New Zealand 18 March: Wellington
Wellington and the New Zealand Parliament
We start by planting a Peace Tree in the school-yard, a beautiful New Zealand tree fern, together with Mayor Ray Wallace, school principal Neil Sargisson and children from the Student Council.
The Peace Run is part of their Monday assembly. Before our presentation everyone sings the New Zealand national anthem. At some point the background music stops, but the singing continues. It is a very special moment.
The Torch-Bearer Award is presented to Tribhuvan Shrestha for the contributions he has made to the community. Tribhuvan, originally from Nepal, has been actively involved in several community-based organisations. He has been with the Hutt Multicultural Council for about a decade, which has objectives to promote and protect the interests of the ethnic groups and provide a forum for ethnic groups to share their heritage and identity. He is currently the President of this Council. He was the founding president of the Nepalese Society of Wellington and has been a Justice of the Peace since December 2014.
We dropped into Mitre 10 as we were running low on torch fuel and they topped us up for free! What generosity. Thank you so much Mitre 10 Mega Petone!!
Next stop: Wellington Parliament building, where we meet with Wellington City councillor and good friend, Andy Foster. Andy met the Peace Run in 2017 and as an excellent runner himself, led the team on a run in the Wellington bush. Thank you Andy.
Co-leader of the Green Party, Marama Davidson has been extremely supportive of the run in New Zealand. She formally welcomed the runners and offered kind and encouraging words.
We receive a warm welcome from Priyanca Radhakrishnan, a representative of the New Zealand Labour Party. She and Marama both flew down from Auckland especially to meet the team. Both ladies emphasized the importance of the Peace Run in the wake of recent events in Christchurch. They also stressed how our motto, that peace starts with each one of us, is so important.
Priyanca said: “Your message for today that world peace begins with every one of us is very profound, because it absolutely does, and it must manifest in thought, word and deed…. If there was one time that we needed this here, at the House of Representatives, it is today. I thank you for being here, I thank you for continuing to spread the word of peace and I thank you for the opportunity to join you here today.”
Wellington City councilor Andy Foster said there could not be a more appropriate time to have the Peace Run here in New Zealand. “We are all different, and you all come from different countries, you have differences, but you celebrate these differences. We do not all want to be the same. With our shared humanity and love for each other we will achieve peace.”
The team members introduce themselves and sing the Peace Run song. Natabara from United States shared his personal experiences from the Peace Run in New Zealand.
See the Cook Strait News report by James Adams on the Peace Run arriving at Parliament.