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Wellington Sakai Association Events 2015-16 Executive Year

14 July 2015 - Andrew Wharton’s presentation after
representing Wellington at the Senshu Marathon in February
Andrew is a member of Wellington Scottish Athletics Club who has
called Wellington home for the last ten years. He has run several
marathons, including the Boston marathon in 2013 and 2014. Andrew
studied Japanese in high school, and has family who live in Tokyo.
The Senshu Marathon started in 1992. A Wellington resident has been
selected to be an ambassador for the city, by running in the Senshu
marathon in Japan since 1994. Wellington is sending a runner again in
2016. The marathon runs through Sakai and the other ten districts of
south part of Osaka, which used to be called ‘Senshu’. Athletes from
other Sakai’s sister cities, Berkeley in the United States and
Lianyungang in China, also travel to run the marathon. Around 4000
runners participate to the marathon. The marathon took place on 15
February 2015. You can see his full report and photos on our website.
As Wellington’s representative, Andrew travelled to Sakai for a week
(6 nights), with all expenses met by the Sakai City Government.
Andrew stayed in both a hotel and home-stay accommodation, visited
various attractions and cultural facilities in the Sakai, Osaka and Kyoto
area and met the Mayor of Sakai.
5 September 2015 – Bento
(Japanese lunchbox) class
WSA joined together with the
JET Alumni Association
(JETAA) of Wellington to
present a bento making
workshop, with a view to
encouraging more people to
make their own bento to enjoy
under the cherry blossoms at the
annual WSA hanami (cherry
blossom viewing) picnic later in
26 people attended, including
members of both WSA and
JETAA as well as the general
public. After a demonstration of
various cutting techniques to
create 'deco-ben' (decorative bento) participants were invited to create their own designs, using bento making
supplies that we ordered from Japan. Some designs included spelling "Sakai" out of Japanese characters in
cheese slices, and shapes of Sakai's famous "kofun" cut out of seaweed. Some bento staples, including the
famous Japanese potato salad, fried prawns and egg rolls were provided by Tatsushi Restaurant. Every
participant received their own bento box to take home. To see more of the beautiful bentos see our website.

27 September 2015 - Cherry
Blossom Picnic in Katherine
Mansfield Park
This year's hanami picnic was
postponed a week due to bad
weather on the original date but it
was great to see about 15 WSA
members, friends and family get
together at Katherine Mansfield
Memorial Park. It is a lovely space
hidden away in Thorndon and has a
number of cherry trees donated by
Sakai in 2007 and again in 2012 so it
was great to share food together
while appreciating these beautiful
gifts from our sister city.
This year we enjoyed some lovely
food catered by Yoshi Sushi and
Bento, along with some beautiful bentos made by members who had attended the bento class several weeks
earlier. Ms Fujimoto, the Director of the Japanese Information and Cultural Centre, was the judge, and chose
the best bento based on appearance of taste, colour, and bonus points for Sakai/Hanami theme. The winning
bento was produced by Natalie McTeigue, who took home a bento box and bag ordered from Japan.
10 November 2015 – Sake Tasting Evening at Tuatara Breweries
Shiggy Takagi from Funk Estate Brewery hosted a sold out sake tasting event for WSA at the Tuatara Beer’s
Third Eye Brewery Bar space. The event featured sake from our host city Sakai among others from the Osaka
region, paired with a unique food match prepared by Tatsushi restaurant. The event finished off with Japanese
whisky paired with
chocolate from the
Wellington Chocolate

18 December 2015 – Bonenkai (End of year / Christmas Party) at Ozeki with WXA
We enjoyed our annual Christmas party with the Wellington Xiamen
Association (WXA), held this year at Ozeki. It was really fun to be able
to get to know our fellow sister city friends and share ideas.

1 – 7 February 2016 – Display at the Wellington Central Library to celebrate our anniversary
To celebrate the anniversary of the signing of our sister-city relationship on 4 February,
WSA prepared a window display at the Wellington Central Library to promote Sakai, and WSA.

4 February 2016 – Shinnenkai (Party to celebrate the start of the New Year) and Summer Evening Picnic
to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of our sister-city relationship with Sakai
We celebrated the 22nd anniversary of our sister-city relationship with Sakai in Katherine Mansfield Park
where a number of trees and a mini kofun garden donated from Sakai are planted with a summer evening picnic.
There were some nibbles catered by Tatsushi and everyone also bought along a plate of food to share. Some
members even dressed up in Japanese clothes which added to the summer picnic atmosphere.
We welcome Octavia Gordon as a new member who has just moved here from the Hawkes Bay. It was a great
event and an unofficial start to the JkaiWA conversation classes that start up again in March (held at the Japan
Information and Culture Centre (JICC)) and are organised in conjunction with the Wellington JET Alumni
Association and the Japan Society of Wellington.

19 - 20 March 2016 – CupaDupa Festival with Japanese Taiko Groups
WSA supported four taiko (Japanese drumming groups) from across the
Wellington region to purchase lanterns, hand-held “den-den daiko” drums and
other marketing collateral, which then prominently featured the WSA logo.
WSA members also marched in the Cuba Duba taiko parade alongside
28 - 30 April 2016 – Sister Cities New Zealand (SCNZ) Conference - Nelson
This year’s conference in beautiful sunny Nelson was attended by Frances
Yamada (WSA President) and Raewyn MacGregor (WSA Committee member)
which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Nelson – Miyazu Sister City
Relationship. There were a number of speakers over two days including Nelson
Mayor Rachel Reese, Nancy Huppert from Sister Cities International, Mark Pearson from MFAT, Mary Carter
from the Miyazu Sister City Association, Selwyn District Mayor Coe, Bing Lou from the Youth Subcommittee
of SCNZ, Katsunori Kamibo from CLAIR. Bill Wilson from Sister Cities Australia, Jonathan Glassey an Asia
NZ Foundation Intern, Christine Ward from the NZ Friendship Society Nelson Branch, Aaron Hape from
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand as well as students who had taken part in exchanges. In the group sessions
they worked through the questions “What are we doing well already?”, “What can we do differently?”, “How
do we fund this?”, “What does success look like?” and “What action are we going to take?”. If you have any
thoughts, please do let the committee know your feedback! Click here to read the full Conference Report. As an
excerpt, “New Zealand is becoming increasingly multicultural. Kiwis need the skills to effectively live in a
multicultural society. Our reputation internationally will depend on how well we maintain social cohesion in a
time of great demographic change. Social harmony can only happen at the local level. Sister City relationships
help build trust and this trust is essential for trade” – Mark Pearson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

18 May 2016 – Senshu Marathon Report by Tim Sutton
A big thank you to everyone who came along to hear Tim’s presentation about his experience representing
Wellington in the Senshu Marathon. Special thanks go to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown who made time to say a
few words at the event, Councillor Paul Eagle who popped in briefly and of course to Tim himself for such an
inspiring presentation and for sharing the photos of his experience in Sakai.
You can read Tim’s full report here.
We look forward to creating similar
memories for the Sakai runner who
visits Wellington at the end of June to
compete in the Wellington Marathon.
In the coming years we are hoping to
look at motivating some of our WSA
members to be more active and getting
together a couple of teams to represent
WSA at the Rotorua Ekiden in 2017 so
please let us know if you are keen to be
involved or to help organise the trip!
26 June 2016 – First Sakai Runner to compete in Wellington
WSA, Wellington Marathon and Wellington City Council
worked together to bring a runner from our sister-city Sakai over to
Wellington to run in the Wellington Marathon on 26 June.
This is a very exciting and significant development for our sistercity running relationship after over a decade of Wellington runners
being hosted by Sakai.

The Sakai runner was hosted by a Wellington runner who
previously participated in the Senshu Marathon in Sakai and
their family and participated in a day of Wellington tourist
activities including a visit to Weta Cave, Te Papa museum,
a meeting with the Wellington Mayor, the Japanese
Ambassador to New Zealand, and a dinner hosted by WSA
including previous Senshu marathon runners.

29 July 2016 - WSA attendance at the JET Programme “Itte-Rasshai” Reception
Every year, the JET Programme welcomes New Zealand graduates to Japan to work for a minimum of one year
(up to a maximum of five) as an Assistant Language Teacher or Coordinator for International Relations. With
the addition of this year’s 87 participants from across New Zealand departing to take part in the 2016 intake, the
number of Kiwis taking part in the JET Programme has well surpassed 3000 – making it one of the most
important and successful exchange programmes between Japan and New Zealand spanning almost three
decades from its humble beginning in 1987.
On July 29th, Frances, Katy, Catherine, Raewyn and Stephen attended the “Itte-Rasshai” (see you again)
Reception at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Khandallah for 37 Wellingtonians leaving the next day.
Melissa had coached the JET participants and seamlessly MC’d the evening. Minister Nakai hosted this event
on behalf of the Japanese Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Toshihisa Takata. He wished the
group well and the JET group provided an impressive rendition of the Maori song Tenei Matou.
Most of the successful 2016 JET Programme participants from New Zealand arrived in Japan on Sunday 31
July and spent two days at Tokyo Orientation
before heading to their new homes all around
the country to promote internationalisation at a
grass-roots level. Unfortunately Sakai doesn’t
employ any Assistant Language Teachers
(ALTs) through the JET Programme but s
number of these JETs have received placements
in areas with sister city links with New Zealand
in particular with five being placed in Minoh-shi
(sister city to Lower Hutt). Applications for the
2017 JET Programme open in October 2016.
For more details, contact the Embassy of Japan.

30 July 2016 – “A Day in the Life” Photo Competition (and upcoming Exhibition)
Taking our cue from the book "A Day In The Life of
America", in which 200 international photojournalists
were sent throughout the USA on 2 May, 1986, to
photograph ordinary people going about their daily
life, we encouraged residents of Wellington and Sakai
to take photos of their daily life - all on the same day
(30 July). The resulting photo exhibition will be a
fascinating comparative snapshot of the people,
culture, fashion and lifestyle of the wide variety of
people that make up the population of our sister cities.
Our aim is to promote our respective cities to each
other, to strengthen our bonds and create awareness of
our similarities as well as our unique differences, to
foster intercultural interest and understanding. This
project aims to involve the wider community which
will in turn promote the associations and increase
The competition was open to all photographers - amateur and professional alike. Finalists will be exhibited as
part of Japan Festival Week which runs from 18 November and will be invited to a formal opening event hosted
by the Wellington Mayor where the winner will be announced - the overall winner will receive $1000 to put
towards photography related goods/supplies.
20 August 2016 – Bento (Japanese Lunchbox) Class
The class, run by HelloKaty Bento in conjunction with the Wellington JET
Alumni Association (JETAA) for the second year running was a great success,
with 19 attendees of various ages. Participants included future JET hopefuls,
recent returnees, and a student who is about to go on the WNES trip to Sakai.
The timing of the class is ideal to engage with recently returned JETs.
We also use this to promote our upcoming hanami picnic by tying it in with a
bento competition, using the skills and techniques from the class.

Upcoming Events for the 2016-17 Executive Year
1 October 2016 – Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic) and Bento Competition
Come join us for our annual cherry blossom viewing picnic, under cherry trees donated by our sister city of
Japan. It's a great way to enjoy the early spring while learning a bit more about Japanese food traditions. We
will host a Japanese bento (lunch box) making competition and the prizes are bento boxes bought from Japan!
No cost. BYO lunch although some snacks will be provided. Each year the cherry blossoms / Wellington spring
weather and wind can be a little bit unpredictable so please keep an eye on our Facebook Event for any updates.
30 October 2016 – Prizegiving for the Sakai Video Contest (From WNES Educational Trip to Sakai )
Katy McTeigue (WSA Vice-President) will
join the Wellington Nakano Educational
Society (WNES) on their upcoming short term
educational exchange to Sakai). This year,
WSA will run a video competition for these
students, encouraging them to document their
experiences so we can share these with the
Wellington public at the upcoming Japan
Festival and other WSA events. In late
October there will be a screening of the
finalist videos and announcement of the
The students from two Wellington high
schools will visit and study at Japanese high
schools, stay with host families, and visit key
cultural landmarks including the Sakai City
Traditional Craft Museum and the Sakai Museum in Daisen Park where they will experience the tea ceremony.
The first Wellington-Sakai Educational Exchange occurred in 1994, twenty years ago. Since that time, around
400 New Zealand and Japanese students have benefitted from participation in the programme.
18 November 2016 – Prizegiving for the “Day in the Life” Photo Competition and Exhibition Opening
Finalists who took photos as part of the “Day in the Life of Wellington” will be exhibited as part of Japan
Festival Week which runs from 18 November and will be invited to a formal opening event hosted by the
Wellington Mayor where the winner will be announced - the overall winner will receive $1000 to put towards
photography goods/supplies. The Japan Festival of Wellington will be held on Saturday 26 November.
December 2016 – Bonenkai (End-of-Year / Christmas Party) with Wellington Xiamen Association
February 2017 – Shinnenkai (New Year’s Party) and 23rd Anniversary Picnic in Katherine Mansfield Park
Your 2015-16 WSA Committee was:
President – Frances Yamada (
Vice-President – Katy McTeigue (
Secretary – Catherine Harrow (
Treasurer – Victoria Hodgson (
Committee – Stephen Gale, Melissa Huggins, Bill Nathan, Raewyn MacGregor, Aiko Collins (WCC ex-officio)

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