David was invited and sponsored by the Hiroshima New Zealand Friendship Society, which is linked to the city of Mihara, Hiroshima, where Palmerston North is developing friendly city relations.
Palmerston North City Council International Relations Manager, Toni Grace, says the Sagishima Triathlon event is one of many growing connections between Palmerston North and Mihara.
“We are delighted David was invited to participate and represent Palmerston North. Our city partnerships are strongest when there are people-to-people links, especially our common love of sports.”
“Over the next few years the New Zealand’s sporting relationship with Japan is going to be in the spotlight with the 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympics and 2021 World Masters Games. Palmerston North is an active community, so it’s great to reflect this in our city’s international relations.”
David is also selected to represent New Zealand at the World Triathlon Championships next month in Gold Coast. Last year David finished sixth at the U19 age group World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, and early this year finished second in the New Zealand National Olympic distance triathlon.
David started triathlon aged three and participated in the successful Palmerston North I’tri’d the tri series for many summers. In 2016 he finished second at the U19 New Zealand National Schools triathlon. David is currently completing a Bachelor of Business majoring in finance at Massey University and has received a Blues award for triathlon over the past two years.
Raising funds for Mihara’s disaster recovery
It is hoped David’s participation in the Sagishima triathlon will also help boost the city’s efforts to raise funds for Mihara, which was recently impacted by the major floods that hit Western Japan. Nearly 200 people were killed last month in the deadliest natural disaster to hit the country since the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
“Many homes and livelihoods in Mihara have been destroyed in the floods, which also cut off essential services such as power and water to many residents,” says Mrs Grace. “To make things worse, Japan is now suffering from a record-breaking heatwave, which is hampering recovery efforts. We can’t send our cool Palmy weather their way, but we can do our bit to show our friends in Mihara we have them in our thoughts while they are experiencing such a challenging time.”
Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) has been cooperating with Mihara City on civil defence knowledge and expertise exchange, with the cities sharing many similar risks of earthquakes, floods and landslides. Earlier this year, PNCC hosted Mihara’s Emergency Management Superintendent for a learning exchange. This will be reciprocated by Palmerston North City Council’s Emergency Manager in October, who will be able to see the recovery efforts first-hand.
PNCC staff recently started fundraising with a mufti-day and bake sale, which is being matched by a donation from the Mayor’s discretional fund. Other fundraising events are being planned by individuals and organisations throughout the city who have connections to Mihara. The Sagishima Triathlon includes a 1.5km swim, 42km bike and 10km run so the fundraising team also aims to raise $10 for every kilometre that David’s triathlon will cover. Anyone interested in making donations can pay either in person at PNCC Customer Service Centre or via internet banking to the PNCC bank account with “Mihara” as the reference.