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Amberley’s Pounamu Touchstone of Friendship

A magnificent pounamu touchstone was unveiled in Amberley’s Garden of Reflection, Chamberlain Park, on Tuesday this week.

Te Hau Anglem entrusted the pounamu touchstone to Hurunui District Council to symbolise the importance of friendships within different communities. Nigel Harris explained the significance of pounamu to mana whenua and provided a blessing.

Amberley’s new Pounamu Touchstone of Friendship promotes aroha and friendship across all cultures and represents the special relationship the Hurunui District has with Changping District, Beijing and Honghu City, Hubei in China. The unveiling was done by Mayor Winton Dalley and Consul General Wang from the Chinese Consulate, to recognise these special relationships.

Amberley artist Sharon Earl designed the steel bracket for the pounamu touchstone using a river motif, while brothers Pete and Paul Hackett built the stand using local stone and fossils. The pounamu was blessed by Nigel Harris of mana whenua.

A large yin and yang mosaic, built by the Hurunui Youth Council from local river stones, was also unveiled during the afternoon ceremony. The mosaic was designed to celebrate the life and work of New Zealander Rewi Alley, who spent his early years in Amberley but is famous in China as having contributed to the Chinese Revolution and helped establish technical training schools.

Mayor Winton Dalley said the council is delighted to see both the pounamu and the mosaic within Amberley’s Garden of Reflection. He explained the garden represents the important relationships between:
• The Changping District in Beijing, the Honghu City Hubei and the Hurunui
• New Zealand and China (i.e. trade, tourisms, culture etc.)
• Rewi Alley, China and the Hurunui (historic)
• Hurunui youth and youth in China

“Through these relationships we are finding common ground in education, tourism, culture, sports and much more” Mayor Dalley said. “School students in the Hurunui and Changping districts are collaborating with each other through a web-based platform that extends beyond their classrooms to their families and wider communities. It is hoped that these students will become globally aware citizens in a world of inter-connectivity, globalisation and constant change” he said.

Anyone who would like to know more about the histories and relationships represented in Amberley’s Garden of Reflection, can read about them through the on-site story boards.

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