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I was pleased to see, in The Press, a photo of David Bolam-Smith with a certificate from the Japanese foreign minister recognising David’s gift of a kahikatea sculpture to Toyama City to remember 28 Japanese students from that city’s Toyama College who died in the collapse of the Christchurch Canterbury Television Building in February 2011.  The certificate David received recognised his efforts to promote understanding and friendly relations between New Zealand and Japan.  He has been involved as a volunteer working for Christchurch sister cities’ programme for 20 years.

I was amazed to hear during our earthquake anniversary this year of the bonds we have with several countries that lost citizens in our disaster.  It is something Christchurch needs to build on to ensure friendships resulting from extreme misfortune endure.  Also, on Television One news, I spotted an item about the changing faces of Christchurch brought about by the necessity to import skilled workers for the city rebuild.  The item suggested new faces will bring a more obvious change to the city’s look than pending new buildings.  That depends how many choose to make Christchurch their home?  In typical television style, it was also claimed Christchurch had the most racist groups in New Zealand and questioned whether we could cope with new, strange, faces amongst us?  Not mentioned was the fact that many New Zealanders involved in worthy peace efforts lived in Christchurch.  That was a reason our city became New Zealand’s first “Peace City” some years ago.  And television got it wrong suggesting we will become a multi-cultural city.  We have been happily multi-cultural for at least a decade.  Welcome Aboard is one company that went to efforts to create a multicultural workplace.  And it became one of the definite advantages of being involved.  One needs to take multi-cultural concepts on board to be successful in tourism.  Our visitors will always be multi-cultural.  I recall one trammie, Trevor Craib, who learned how to greet visitors in their own language.  He even managed Hebrew, along with others….

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Photo: The Press