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‘Nagasaki’ tree for Wellington’s Peace Garden

NEWS RELEASE
17 June 2005

‘Nagasaki’ tree for Wellington’s Peace Garden

A camphor tree, originating from a tree that survived the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, is to be planted by Mayor Kerry Prendergast near the Peace Garden in the Wellington Botanic Garden.

The parent tree, like most others, was burned to the ground in the bombing of the Japanese sea port of Nagasaki on 9 August, 1945. However, the tree regrew and is revered in Japan as a symbol of hope and new beginnings. It sits on the site of a shrine that was almost totally destroyed in the blast.

Three camphor laurel trees, propagated from this tree, were presented to Christchurch by Mayor Itoh of Nagasaki during a visit in May 2002. The gift was in recognition of the support given by New Zealand mayors to the anti-nuclear cause.

The tree being planted in Wellington has been carefully nurtured from a cutting taken from one of those three trees and was given to Wellington by Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore.

Mayor Prendergast, who is a member of the worldwide Mayors for Peace Network, will plant the tree at the foot of Norwood path adjacent to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden at 10am on Monday 27 June.

“The camphor tree is a survivor. It is a testament to the hope that peace can triumph over war and will be an important addition to the Peace Garden which marks this city’s proud stance for peace and nuclear disarmament,” says Mayor Prendergast.

“The Peace Garden is a lasting reminder to Wellingtonians and visitors of the importance of peace in our communities, the important role Wellington has as the capital of a nuclear-free New Zealand to maintain that peace, and the contribution made to world peace by members of our community.”

Already holding pride of place in the Peace Garden is the Peace Flame which was ignited by a flame created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, three days before Nagasaki. The flame was presented by the people of Japan to New Zealand as a salute to our efforts to halt the spread of atomic weapons.

ENDS

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