Pounamu Touchstone of Friendship unveiled in Amberley

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By Robyn Bristow

A Pounamu Touchstone of Friendship, promoting the aroha and friendship across all cultures, was unveiled in Amberley’s Garden of Reflection in Chamberlain Park on Tuesday.

The touchstone represents the special relationship the Hurunui district has with Changping District, Beijing and Honghu City, Hubei in China.

It was unveiled Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley and Consul General Wang from the Chinese Consulate, in recognition of the special relationship.

Touchstone . . Preschoolers line up to touch the stone after the ceremony. Photo: Dave Hunter

Amberley artist Sharon Earl designed the steel bracket for the pounamu touchstone using a river motif, while brothers Pete and Paul Hackett built the stand using local stone and fossils.

Te Hau Anglem entrusted the pounamu touchstone to the district council to symbolise the importance of friendships within different communities, while Nigel Harris, of mana whenua, explained the significance of pounamu to mana whenua and provided a blessing.

A large yin and yang mosaic, built by the Hurunui Youth Council from local river stones, was also unveiled during the ceremony.

The mosaic was designed to celebrate the life and work of New Zealander Rewi Alley, who spent his early years in Amberley, but is famous in China as having contributed to the Chinese Revolution and helped establish technical training schools.

Mr Dalley said the council was delighted to see both the

Celebrating life . . . Zoe Watson, Skyla Barnett and Bradley White by the Hurunui Youth Council’s mosaic. Photo: Supplied

pounamu and the mosaic within the Garden of Reflection which represents the important relationships between the Changping District in Beijing, the Honghu City Hubei and the Hurunui, the youth of both countries, trade, tourism, and culture between the two countries and Rewi Alley’s historic contribution to China and Hurunui.

“Through these relationships we are finding common ground in education, tourism, culture, sports and much more,” Mr Dalley said.

“School students in the Hurunui and Changping districts are collaborating with each other through a web-based platform that extends beyond their classrooms to their families and wider communities.

“It is hoped that these students will become globally aware citizens in a world of inter-connectivity, globalisation and constant change.”.

Anyone who would like to know more about the history and relationships represented in the garden can read about them through the on-site story boards.