Second SGI-Oceania Conference Held in New Zealand
On September 25, some 800 SGI members from 17 countries and regions in Oceania gathered for the Second SGI-Oceania Conference at the SGI-New Zealand Culture Center in Auckland, New Zealand, commemorating the SGI's 30th anniversary. SGI-Oceania's membership has grown twofold in the past five years. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a congratulatory message, in which he encouraged the SGI members in Oceania to lead victorious lives and to contribute to society as exemplary citizens. SGI-General Director Yoshitaka Ohba and SGI North America-Oceania Division Chief Norimasa Saito attended. At the meeting, representatives shared their experiences of putting into practice Nichiren Buddhism to overcome problems. Youth division members introduced the history of the SGI-Oceania. Mr. Ohba encouraged everyone to derive the power of faith from their practice to create happy families, live long and healthy lives, surmount all obstacles, and realize victory in each endeavor. New Zealand members performed songs and traditional dances of the Maoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
On the previous day, September 24, representatives attended a training session at the SGI-New Zealand Culture Center. The SGI-New Zealand band welcomed them with performances of "Copacabana" and "Morigasaki Beach." SGI-Oceania Chair Richard Sasaki praised the members for traveling such a long distance to attend, and called on everyone to make a fresh resolve to work for the sake of peace and prosperity in the region. Several members shared their experiences of practicing Nichiren Buddhism and everyone participated in a questions and answer session. Mr. Ohba encouraged everyone to advance with unity based on the spirit of "many in body and one in mind." In the evening, participants attended discussion meetings in New Zealand and developed friendships with local SGI members.