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June 12, 2014 June 2014 No Comments

2014-Red-Cross-celebrationThe International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements celebrate a ‘birthday’ each year on May 8th; the birthdate of Henry Dunant who is the founder of the movement..

Our New Zealand Red Cross is just one of the 186 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. There are over 97 million volunteers worldwide and the organisation prides itself on being free of government influence and being without political, religious or cultural bias.
In 1931, the New Zealand Red Cross Society was formed by Nurse Beth Charpentier in the wake of the Napier earthquake and was officially recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Even before then, the Red Cross had a presence in New Zealand, as a branch of the British Red Cross Society. Community groups raised money and sewing circles were formed to provide warm clothes and bandages for New Zealand and allied servicemen during the First World War. These early groups unified in 1914 to form the New Zealand Branch of the British Red Cross and Order of St John.
The first official Red Cross & Red Crescent Day was held in 1948. Prior to this observance and following the end of the First World War, however, there had been an initiative known as the ‘Red Cross Truce’. Initially this was a three day truce in former Czechoslovakia which took place during Easter time.

At that time, there was general consensus that people wanted peace following years of fighting. The Red Cross Truce led the way for a global peace initiative to be introduced. After the Second World War, and following approval by the Red Cross Executive Committee, the proposal for a worldwide peace day was accepted.

This year the Red Cross turned 99; and our local Group celebrated in style by giving away slices of special birthday cakes to passers-by. A somewhat unconventional occasion turned a few misgivings into smiles and best wishes. The Group wants to thank those lovely people who insisted on offering donations – increasing the Red Cross coffers by $75.00.

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