Wellington City Leaders Thank SGINZ Members, Impressed with SGINZ Youth
Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade Brown thanked the SGINZ members for putting together such an amazing concert to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Wellington City’s Nuclear-Weapon Free Declaration on Saturday 14 April 2012.
“Terrific!” she said. “It went well and people were both delighted to catch up with old friends and excited for young people to commit to the future”.
Councillor Helene Ritchie who initiated the public concert also sent a message of thanks “How can I thank you enough? You were [all] great. A fantastic effort and please thank all concerned. It was all just right”.
Wellington City Council with Soka Gakkai International New Zealand organised the public concert in Civic Square on 14 April 2012. 400-500 people grooved to the music of APRA Silver Scroll winner Don McGlashan, multiple award-winning musicians Warren Maxwell and Anika Moa, alongside Wellington performers Bella Kalolo and Sam Manzanza and band. The performers were organised by SGINZ.
SGI at the Mayoral Reception
In addition to the public concert, a Mayoral reception was held in Wellington City Council Chambers for invited guests, diplomats and participants in the Nuclear Weapon Free movement. Among the speakers were former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former Labour Cabinet Minister Graham Kelly and Dame Laurie Salas.
SGINZ General Director Jimi Wallace shared SGI’s 50 year history in advocating nuclear abolition, including second Soka Gakkai President Josei’s Toda’s historic declaration against nuclear weapons in 1958. “Our current President Daisaku Ikeda was among those youth, and has striven to realise the ideals of Toda, who was his mentor in life. These included two 13 million nuclear abolition signature campaigns and the current campaign The People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition. Also, 30 years ago, Ikeda started issuing annual peace proposals with several of his proposal being adopted by the United Nations”.
As Jimi Wallace shared Soka Gakkai first President Makiguchi’s theory that peace will emanate from the centre of the water hemisphere, i.e. New Zealand, the Mayor and Councillor Ritchie nodded in affirmation.
Long-time anti-nuclear activist and SGINZ Auckland women’s member Laurie Ross also paid a moving tribute to her father, Larry Ross, to a standing ovation at the reception. Larry Ross established the New Zealand Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Committee in 1981 and Laurie worked closely with her father at that time. “My father is now dying from a stroke in Christchurch hospital... But I know he would want me to speak at the Wellington Nuclear Free Peace City event” she said.
Passing the flame to the next generation
The reception ended with Councillor Ritchie “passing the flame” to the current generation of youth, which included SGINZ Chapter YWD leader Lindsey Crummett, Isabelle Nelson, Amy Robertson, Tui Parker, Jia Xi Lee, Astrid Klein and Louis Baker. Lindsey expressed her determination to ensure that future generations can enjoy a world free of nuclear weapons.
The day left YWD member Isabel Nelson inspired. “The main message I took away with me was that this was not only something to commemorate but something that we must keep alive for the future generations. Imagine if the whole world adopted the Nuclear Free stance…”
“I was fortunate enough to be amongst the youth chosen to pass along the candle. I got to stand alongside the amazing people that helped shape NZ into what it is today. I felt a deep sense of appreciation, awe and a surge of responsibility to be in the presence of these people who all made me feel welcome and who placed such importance and emphasis on us youth! Before the SGI I don’t think I had met a group of people that encouraged the youth to stand up and take on such great responsibilities – It is wonderful to know that there are a network of people that unshakeably believe in your capabilities, I now too believe I am a Young Woman who can go out and make a difference to the world”.
More words of thanks and appreciation
What an impressive bunch of young people.
(Councillor Helen Ritchie)
Thank you SGINZ members for all your work. While UNA or NCCD couldn’t have pulled it off, you did and I know how much work you put into it. I thought you could do it and you did magnificently. So thank you
(Robin Halliday, UNANZ)
I hope you will pursue the aspirations you have and the activities you mentioned. If in doubt, take the plunge. It’s amazing how much you will achieve to make the world a better place.
(Graham Kelly, ex Cabinet Minister; Peace Foundation Board member)
I cannot thank each of you enough for the amazing event you organised in just a short space of time. It was a fantastic event and a worthy anniversary to commemorate.
(Lachlan McKay, Vice President UNANZ)