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NZ gifts White Horse to Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Japan


Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today formally gifted a white horse to Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan in front of thousands of attendees at a ceremony conducted by Chief Priest Inaba.

The horse named Kōmaru, which means ‘sheltered’ in Maori and ‘shining’ in Japanese, is a white 12-year-old purebred Andalusian gelding. Kōmaru replaces the previous New Zealand white horse, Kōtuku, which passed away in 2017.

The first white horse from New Zealand was gifted to the shrine almost 50 years ago.

“It was an honour to formally hand over the reins of Kōmaru in a presentation ceremony at Toshogu Shrine today. The white horse is a symbol of the enduring friendship and long-standing ties between New Zealand and Japan,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters visited the shrine, located 150km north of Tokyo, today as part of a three-day bilateral visit to Japan including meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, newly appointed Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Defence Minister Taro Kono, alongside a number of other bilateral calls.

The Nikko Toshogu Shrine is one of the most famous buildings in Japan. It was built by the Tokugawa Shoguns, who ruled Japan for over 250 years. It is a World Heritage site and receives almost two million visitors each year.

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