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1000 paper cranes


Making origami is no easy feat.

But in the name of peace, one Wairarapa college made 1000 paper cranes by hand.

The paper cranes, crafted by St Matthew’s Collegiate students, will be presented to Japan this month as a gift of peace.

It was the brainchild of Freya Cook, one of 10 students in the school’s Japanese class who will be accompanying the cranes to Japan from April 6.

“We decided to make a display of 1000 paper cranes in memory of Sadako Sasaki who was diagnosed with leukaemia after the bombing of Hiroshima,” she said.

“There’s a legend in Japan that if you make 1000 paper cranes, then you get one wish.

“Her wish, obviously, was to survive the leukaemia.”

Freya went on to explain that Sadako died before she was able to make 1000 paper cranes.

“So, it is a tradition that we continue making the cranes in memory of her”.

It took the St Matthew’s Collegiate students two weeks to make the 1000 paper cranes, with students all over the school pitching in to help.

One student, on exchange from Japan made more than 200.

“The cranes are going to be sent to Japan for us to pick up and present to the Peace Memorial over there,” Freya said.

Along with presenting the paper cranes, the students will visit their sister school and Masterton’s Japanese sister city, Hatsukaichi.

The students’ teacher, Japanese native Junko Bracefield, said she was proud of the students’ enthusiasm leading up to the trip, and was looking forward to the experience.

“It is so worthwhile for us to do this because the students get a lot out of it from being in Japan and using the language they have been learning.

“But it will be worthwhile for me too because I’ll be seeing Japan through their eyes.

“I’m Japanese so I lived there for a long time.

“When I go to Japan with these young people, I notice different things and I feel different vibes from Japanese people as well.

“There was a lot of work involved in this trip, but it is worth it.”

The students will be in Japan from April 6 until April 25.


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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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