Since 1959 when the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile, he has emerged as an international statesman for peace. His consistent refusal to adopt the use of violence in Tibet's struggle for freedom won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the respect of the world community. The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist monk, scholar and the temporal and religious leader of the Tibetan people. He is recognized internationally as a champion of human rights, as an environmentalist, and as an advocate of compassion and personal responsibility
When he visited New Zealand for the first time in 1992, he inspired thousands of people by his steadfast grace and compassion. His words were an uplifting message proclaiming global harmony through individual action. His serene presence was a living testimony of peace even in the face of his exile and the agony of Tibet and its people under 44 years of ruthless domination by the communist Chinese government. He stayed for two nights at the Dhargyey Buddhist Centre, giving a very well attended public talk in the Dunedin town hall, having functions with the local Maori marae, the Mayor and city council and giving advice to the local Buddhist and Tibetan communities.
He again visited New Zealand in September 1996. The visit was a wonderful success with over 30,000 people coming to five public talks in the main centres. In Dunedin this time also a public talk was given in the town hall, spilling over to the Anglican cathedral, he visited the site of Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey's memorial stupa and blessed it. The Maori welcome also occurred at the same time and among the guests were the Dunedin Mayor and local Maori elders.
Inspired by these visits, a separate website about the Dalai Lama was created and has been maintained as a source of information about this wonderful person.