New Zealand, D9930

Tomakomai 50th Anniversary Celebrations

In the following report, the photos were supplied by Bill & Sheena Beaton

  • In 1980, the Napier City Council established a sister city link with the city pf Tomakomai on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan. Wood pulp from the Pan Pac mill at Whirinaki is shipped through the Tomakomai port to the Oji Paper Company, which creates a vital link between the economies of the two cities. The Rotary Club of Taradale decided join a Napier City delegation which was being led by  Cr. Harry Lawson to celebrate the city of Tomakomai's 50th Anniversary of City status.

  • In 1993 the then Vice-President Nevin Dawson, visited Japan and contacted the Rotary Club of Tomakomai North.

  • From what Nevin told the Club of his recent trip to Japan with a group led by the Napier City Council, the Japanese were terrific hosts. Nevin stayed in both Tokyo and Tomakomai, visiting friends, a client, and he Rotary Club of Tomakomai North. In between times he fitted museums, cultural centres, the New Zealand Embassy, the Port of Hokkaido, and a spot of street dancing into his hectic but well organised schedule.

  • As a result of this visit the Tomakomai North Club agreed to host a party from the Taradale Club who would travel to Tomakomai in 1998 as part of the Napier delegation.

  • In March 1996 the Tomakomai Rotary North Club visited and were hosted  to a BBQ lunch by Rob & Helen Pattullo. A Friendship agreement was signed between the two Clubs. The International committee sent an album of data about the Club and a photo of members.

  • In 1998 members of the Taradale Rotary Club travelled to Japan and were billeted by Tomakomai club members, enjoying a wonderful cultural experience.


The team travelled to Japan in 1998.

The Rotary team comprised Bob Twaddle, Bill & Sheena Beaton, Ray & Jill McTeigue, Clive & June Adams, Ron & Wenda Ebbett, Pam Tremain and representing the Greenmeadows Rotary Club, Curly & Jenny Carpenter.


On their return, the members who went, addressed the Club on their experiences, with Bob Twaddle in the chair. The following is a Bulletin report October 1998.

Bob chaired a session where each member of the Taradale Rotary group to Tomakomai, Japan reported on their experiences. The members took the opportunity to go to Japan to be part of the City of Tomakomai’s 50th anniversary celebrations. They were hosted by members of the Tomakomai North Rotary Club.

Ray McTeigue showed slides which gave a cross-section of images of their trip. These included a couple of shots of a sartorial Bob Twaddle speaking at their welcome to the Rotary Club. So tough was speaking through an interpreter that the last shot was a sleepy leader nodding off on the bus.


The Bear in its cage, Club display case

Bob receiving a magnificent carved bear (now displayed in the Club display cabinet)

Notes from Sheena Beaton:


At a very formal luncheon to which we ladies were invited. Lovely three course meal beautifully served and presented. During the meeting we were welcomed by President Mr Uno. Bob Twaddle replied in Japanese on behalf of our group. We then presented Tomakomai Rotary with a "Kiwi" shrapnel box made from Rewa Rewa, several bottles of HB wine, and NZ chocolates.


Clive Adams started with “what an exciting experience!”. He and June were hosted with a retired painter who lived in a traditional Japanese home, so they had the opportunity of experiencing traditional Japanese culture. In the evening his host seated himself and then issued orders to his wife as to what was expected. June wasn’t too impressed with all of this and attempted to clear the dinner dishes only to be told to leave her quaint ways back in NZ. Further Japanese experiences awaited in the form of sleeping on the floor atop thin mattresses and pillows full of rice husks. He then dwelt at some length on Japanese building features and finished with his toilet experience where he pushed the wrong button and got sprayed down the front from an internal fountain.

Immersed in the local culture. The team dressed in their kimonos relax with tea, beer or saki after a spa


Pam Tremain gave a delightful cameo of her experience with a more westernised family who spoke reasonably good English and had normal beds. They took her out in the country to meet relatives and experience a genuine tea party. They honoured her by dressing her in a kimono minus wig.

Ron Ebbett enjoyed the trip so much that he feels it a shame other members didn’t take up the option to go as well. Japan is a nation of small people who think big because their are millions of them. He was overwhelmed with the hospitality, getting invitations to visit industries and services related to his agricultural interests.

Pam Tremain presents chocolates to Pres Uno.


Bob Twaddle concluded with his own experiences. The Japanese are passionate about their Rotary and take it very seriously dressing very formally for their meetings. His host always had an interpreter at hand and as a result, Bob found talking well into the night, with his host indulging in considerable quantities of saki, was the way most days concluded. Bob re-inforced how gracious the Tomakomai hosts had been with the Club paying most of their costs. This made their trip much cheaper than it normally would be. He concluded by saying that it had been an honour to represent the Club in Japan at Tomakomai’s 50th Anniversary.



L to R: Jenny & Curly Carpenter, June Adams, Pam Tremain, Wenda & Ron Ebbett, Pres Uno & Mrs Uno, Jill & Ray McTeigue, Sheena Beaton, Clive Adams, Bill Beaton


As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Rotarians attended the official diner with the rest of the Napier delegation. This was a sumptuous affair were the group had front tables reserved for them. 

And then there was the Japanese styled BBQ.

Bob Twaddle waits for the food to cook. Sheena keeps an eye on things.

Sheena reports. "The BBQ was set up in a Pagoda styled building. People sit on two long benches opposite with fires burning in a deep pit between the rows of seating. We cooked our own meat, chicken, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms etc. dipping the meats into different sauces before eating, Carved beef was available, as was pumpkin, sweet corn, buns, rolls and every variety of drink. A really memorable evening.


The Return Visits

  • In 2001 nine Rotarians from the Tomakomai Club, Japan, visited our Club. The Club organised for them to visit Taradale High School, Ron Ebbett's farm, Watties, Pernel Orchard and a mayoral reception.

  • In 2005 Rotarians from Tomakomai again attended the Club. Team leader was President Yuji Tanioka accompanied by his wife Kiyoka.  Also in the party was Past President Maruya with his wife Hanako.  He was President at the time of formulation of the sister club arrangement. Also in the party were Hideko, Kana and Ai Yamamoto, Torao Furuto, Masao Numata and Japan Travel Bureau Interpreter Shinichi Goto. The visiting party had been entertained to morning tea at Janey Grant’s home along with some club members and then had gone to Ron and Wenda Ebbett’s home for lunch and a trip to the top of the farm.

Tomakomai President Yuji Tanioka exchanges gifts with Club President Allen Stewart

The Tomakomai team with Taradale Club members including those who had travelled to Japan in 1998

More on the return visit will be published when material becomes available.