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July 27, 2007

SGI President Sends Message to Maori Language Week Event in New Zealand

On July 27, 2007, the Raukawa Trust Board launched No Tuawhakarere, No Aku Kaumatua (From the Past From Our Ancestors), a CD compilation of the orally transmitted history of the Maori people, at the Ferrybank Reception and Conference Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand. The event celebrated Maori Language Week from July 23-29, 2007. Many community and business leaders including Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party, representatives from government ministries and heads of corporations attended the launch. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a congratulatory message in which he referred to the struggles of the Maori people to protect and maintain their cultural heritage based on ideals of peace and nonviolence, and praised the traditional wisdom of the Maori culture as offering spiritual inspiration that is restorative to humanity.

Maori Language Week began in 1975 with the aim of preserving the language of the Maori people and promoting and passing down Maori culture and arts to future generations.

Mr. McKenzie (left) speaking at the event

Traditional Maori songs and dances

Raukawa Trust Board Education Department Chief Chris McKenzie, one of the organizers of the event, visited Soka University and Soka Schools in Japan in April 2006. On that occasion, he presented honorary Maori titles to Mr. and Mrs. Ikeda in recognition of their contributions to lasting peace. At the CD launch, Mr. McKenzie remarked that Mr. Ikeda's message further strengthened goodwill and friendship between the Maori and Japan, and expressed his hopes of working together for a genuine peace that transcends differences. Mr. McKenzie also presented Mr. Ikeda with the CD containing the voices of Maori ancestors.

[Adapted from an article in the August 15, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]