TŪMANAKO! Whakatāne Children’s World Peace Flags


by Laura Gow

On 6 August 2017, the opening ceremony for Tūmanako was held outside Whakatāne library. It was an amazing community celebration with over 450 people attending.

The ceremony began with a Karakia and blessing, and included items from the Schools throughout Whakatane. This was followed by words from Whakatāne’s Mayor, Mr Tony Bonne and a waiata sung by members of SGINZ.

A representative from each of the nineteen schools that took part in Tūmanako cut the ribbon at the entrance of the library to open the exhibition.

Due to exhibition space being limited, the Whakatāne District Council decided that rather than ask each child to create an artwork for peace, instead they would encourage children to design and create a peace flag for Tūmanako.  Preschools and primary and intermediate schools were all invited to participate.  The response to the project was huge with whole schools opting to take part.

During the term, flag packs along with lesson plans about peace were distributed to all of the participating classes. Over 115 teachers supported by facilitating so that children could take part in their classrooms. Once children had talked about and understood the concept of peace, they drew their ideas and hopes on a colourful flag. The flags were then sewn onto bunting by wonderful members of the community. In the end, nearly 2,750 flags were created, sewn together and hung in Whakatāne library.  After the event, these flags will be gifted back to the schools.

The Whakatāne Ohope Community Board sponsored the event and many local businesses contributed with sponsorship, providing materials at cost and also contributing their time and expertise. It was amazing to have so many different members of the community working together to promote peace.

The library staff have shared how bright and colourful the flags are and how school groups are visiting the library each day specifically to look at the flags.

Daisaku Ikeda writes:  Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings greater happiness. Peace must be the fundamental goal towards which humanity advances.