Ardern visit touted for Jacaranda Festival
AN IDEA to invite New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Grafton to be part of the Jacaranda Festival has brought the city and its connection to the Christchurch massacre back into the spotlight.
A Sydney newspaper article about the upcoming floral festival revealed Jacaranda Festival manager Mark Blackadder came up with the proposal as a way to showcase Grafton's inclusiveness.
Festival president Jeff Smith thought it was a "good idea," and "would put is in the spotlight for the right reasons," the Sydney Morning Herald article said.
In a press release sent to the Herald, Mr Smith went on to say the attack was a shock and like a light switch went on. "We have come so far and we try so hard in this town..."
"We had that moment on the world stage and we are thinking 'really, is this what we are going to be known as, the place where this guy was born?'"
It article went on to say the festival was in discussions with those plans as well as possible invitations to the mayor of Christchurch and leaders from the Muslim community.
Mr Smith said there were quite a few issues they need to resolve before (invitations like this) can potentially become a reality.
"The festival is all about inclusiveness and this has been a key theme for the past 85 years, so an initiative such as this makes sense," the PR statement said.
The article mentioned how local community and church groups last month joined under the banner of 'Inclusive Clarence' to reaffirm the Clarence Valley as a welcoming region that values and nurtures diversity.
The Daily Examiner will publish a reponse from the Jacaranda Festival committee tomorrow.