I was very fortunate to stay with the core members of the International team in New Zealand. They arrived tired at Kawai Purapura in Auckland, on the 26th September. Most were able to attend a Powhiri, the Maori blessing and welcoming to New Zealand put on in their honour. Then after a short Maori concert with singing by young Maori children it was time for dinner and bed. 9 of them, including Rafael de la Rubia, the organiser of the March, didn't arrive until around midnight. Next morning up by 7, breakfast and over to join the Auckland Peace March at 9.30am. Then at midday we all got into the 2 mini vans for a long trip to Wellington. After some whirlwind sightseeing and van problems we finally arrived at our lodgings at the Tapu Te Ranga Marae. The next days were extremely busy attending engagements, the mayors reception, many speeches and the office work: organising media coverage, sending info overseas etc. There was little time for sleep. No time to catch up with jet lag. At the office on Friday night Rafael with a smile said only 12 more hours. Although all were tired, the excitement of the World March beginning, let the adrenalin flow and with a new vigor and much joy we watched as Rafael officially launched the World March for Peace and Non Violence.
Rafael de la Rubia and core team member, Tony Robinson translating.
Then we were off up the street with many people and children enthusiastically joining in. What a magnificient day! The official launch on Gandhi's birthday, in front of his statue, at Wellington Central Railway Station in my home country of New Zealand. What an honour!