Diversity Celebrated at SGI-New Zealand’s 50th Anniversary

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Opening the SGI-NZ meetingOpening the meeting

On November 15, some 1,000 members from across New Zealand as well as some from Tahiti gathered at the AMI Auckland Netball Centre for an SGI-New Zealand (SGINZ) New Era Celebration meeting titled “Celebrating a Life of Infinite Possibilities.”

The event marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the SGI Buddhist movement in New Zealand. In May 1964, on his first visit to Oceania, then Soka Gakkai president Daisaku Ikeda visited Australia. Later that year the first SGI member arrived in New Zealand. At the meeting, participants renewed their commitment to continue working for kosen-rufu (world peace through individual happiness) and expressed appreciation for Mr. Ikeda’s 50 years of support, encouragement and leadership.

The celebration began with the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo followed by greetings in New Zealand’s three official languages—Māori, English and New Zealand Sign Language—as well as in Japanese. Experiences of the transformative power of Buddhist practice were shared, as were determinations towards 2030, the 100th anniversary of Soka Gakkai’s founding. The appointments of Ian Gordon as new general director of SGINZ, Bee Choo Lim as new women’s division leader and Jimi Wallace as new vice chief of SGI-Oceania were also announced.

Mr. Ikeda sent a message for the occasion, in which he described the SGI Buddhist movement as a great civil movement dedicated to creating a society based on the humanistic values of compassion and human dignity. He also encouraged SGINZ members to become people who can illuminate the communities in which they live. 

A joyful finaleA joyful end to the celebrations

The SGINZ New Era Choir performed “Tu Mai Ra” (Here We Stand), the SGINZ waiata (Māori song) that was specially written for the anniversary celebration. The waiata expresses SGINZ’s pledge to advance the cause of peace. A video clip of the waiata being performed can be viewed here

The exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons,” jointly created by SGI and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was also on display during the event.

[Adapted from a report from SGINZ and an article in November 22, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGINZ]

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