Not many are aware that Sir Barry Curtis, former mayor of Manukau for 24 years, had a big role to play in the building of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple at Stancombe Rd.
“I had the pleasure of joining the most Venerable Hsin Ting, the Abbot of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order headquarters to officiate at the sod turning ceremony to celebrate the commencement of construction of this magnificent temple,” he said at the formal ceremony of the Cherry Blossom Festival held along with the Art Salon Finale at the temple.
The multicultural event was attended by special guests including top ranking New Zealand Police, the Race Relations Commissioner, diplomats, councillors and Howick Local Board members.
“Before 1999, a decision had been taken by the temple Trust Committee to purchase a large area of land to accommodate the proposed temple complex some 1000 metres to the east. I advised the committee that the Manukau City Council was completing the acquisition of 290 acres of rural land at the Southern Eastern intersection of Stancombe Rd and Chapel Rd to create a large park for recreational use to cater to the fast expanding population in the proposed Howick-Wiri Corridor,” said the visionary.
“I expressed the view that the Trust Committee should abandon the purchase entered into and rather acquire land at the strategic location at the entry to the park and a magnificent outlook over a beautiful public open space.”
The former mayor also acknowledged Dolly Tsai and her husband Ming Tai Huang who donated the first 4.5 acres (1.82ha) of land with the Trust purchasing a further 4.5 acres.
He gave due credit to Abbess Manshin and her team as he presented her with a plaque to record the creation of the tranquil gardens at the temple.
On last count, the Cherry Blossom Festival that hosted an awe-inspiring art exhibition and had a variety of stalls on the forecourt was attended by more than 9000 people on Sunday.