Centre for Justice and Peacebuilding alum Wayne Marriott to be honoured for New Zealand peacebuilding work. By Randi B. Hagi
Marriott, who provides private conflict coaching, mediation, and other reconciliation services from his practice, Fleetwood Peacebuilders, in Christchurch, said he was humbled by the award.
“This type of recognition from my peers tells me we are not alone in our endeavour,” Marriott said. “Peacebuilding can be a lonely existence, so right now I’m feeling connected to my colleagues. It has created a momentum of camaraderie that I’d like to maintain.”
Marriott has worked in the field of conflict resolution and mediation for 19 years. He pursued graduate studies at EMU “to extend my capability in the field and add to my exposure to other cultures and worldviews,” he said. “EMU offered a tremendous opportunity to learn with a multi-national and multi-faith cohort while learning from some of the best peacebuilders in the world.”
The theories and practices he learned in his studies at EMU helped to guide his response to the March 15, 2019, Christchurch shootings, he said.
A lone gunman killed 51 people were killed and injured 49, including one of Marriott’s acquaintances.
Marriott was returning to his office after an appointment when his son, a police officer, called to say he was responding to the shooting.
“I realised the apparent danger that my son was about to experience. I began to take the event very personally,” Marriott said.
After the gunman was arrested that day, Marriott began to formulate how to respond constructively to the tragedy. To that end, he reached out to those he knew personally who had been injured or affected by the attacks, volunteered his services to advocacy and activist groups, and got involved with a refugee and immigrant support network. He also helped organize a visit with two Kenyan peace scholars, who met with the local branch of the international peace agency Initiatives of Change.
Marriott also brought a little piece of Harrisonburg to Christchurch – by distributing the Welcome Your Neighbor signs, which say in English, Arabic, Maori, Fijian, Samoan and Spanish: No matter where you’re from, we’re glad you’re our neighbour.