New Zealand's Raukawa Trust Commends Soka Schools Founder Daisaku Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda for Contributions to Peace and Education
The Raukawa Trust Board, New Zealand, commended Soka Schools founder Daisaku Ikeda and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda for their outstanding contributions to peace and education and presented them with honorific Maori titles "Kaumatua o Raukawa" (Maori Raukawa Great Wise Man) and "Kuia o Raukawa" (Maori Raukawa Great Wise Woman), together with honorary citizenships of Raukawa Iwi Self-Governing Area. "Kaumatua" (male elders) and "kuia" (female elders) are seen as people of wisdom and experience who guide Maori communities. They often serve as spokespersons for their community. The Raukawa Trust was founded to protect traditional Maori tribal traditions and cultures and to provide health and educational services to the Maoris in Raukawa community, South Waikato District in New Zealand's north island. The conferral took place on April 8, during the 2006 spring Tokyo Soka Schools commencement in Kodaira City, Tokyo, where cherry trees, in full bloom, had just begun to lightly scatter their petals. Chris Mackenzie, education department chief of the Raukawa Trust Board, delivered certificates to Soka Schools Advisor Takahiro Ikeda, who accepted them on his parents' behalf. At the conferral, Mr. Mackenzie and Mrs. Mackenzie performed haka, the Maori's traditional dance.
In a message, Mr. Ikeda expressed his deep appreciation for the honor bestowed upon himself and his wife. Congratulating the freshmen, he introduced a Maori saying, "Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you," and encouraged the students to always advance with fresh hope, never succumbing to obstacles. He also encouraged them to challenge to read good books and learn English during their formative years to develop themselves into capable leaders in society.