Bonds blossom at Japanese garden

Last Updated : 28 Aug 2023
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Henderson-Massey Local Board members and students from from Kakogawa City.
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Local Board members, Will Flavell (left) and Brooke Louder greeted the students in Japanese.
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Two of the Kakogawa students rang the special peace bell.

A group of Japanese junior high school students from Kakogawa City have been given a taste of home by Henderson-Massey Local Board and given a reminder of the special links between Kakogawa and west Auckland.

The students, on an educational tour of New Zealand, were welcomed by board members to the iconic Japanese garden complex adjacent to Henderson Civic Buildings.

The garden, gifted to the people of west Auckland by Waitākere City’s sister city Kakogawa, was a special stop in their 10-day visit to New Zealand.

Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair, Chris Carter,  former MP for Te Atatu and NZ Education Minister, in welcoming the students said “It was a great pleasure to host you in our local area. Kakogawa City has a special connection to west Auckland and we hope this trip will help you better understand our country."

The Henderson Massey Local Board was in a strong position to welcome the Japanese visitors with two Local Board members, Will Flavell and Brooke Louder fluent in the Japanese language. Both addressed the students in their native tongue and explained the special connections between the former Waitākere City and their home city of Kakogawa.

The special peace bell, gifted to former Mayor Bob Harvey, by the city of Kakogawa was sounded by two of the Kakogawa students who also joined their fellow students in performing a traditional Japanese dance. Board members sang 'Te Aroha', a waiata (song) about love and peace, as a greeting for the students.

The Japanese garden adjacent to Henderson Civic Building is inspired by the traditional 'Viewing Gardens' that originated in 15th century Japan. The Henderson-based garden combines New Zealand natives with exotic and Japanese plants and is designed to reflect the partnership between Waitākere City and Kakogawa.

The former Waitākere City Council and the city of Kakogawa signed their friendship agreement back in 1991 and became sister cities the following year.

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