Kazu Shimazaki, Chairman, Japanese Society of Canterbury and Mr Tsuchikawa our Japanese Counsellor - thank you both, the Japanese Society and the Consular office for creating this day of celebration of Japanese art, culture, food and performance.
Christchurch has the longest standing relationship - Kurashiki and Christchurch were the first Japanese and New Zealand cities to establish a sister city relationship.
But even stronger bond has been forged through our shared experience of disaster.
We commemorated the 4th anniversary of the Feb 22 earthquake last Sunday and in less than 2 weeks time Japan will commemorate the 4th Anniversary of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The memory of that event so soon after ours will be with us always.
There is a public artwork on Park Tce which people may notice as art - it's called Solidarity Grid and it is made of lamps from all around the world. Two of the most special are the ones from Kurashiki and Sendai.
The symbolism is that they shed light from all around the world on our city of Christchurch.
I will be travelling to Sendai to the UN 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and I hope that I can contribute a little of what we have learned about the importance of community - not just after a disaster, but before.
Strong community ties enable us to respond and recover more quickly.
Events like today are exactly what build strong communities.
So thank you for your sharing your culture with us today, and more importantly thank you for what you bring to the wider community of Christchurch everyday.
Arigato Gozaimasu. Thank you.