World’s Longest Peace Message Displayed In NZ
World’s Longest Peace Message Displayed In New Zealand
One thousand people joined a “Peacing It Together” Peace Day celebration in the city’s Tihiotonga Centennial Park on Sunday November 17, where a 1.8 km-long peace message made of coloured cut-out doves was displayed.
“We’ve submitted the measurements to the Guinness Book of Records,” commented local Soka Gakkai International-New Zealand (SGI-NZ) representative Ian Gordon, “They said this is a first – they don’t have a category for peace messages yet!”
The doves were sent to schools all over New Zealand several months ago, and 7,500 of them were returned with personal messages of peace before being joined together so that the entire park was ringed by the doves. “Peace,” wrote Sumner Cuff, aged 10, “is being loved and loving others, knowing new people and being alive.”
Coorganized by SGI-NZ and the Rotorua District Council, with other local groups, the event featured songs by local musicians Many Hands, and dances and performances to honour peace leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, as well as Maori and Pacific Island peacemakers. The key message was the power of one individual to create peace.
Rotorua Mayor Grahame W. Hall welcomed guests, stating his belief that “Peace begins with individuals, flows into our communities, and extends across international borders into the global community.” Messages from New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda were also read out at the gathering. Both stressed the key role that New Zealand and the City of Rotorua have played in the promotion of a world without nuclear weapons.
Preston Zhang, President of the Auckland-based Asia Pacific Culture Connections Centre, announced the presentation of the award of “Peace Messenger and Bridge of Culture” to Dr. Ikeda in recognition of his efforts to promote cultural and educational exchange.
The Tihiotonga Centennial Park was gifted to Rotorua City by the SGI in 2000. It contains a peace monument with words of peace from New Zealanders and the first three presidents of the SGI Buddhist association.
SGI has over 12 million members in 185 countries and territories. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are based on the longstanding traditions of Buddhism humanism.
SOURCE: Soka Gakkai International