religion, and freedom (OUP, 2017), will explore some of the secular arguments against secularism and try to answer this question.

In conversation with Auntie Jackie

The Aunties meet the material needs for the people who use community services. Auntie Jackie states firmly that “If you aren’t about giving with love, and no judgement, then this isn’t the charity for you.” Find out more about the difference this grass roots effort is making to the lives of women, children and families, their unique kaupapa, and how this unique model developed to sustainably serve the community.

Leo Igwe

Lucky Not So Lucky: Humanist Activism in a World Threatened by Religious Extremism

Drawing from his experiences living and working as a humanist in Africa, Leo Igwe will show that irrational beliefs and violent fanaticisms that rage in places across Africa have transnational roots and connections. Superstitious and dogmatic beliefs pose a serious threat to our common humanity. He contends that active involvement of all humanists – whether in New Zealand or in Papua New Guinea – is needed to eradicate irrational beliefs worldwide.

Imtiaz Shams,

Founder of Faith to Faithless, has been using his experience founding ‘tech for good’ start-ups to help apostates who leave conservative religions. He’s in New Zealand in August speaking on his experience and the work of his organisation

Gulalai Ismail

Recipient of Anna Politkovskaya Award 2017, Chirac Foundation Conflict Prevention Award- 2016 Laureate, Commonwealth Youth Award 2015, International Humanist Award 2014, 2013 NED Democracy Award, Recognized among 100 Leading Global Thinkers 2013, Honored by NED among “30 Under 30”,2013,Youth Action Net Fellow 2009.

Gulalai is a Pashtun human rights activist from Pakistan and chairperson of Aware Girls and the Seeds of Peace network. She speaks on the subject of promoting peace in Pakistan and women’s empowerment at conferences internationally and is the recipient of the 2014 International Humanist of the Year Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and of the Fondation Chirac Peace Prize.

At the age of 16, she founded the non-government organisation Aware Girls with her sister Saba Ismail. Aware Girls aims to challenge the culture of violence and the oppression of women in the rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area in the north west of Pakistan.

In 2010, Ismail set up the Seeds of Peace network, training young people in human rights and political leadership, encouraging the participation of women in politics in Pakistan, and encouraging tolerance between people of differing faiths.Her work is characterised by promoting peace and pluralism; challenging religious extremism and militancy; promoting good governance in areas stricken by militancy, providing civic education to young people; strengthening democracy; and political mainstreaming of young women.

Catherine Low, Manager of Community, Effective Altruism

A founding member of Effective Altruism New Zealand, she has been involved in effective altruism outreach for the last two years, giving presentations to any group who could possibly be convinced to listen, and has worked with Students for High-Impact Charity developing and trialling their educational resources.


Submissions close Thursday 10 May 2018

Your help in the campaign to repeal Blasphemy Law is very much appreciated. Write a submission now. A submission may be made online by using the link below.

Scroll down page.Tick ‘I am not a robot’ and then click on ‘I AM READY TO MAKE MY SUBMISSION NOW’

Section 123 of the Act contains an offence of blasphemous libel. This offence has not been prosecuted in New Zealand since 1922 and may conflict with freedom of expression now protected under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. To help with your submission look at website