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Kiwi Kids Take Auckland To The World

11 July 2000


Eight Auckland children will take off this weekend on a trip of a lifetime to represent their city in an event that is the only one of its kind in the world.

The 11-year-olds will share their culture with others from 44 countries at the Asian Pacific Children’s Convention being held in Auckland’s sister city, Fukuoka, in Japan.

“The junior ambassadors are children who are able to look at the world beyond differences in the colour of skin, culture, language and nationality. They are able to express the importance of peace and co-existence in the world,” says Auckland City community projects manager Nancy Sandoy, who is also trip chaperone.

The ambassadors are: Melanie Wood, Mt Roskill, Tama Aromoana, Onehunga, Tony Edmunds, Glendowie, Lisa Robson, Herne Bay, Merepaea Dunn, Grey Lynn, Joseph Pascoe, One Tree Hill, and Thomas McGarry and Lana Blakeley-Hughes, both of Mt Albert.

The children will be in Japan from July 15 to 25. They will have several days of orientation, followed by a homestay programme of up to a week. The homestay includes going to school – a first for the visit as the convention usually takes place during school holidays.

Auckland City is helping to sponsor the project as it provides an opportunity to raise awareness and tolerance of multi-culturalism and to promote global friendships and understanding.

The children were selected from written applications and interviews. Their induction has included meeting last year’s ambassadors, visiting a Japanese restaurant, learning Japanese phrases and familiarising themselves with Japanese culture and the convention’s work.

They will be kitted out with uniforms, some Kiwi gifts to bestow during the trip and even their own business cards, which are popular in Japan.

Judy Collins, Auckland City’s Manager of Community Development, says the training period has already provided valuable experience for the children. Especially exciting for them was meeting Mayor Chris Fletcher when they took part in a council committee meeting.

“They have learnt more about themselves, their community and how their local government works. They will indeed be great ambassadors for Auckland.”

The convention’s ‘building bridges’ theme aims to encourage cultural interaction between Asia and the Pacific. A non-profit organisation, it is supervised by the Fukuoka Junior Chamber Inc. and sponsors include the Fukuoka Prefectural and Municipal Governments, the Board of Education, and businesses and clubs in Fukuoka.


Photo Opportunity : Wednesday, July 12, 5pm, at Auckland City Recreation and Community Services, UDC Building, 35 Graham Street, central city. The children will gather, in their uniforms, in the conference room on level 1 - their final get-together before the trip. Please contact Nancy Sandoy, tel: 379 2020, if you wish to send a photographer, so she can arrange entry to the building.

 For any further information, please contact Judy Collins or Nancy Sandoy, tel: 379 2020.
Ref: JG

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