Mayoral visit 'surreal'

Kumagaya sister city anniversary marked

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 12:04 15/02/2013
Kumagaya visit
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (left) and Kumagaya mayor Kiyoshi Tomioka (right) visit Carter Renata, 2, and Ashleigh McIntosh at Southland Hospital.

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Wiggles enthusiast Carter Renata took a break from his favourite band this morning to meet with Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt and Kumagaya mayor Kiyoshi Tomioka.

The mayors visited the Children's Ward of Southland Hospital to share the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Invercargill-Kumagaya sister city relationship with those who could not make it to other events.

Carter's mum Ashleigh McIntosh said Carter had a rare condition called short bowel syndrome and had to spend 18 hours a day on a total parenteral nutrition drip.

The condition meant his immune system was unreliable and he often ended up in hospital for long stretches of time with minor ailments like colds.

The visit from the mayors had brightened the two-year-old's day but all the attention was a little surreal, Ms McIntosh said.

''It was a bit crazy.''

As part of the visit, the mayors presented children with gifts, including a fluffy takahe toy that mimicked the sound of the real bird.

Invercargill City Council communications manager Eirwen Harris said the takahe had been chosen as a gift because it was the bird on the council's crest, and would suit all age groups.

After ripping off the gold gift wrap, Carter had taken the takahe toy to his hospital bed, alongside his new Wiggles-related Captain Feathersword sword.

The mayors will participate in an official ceremony to re-sign the sister city agreement at the Civic Theatre later today, as well as share a garden party at Anderson's Park.

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