Kinuko Iko joined the Hawkes Bay Japan Society within one week of arriving in New Zealand.
She came to New Zealand with the intention of visiting various cities such as Napier, Christchurch and Nelson, but instantly fell in love with Napier and stayed. Her and her daughter joined the New Horizon Academy and soon after the Japan Society.
Kinuko remarks that the society used to be much bigger with lots of events and parties. She and her daughter would perform Japanese dance at these parties. Because of her expertise in tea ceremony, flower arrangement and dance she was soon in high demand and was busy at many events.
She saw the friendship between Pan Pac and the Society grow and when new families arrived in New Zealand they would automatically join the Society. Many of the ladies would enjoy events like a weekly patchwork group. One of Kinuko’s fondest memories was these patchwork gatherings, which would often be weekly.
Kinuko would like to see more events showcasing Japanese culture. She believes the society and its events should be open to both Japanese and New Zealanders and remarks that even some Japanese people may not know everything about their own culture.
She feels that the Society has a responsibility to new families coming to New Zealand from Japan and should make them feel welcome. Even simple tips like “Where’s good to shop for veggies?” “How do I find a doctor?” etc would be very helpful.
Kinuko is looking forward to this new generation of society members and to get things back to how things were when she first joined with more members, lots of events and appreciation of Japanese culture.