It was L & P and a spot of cricket rather than green tea ceremonially served for a group of six visiting Whanganui from sister city Nagaizumi-cho.

Their morning tea at Bason Botanic Gardens on Monday was a spot of Kiwiana, amid a very formal visit.

The Nagaizumi-cho group - Mayor Osamu Ikeda, his wife Yoshiko, three senior town officials and a translator - arrived on Saturday.

On Monday's visit to Whanganui's Japanese teahouse McDouall explained that tea ceremonies are not performed there, but he would like them - both for Japanese students and as part of Whanganui's Summer Programme.


After seeing the tiny teahouse at the gardens the group had an outdoor morning tea.

McDouall fetched a cricket bat and tennis ball from his car for the occasion.

"I'm showing them a little bit about cricket. I can't bowl any more, and I have to practise for the Masters Games," he said.

The Nagaizumi-cho group is making a reciprocal visit, following one by a Whanganui group to their Japanese town in August last year.

It marks 30 years of a sister city relationship that began in 1988.

The visitors have a busy schedule.

They were officially welcomed with a pōwhiri at the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy on January 27.

Gifts were exchanged - Whanganui gave Nagaizumi-cho a framed photograph of Mount Ruapehu, taken by artist Russell Brown.


Nagaizumi responded with its own mountain, Fuji, shown in a carving on a clock.

On Monday the group were to visit three Whanganui schools that host Nagaizumi-cho students, and have lunch with the Rotary service group.

On Tuesday the group will make industry visits, ride on the MV Wairua, and go to the Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics and New Zealand Glassworks, where the mayor and mayoress will both make paperweights.

The group leave Whanganui tomorrow.

The place they come from is Nagaizumi-cho, a town of 43,000 people on the main island of Japan and not far from Mount Fuji.