Opinion: Travel with the Mayor to Japan, China

MULTICULTURAL: Mayor Sam Broughton with a group from Akitakata, Japan, who visited the district council earlier this month.

We all know Selwyn is a changing place. Each month more than 30 residents become citizens in Selwyn and they usually represent seven to nine different nations from around the globe.

Mayor Sam Broughton

At the 2013 census, Selwyn was seven per cent Maori, three per cent Asian, one per cent Pacific and two per cent other. The census next year will show us how we have changed over the past five years and what we look like today.

Our world is a small place with people and goods making their way across the skies with ease.

It’s a far cry from the months aboard ships that many of our ancestors experienced on their voyages here.

Our view of the world is always informed through our experiences and through the information we expose ourselves to.

There are many ways to grow our world view and increase our intellect, including reading, formal study, conversations and travel.

I love listening to audio-books and pod-casts and the conversations they start. I have enjoyed spending time in a number of countries around the world – including helping to build homes in Sri Lanka following the Boxing Day tsunami, a water tank for a school in Fiji and teaching English in Thailand.

These experiences shape the way I appreciate our growing multicultural community in Selwyn.

Selwyn has four sister city relationships, which have been set up to grow greater cultural awareness, support exchanges and education in our schools, and develop business links.

Our sister cities are Akitakata, Japan; Shandan, China; Toraja, Indonesia; and Coventry, United States. The Malvern Community Board also has a relationship with Yubetsu, Japan.

In September/October 2018, I intend to travel to Akitakata, Japan, and Shandan, China, to further develop our relationships. This will link with school visits already being planned.

These are places I have never been before and may be places new to you as well.

I invite you to come with me.

Your interest may be cultural, education, business or something else, and I look forward to sharing all or some of the journey with you.

All trips are funded by the individual travelling, with the district council offering administrative and planning support only.

•If you are interested, please contact Bernadette Ryan at bernadette.ryan@selwyn.govt.nz, so we can gauge interest and work on planning, which will need to be completed before the end of the year.