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- New Zealand 5 March: Auckland - Day 1 of the Asia Pacific run
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New Zealand 5 March: Auckland - Day 1 of the Asia Pacific run
5 MARCH 2012 – LIVE FROM THE ROAD
The sun poured out its radiant magnificence on those who gathered for the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Asia-Pacific World Harmony Run 2012. We were blessed by the presence of many diplomats, politicians, community leaders and interested members of the public.
Auckland was fortunate enough to host the very start of the torch relay which will cover thousands of miles across Asia and Australasia.
Numerous lives will be touched by the message of universal peace and harmony that accompanies the torch and those from all different backgrounds who carry it with them.
The Grand Opening Ceremony was held in Aotea Square, the central public space of Auckland city and the site of numerous peace marches and demonstrations in New Zealand history.
Our MC was Allison Roe, one of New Zealand’s sporting heroes. She topped the women’s field in the New York marathon in 1981, breaking the world record.
Adhiratha Keefe, who has served UN organizations for over three decades, gave an international perspective to the event. He also highlighted some excepts from the message of Dr. Davidson Hepburn, President of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the 25th Anniversary of the Peace and Harmony runs. On the 40th anniversary of the UN, In 1985, Adhiratha was the first UN staff member to swim across the English channel.
Members of Parliament from New Zealand’s two main political parties offered words of encouragement:
Member of Parliament Jacinda Ardern addressed the children gathered in the Square, and spoke about her own experience bringing together people from many different cultures towards a common goal.
Nikki Kaye, who represents the Auckland Central electorate, spoke of the importance of loving one another to live in peace.
Teacher Marian Sinclair brought together a powerful choir of children from Marina View School, whose angelic voices echoed towards the nearby town hall.
Eden Roberts, a gifted songwriter and musician from Western Springs College, entertained the crowd with her melodic voice.
Golden Grove is a Montessori primary school with a holistic peace philosophy. Their children offered a peace waiata (song).
We were lucky enough to have Faith Miru, a Baha'i singer/songwriter from Hamilton who offered two excellent original songs dedicated to peace and unity: an a capella followed by a reggae-style tune with guitar
Faith (her daughter is pictured above) was a standout performer at the National Interfaith Forum 2012.
Next, the World Harmony Run team honoured two special people who have worked tirelessly for the cause of world peace for many years.
Laurie Ross, one of the main drivers behind the recent declaration of Auckland as a ‘City for Peace’, was the first recipient of a Torch-Bearer Award.
Bob Harvey was mayor of Waitakere City for many years and was an active member of Mayors for Peace. He is well-known for his service to the community, his love of peace and dedication to the environment. He received a Torch-Bearer Award today for his good heart and kind actions.
Just before the torch relay start, Matt Maihi of Ngati Whatua O Orakei offered a karakia (prayer) to offer goodwill and blessings for the World Harmony Run journey.
Laurie Ross had the honour of being the first to light the torch.
Dignitaries assembled on the stage and passed the torch to each other.
Even the statue of Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, Auckland’s longest-serving mayor, got a chance to hold the torch.
Then they were off! Lisa Robertson, Auckland Marathon women’s recordholder, led the charge.
The other members of the team struggled to keep up.
Special thanks to our Guests of Honour and performers:
• Allison Roe (Master of Ceremonies);
• Michael Crawford (Australian Consul-General);
• Hachiro Ishida (Japanese Consul-General);
• Long Yanping (Chinese Cultural Consul);
• Jacinda Ardern (MP)
• Nikki Kaye (MP for Auckland Central);
• Melissa Lee (MP);
• Dr. Rajen Prasad (MP);
• Linda Cooper (former Waitakere councillor);
• Bob Harvey QSO (former Waitakere mayor);
• Jeffree Clarkson (iconic New Zealand musician);
• Precious McKenzie (Commonwealth Games weightlifting champion);
• Lisa Robertson (Auckland Marathon champion);
• Laurie Ross (Coordinator, Auckland Peace City Committee);
• Dr. Toshala Elliott;
• Dr. Melody Lin
• Matt Maihi (Ngati Whatua O Orakei);
• Golden Grove School;
• Marian Sinclair and the Marina View School choir;
• Faith Miru and
• Eden Roberts.
Ken Malloney from The Sports Box, Parnell who generously provided a support vehicle for the World Harmony Run
• And many thanks to all the rest who came to show their support.
We rounded off a great first day with a visit to Rauawaawa, a very special charity set up to support elderly people from all cultures and backgrounds in a uniquely Maori way.
We were welcomed in the traditional way by the Kaumatua (elders)along with the Kaimahi (workers).
We were then treated to a wonderful dinner which was made even more emjoyable when the Kaumatua got up and sang during the meal. We responded with a spirited rendering of the World Harmony Run song.
The Kaumatua and Kaimahi passed the World Harmony Torch at the conclusion of the evening. They held the torch with great reverence and offered heart felt prayers for peace.
Members of the team felt that the elders and workers of Rauawaawa embody the old Maori saying about love, generosity of spirit and oneness:
"The corners of the house may be seen, but not the corners of the heart."
Sarah Oliver from Hamilton City Council was
instrumental in organising both our welcome dinner with the Rauwaawa Maori Elders and our accomodation at ParentLine House. Thank you so much for your assistance and support, and to Rauwawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust for a fun filled evening!
Video Message from Davidson Hepburn, President (2009 - 2011) of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for 25th Anniversary of the World Harmony Run and a vision for the decade: "Toward a Oneness-World".
Full Text of the 25th annversary message and link to 25 language informal Translations: http://www.worldharmonyrun.org/25or Click on language button for separate youtube videos wth sub titles in varous languages
- Youtube video on African experience which illustrates IYY slogan "Our Year Our Voice" International Year of Youth - Zambia World Harmony. They surprisingly mention Presidents and UN Secretary-General in a unique way!
Edwardo (Mexico), Asankita (New Zealand), Adhiratha (U.S.A), Niryana (New Zealand), Uddipan (New Zealand), Nelson (New Zealand), Pragunya (New Zealand), Karnyati (Canada), Prageeti (New Zealand), Isabella (Mexico), Preetidutta (New Zealand), Stacey (New Zealand), Janette (Germany), Shobhavati (New Zealand), Shvastanee (New Zealand), Hridayinee (Australia)
Gallery: See more images!
New Zealand 6 March >|