In late July Bill and Donas Nathan, as cultural delegates representing the Wellington Sakai association, accompanied Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and her 26-strong business, civic and cultural delegation to Japan and China. The one full day in Sakai began with a warm welcomed by the Mayor of Sakai, Osami Takeyama and members of Sakai City Council. ‘’A lot was achieved in the short time we spent in Sakai,” Mayor Wade-Brown said. The Wellington delegation handed over 503,000 yen ($7449.43) raised by Wellingtonians on a recent Sushi day to aid Japan’s earthquake and tsunami recovery.
A further sum of 228,000 yen ($3376.68) from fundraising activities was passed over by the Wellington Sakai Association towards earthquake recovery. “We firmed up our Sister City relationship, which began in 1994, and this will help promote business opportunities for Wellington in Sakai,“ said the mayor. The delegation also visited the Bureau of Culture and Tourism, Environment, Industrial Promotion and Board of Education and after lunch the Sakai Chamber of
Commerce and Industry. We also firmed up our plans to bring the Japan Festival back to Wellington in 2012 with the donation of cherry trees for Wellington City.’ A very special moment for the delegation was a visit to the Women’s Centre. A visit to the Mega Solar Power Plant late in the afternoon concluded the formal activities for the day.
In the evening the delegation attended a welcome reception by the Sakai Wellington Association there Bill and Donas led the delegation in support of the Mayor with Maori action songs and poi. Although in Sakai for only one full day, delegation members were touched by the warmth of the reception, mutual business opportunities and the strength of the relationship that bodes well for the future between Wellington and Sakai.