Pres Choi NZ Special Needs Tour
After a whirlwind tour of Australia that took in Melbourne and Sydney, President Choi and ITF Staff entourage flew across to New Zealand to help promote the ITF Special Needs program in Hawkes Bay.
The flight from Australia arrived at Wellington airport close to midnight and the touring party of Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa (ITF President), Grandmaster Kim Jong Chan (ITF Pioneer), Grandmaster Trevor Nicholls (ITF Secretary General), Master Michael Muleta (Australian INO President) and Chris Jung (ITF Public Relations) cleared their way through customs and headed to the hotel for a nap.
In the morning the ITF Officials were greeted by NZITF Special Needs Instructor Ben Evans and Andy Meyer (Rotary Club). At this point GM Nicholls departed back for the UK and the group carried on with the NZ leg of the Australasian Tour.
The morning commenced with a visit to Wellington’s Parliament House for a meet and greet with Federal Minister, the Hon. Lawrence Yule for Tukituki. Both the Korean and Australian Flag flew alongside the New Zealand flag at the steps of parliament.
We carried on for a 4 hour drive up the East coast of New Zealand’s North Island headed for the seaside region of Hawkes Bay, with a few scenic stops along the way.
Upon arriving in Napier, the ITF Team settled in for the night to rest up for a very busy day 2 planned schedule, starting with a Special Needs promotional talk at the Hawkes Bay Rotary club breakfast.
After a warm welcome by the Rotary Club MC, Ben Evans gave an introduction of the ITF visiting party. President Choi Spoke first of the origins of Taekwon-Do and the importance of Do. This was followed by Grandmaster JC Kim giving the attendees an historical appreciation for Taekwon-Do. Master Muleta then spoke about the importance of the Special Needs initiatives, and the future direction of the movement on a global scale, and formally recognized the efforts of NZITF in this area.
The speeches were well received and guests were able to mingle after breakfast and chat about Taekwon-Do and the significant and important contribution and support given by Hawkes Bay Rotary club.
After breakfast the ITF party headed out to the Hohepa community farm, where special needs students develop life skills and confidence building activities from farming, agriculture, arts and crafts. cheese making among other things. Many of the special needs population at Hohepa are also involved in the Taekwon-Do program.
In the afternoon, President Choi Officially opened the Special Needs dojang donated by the Napier council and supported with funding from Hastings District Masonic Trust, with welcoming speeches, songs, Taekwon-do demonstrations and the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
From there the team headed off to Irongate school, the venue for that evenings Seminar. The students welcomed the ITF representatives with a very impressive and passionate Haka, the traditional Maori warrior chant.
The evening seminar was a huge success attracting over 100 participants integrating Special needs students with mainstream students. It also attracted local television and newspaper coverage.
President Choi was assisted by Master Muleta, as they ran students through a series of fundamentals, drills and tuls for over 2 hours. The session was high energy and lots of enthusiastic students added to the atmosphere.
The following day involved more meeting with local politicians and some well earned r&r for those who had been on the road for over 3 weeks of the Asia Pacific Tour.
We thank the ITF President, Grandmasters, Masters and ITF Staff for their support and also acknowledge the fine work being done in the area of special needs by Ben Evans of NZITF.