Dalai Lama arrives in Christchurch

06:00, Jun 08 2013
The Dalai Lama arrives at Christchurch International Airport.
The Dalai Lama arrives at Christchurch International Airport.

A small hushed crowd welcomed the Dalai Lama to Christchurch this afternoon.

The Dalai Lama came through the arrival gates at Christchurch International Airport about 12.30pm with a small escort, including one police officer.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Jennifer Vine, a practising Christchurch Buddhist who converted to Tibetan Buddhism 40 years ago after she first heard about the Dalai Lama escaping Tibet in 1959. "He has great charisma."

People waited for him at the gates with white scarves called a kata, a traditional Tibetan offering scarves with auspicious symbols. 

The Dalai Lama, who had flown in from India via Sydney, was in a jovial mood, chatting with people and taking photos with them briefly before getting inside a waiting car.

He did not speak with the media.


"It's very special," said Dunedin Buddhist nun Jampa Drolma who came up to Christchurch specifically to see him. She had met him before at other talks in New Zealand, Australia, and India. "He has a beautifully calm presence and it's very uplifting. It's the result of meditation practise over so many years."

The Dalai Lama is in Christchurch to present two talks tomorrow on the Four Noble Truths and The Pillar of Peace at the CBS Arena.

He will also speak at the University of Canterbury on Monday in a question and answer session organised by the University of Canterbury Students' Association.

After Christchurch, he will visit Dunedin and Auckland.


Fairfax Media