Tuesday 4 September 2018

Chairperson's Report 2017-18 - Peter Patterson

Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 4 September 2018

It gives me great pleasure to once again report on the activities of the Frankston Susono sister city relationship and the Frankston Susono Friendship Association over the past 12 months. In this our 36th year, I thank you to all my fellow Executive Committee members who continue their great work to look after the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston Council. A passionate and giving group of community volunteers with a great love of Japan.

Thank you to all the Executive members and others who have joined us and left us during the year. A very well done to Simon Hast, Therese Sakamoto, Bev Hannan, Vic Webster, Julie D’Arcy, Margaret Patterson and Simon Cameron. We were joined during the year by Bob and Heather Tanner and Ros Dempsey. It is great to have you on Board. James Rampant and Cathy Sell also joined us for a while. It is great to have some new faces and we will continue to look for new members to join our Executive.

Again, our collective thanks to Chris Hodgins for providing outstanding admin support to the Association.

Our big event for this year was our wildly successful Japanese Festival at Frankston High School on Sunday 6 May 2018. 1,500 people attended the Festival to be treated with a whole range of Japanese performances, activities and displays. Also there were lots of great food and Japanese goods and crafts on offer. Thank You to Simon and all the Executive members for the work to put on such a successful event. The Festival was opened by Mayor Colin Hampton and Vice Consul-General of Japan Shota Tohara. It was pleasing to have Sister Cities Australia Executive Committee Member Christina Despoteri spend some time with us at the Festival. We are always grateful to the many organisations and individuals who collectively help us showcase Japan to the Frankston community.

Simon Hast, Vice-Consul Shota Tohara, Peter Patterson and Mayor Colin Hampton

We had a delegation visit of middle school students and teachers from Susono on a short term stay in Frankston during August 2018. Thank you to the Derinya Primary School community and Therese Sakamoto for looking after the group during their stay.

Susono students and teachers with Mayor Colin Hampton in the Frankston Council Chambers

Simon Hast continues to manage our Japanese Garden at the Frankston High school. Thank you Simon. The Garden is an integral part of our Bi-annual Festivals and used for several events during the year. In conjunction with the recently renovated section of Frankston High School next to the garden, it provides for a great venue. Thank you to Frankston High School for your support of our work.

Japanese Garden located at Frankston High School

Our annual Speech Contest at Monash University continues to develop and evolve and is well supported by local schools. Our contest this Friday has almost 80 participants from 13 schools in the region. We also appreciate the support of those who have volunteered to be judges. We are developing a great network of people in the broader “Japanese community”. Thank you to those who have contributed to the success of our speech contest.  We have also reviewed and updated the Rules and Code of Conduct for the Speech Contest. We are grateful for the assistance of the Japanese Language Teachers Association of Victoria and Mr Hiroshi Honda.

There are some 26 schools in the region teaching Japanese and 8 schools in the city of Frankston. In the past year I have visited all 26 schools to build a relationship with the Japanese teachers in those schools.

2017 Japanese Speech Contest Winners - Secondary School Divisions

David Hunt, a Frankston local, represented the city in the Susono half marathon on 13 May 2018. Kitted out with an “I Love Frankston” tee shirt supplied by FSFA, David performed very well. He was greeted by Susono Mayor Takamura and assisted during his visit by Yoko Miyase and Aiko Nakayama from SOFA. Thank You David for being a great ambassador.

David Hunt in Susono to compete in the half-marathon

On 18 July 2018, Frankston participated in a Sister Cities forum at Parliament House in Melbourne sponsored by Sister Cities Australia. Mayor Colin Hampton and I were asked to speak on the “Community Based Model” that has served Frankston and Susono well for 36 years. Over 100 people attended the forum from Councils and organisation across Victoria. A number of attendees also came from interstate. A number of Councils in Victoria showed interest in our approach.  A summary of the key points of the presentations is attached to this report and is on our website. Bev Hannan, Vic Webster, Simon Hast and David Cross also attended the event on behalf of Frankston. Thanks to Christina Despoteri for organising the event. The Forum did confirm that we are going about it in the correct manner.

Peter Patterson and Colin Hampton presenting in Queen's Hall, Parliament House, Melbourne

Further evidence of the success of our approach is the “Community Involvement” category Award from the Sister Cities Awards for 2017. We were able to put a compelling case that the events and activities that we undertake by a group of volunteers was the best in the nation. The same community based model is also used in Susono. Mayor Colin Hampton will present a trophy to Susono during our visit in September.

Sister Cities Australia Community Involvement Award Presentation

We are persevering with the Japanese Community Network concept and will hold another function in the Japanese Garden in October this year when the Cherry Blossom is in full bloom.

Sorin and Mirella Ionascu, members of our Association, continue to work in Susono in a number of roles including as a Community English teacher. We will catch up with them at the Australian Fair in Susono this year.

In late September this year, 25 members of the local community will represent Frankston during a visit to our sister city of Susono, Japan. The delegation of citizens will be led by Mayor Colin Hampton and his wife Nancye. The delegation will also include members of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association, and a 7 piece band from Frankston High School. The visit will commence on 27 September and will culminate in the Australian Fair on Sunday 30 September. The delegation will showcase Frankston with an innovative visual display using Virtual Reality technology and aerial photography. Over 1,500 people from the Susono Community are expected to attend the Fair that is held in the local cultural centre. Thank you to all those who have put their hand up to be a member of the delegation.

This will be the eighth delegation visit to Susono since 2000. During this time, nearly 100 local student musicians have been given a life changing opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture and perform on an international stage. Over 50 locals have also had the opportunity to be part of the sister city experience.

The service road at the front of the Frankston Private Hospital has been named Susono Way. The Council is now drawing up concept plans for a Japanese style tribute garden in the reserve adjacent to Susono Way. Once the design is approved the garden and signage will be constructed. Signage will publicly recognise the sister city relationship and the contribution of AAPL to the Frankston Community will be part of the garden. Yazaki made a significant donation towards the cost of a large sign that summarises the importance of the company in the history of Frankston and the sister city relationship with Susono.

It is sad to see that AAPL/Yazaki finished in Frankston and Australia late last year. The company was a significant contributor to the Frankston Community in many ways. The company, of course, brought Frankston and Susono together and we will always be indebted to the company for that. We will be recognising the contribution of AAPL/Yazaki to Frankston in our new Japanese garden.

William D’Arcy spent two months in Susono during November and December 2017 on a short-term exchange. He attended school during his visit and was hosted by several families. Judging by the presentations he made to the Executive, he had an exceptional time and the experience had a profound impact on him. Well Done William.

William D'Arcy enjoying a bowl of noodles during his short-term exchange

More details on the events and activities that I have mentioned are to be found on our website. www.frankston-susono.com Simon and Jess Hast have continued to publish quality articles and reports on the website and our Facebook page. This great work has given us an exceptional social media presence.

I would like to thank the Frankston Council for their ongoing support of our work and allocation of funding for our activities each year.

I thank you all for your attendance tonight and thank you again to all the Executive Committee members and supporters of our sister city relationship.

To ensure the longevity of this organisation and the sister city relationship we are seeking some new faces and the reconnection with some from the past. I look forward to seeing these folk around the Executive table this coming year.

Peter Patterson


Celebrating 36 years of our Sister city relationship

How we do it and why it works.

The role of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association is to:
  • Enable people in the Frankston region to experience another culture; 
  • Promote and celebrate Japanese culture through performances, displays and exhibitions;
  • Create opportunities to promote Frankston and give our citizens life changing experiences;
  • Develop local students through cultural exchanges and support of Japanese learning programs in local schools;
  • Develop and foster relationships with Japanese related organisations and businesses;
  • Promote travel to and from Japan;
  • Maintain a deep and sustainable relationship with Susono.

The Frankston Susono sister city relationship is celebrating its 36th anniversary this year. The relationship is as strong as ever because we:
  • Have long-serving volunteers who are Passionate and Committed;
  • Want to do it rather than have to - it is externally managed rather than within Council;
  • Have a connection to and/or an understanding of Japan;
  • Think outside the boundaries both physically and mentally;
  • Operate on the “Onion” principle i.e. Small group to manage day to day and helpers when needed;
  • Are a Centre of Excellence for “Japanese matters” in the region;
  • Have a strong relationship with local schools – more than 26 schools in the greater Frankston Region are teaching Japanese.

To maintain the intensity and interest over the long haul, you need to:
  • Have events and activities that motivate and encourage our volunteers;
  • Be visible and engaging e.g. active social media presence;
  • Run regular community awareness activities e.g. Cultural Fair held in one city - each sends a delegation to the host city;
  • Have sustained relationships in the broader community;
  • Have regular contact with our sister city;
  • Find inventive ways of promoting the sister city relationship;
  • Ensure that both cities jointly acknowledge and Celebrate our Successes;
  • Always look to the future, but not forget the past.

Our approach and efforts have ensured that over the 36 years we have delivered a range of successful programs and activities. These have been recognized nationally by Sister Cities Australia. Our achievements include:
  • Maintaining the internationally recognised Frankston Susono Japanese Garden at Frankston High School – we now have Japanese style gardens in a number of local primary and secondary schools;
  • Recruiting for the Susono Community Teaching Position;
  • Building sound relationships with Japanese organisations – e.g. Consul General, Japanese businesses, local Japanese community;
  • Managing a Student Exchange Program – 75 students on long term exchange and over 500 short term stays;
  • Giving the youth of Frankston life changing experiences – e.g. band performance at World Expo 2005;
  • Facilitating creation of Japanese Language Book about school life in Susono – used in schools all over Australia;
  • Achieving international recognition for “building bridges” in the community at the Yazaki Global Forum 2006;
  • Winning a number of Awards from the Sister Cities Australia for our activities:
o   2007 Best Overall Sister City Program in Australia.
o   2017 Community Involvement

Our success is also dependent on the Frankston Council’s:
  • Unwavering support for the sister city relationship throughout the past 36 years;
  • Providing administrative support and an annual operational grant;
  • Commitment to have Mayor/Councillors lead delegations.

The engine is still full of steam with the delegation visit and annual Japanese Speech Contest in early September to keep up the interest. We also have a range of other plans that we will share as they are developed and initiated.

Peter Patterson