Japanese delegation visit a huge success

A mayoral delegation from Kitikami, Japan, visited the Matamata-Piako District last week to officially challenge the district to compete against them in World Challenge Day on May 30.

World Challenge Day is an international event that pitches cities against each other to compete to get more people (per capita) to participate in 15 minutes of activity on 30 May. The event has over 50 million participants from 40 different countries.

Mayor Jan Barnes officially accepted Kitikami’s challenge on behalf of the district. “We are excited to take on Kitikmai in this challenge,” said Mayor Jan. “World Challenge Day not only compels people to get moving in a physical activity that they enjoy, but also boost economic and tourist development on an international scale.”

Mayor Jan Barnes hosted the Japanese delegation for two days showing them the attractions that Matamata-Piako has to offer.

Kitikami City in Japan is very similar to Matamata-Piako, with a rural economy, large local industry, and is a tourist destination for both hot mineral spas and skiing and in the winter and cycling in the summer. It is also the neighbouring city to Kamaishi, which will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, so will be a popular destination for many New Zealanders visiting Japan next year.

Kitimaki Mayor, Toshihiko Takahashi, was excited when he arrived in Matamata for the first leg of their tour around the district, stating that “World Challenge Day has two purposes for us - to show our support for the casualties in neighbouring Kamaishi, (the city heavily affected by the earthquake and tsunami is 2011), and to build up friendship with Matamata-Piako District. We give our deepest appreciation to everyone for welcoming us. We have felt very at home here in Matamata-Piako”.

In order to win World Challenge Day, the Matamata-Piako District needs to have the highest number of participants per capita participating in 15 minutes of physical activity – ranging from calf lifts at an office desk, or gentle movement for the elderly, to running up Mount Te Aroha, or doing Yoga on the top of Wairere falls.

Schools, businesses, clubs and individuals will be able to register soon at worldchallengeday.co.nz, with great prizes up for grabs for anyone who participates.

Mayor Jan and Mayor Takahashi