29 Oct 2011

Lebanese community celebrates time in Dunedin

3:45 pm on 29 October 2011

The Lebanese community in Dunedin is gifting a feature to the city's botanic gardens as a memorial to its century-long presence in the city.

About 350 people from all around the world are in Dunedin this weekend for the commemorations.

They will gift a cedar tree, a seat made of cedarwood and an 800-kilogram bronze cone to a newly constructed Mediterranean garden.

The president of the Cedars of Lebanon Club, Richard Joseph, says the gathering is to honour their forebears who first emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1900s.

Mr Joseph says that for a long time Dunedin had the strongest Lebanese community in the country.

"My grandfather came over here in 1907," he says, "and I would say most of them came over around that time. Then with the passage of time people drifted north and they drifted all over the place."

Mr Joseph says the Lebanese community is thankful for what it has been able to become, and proud of its contribution to Dunedin.

He says the memorial is to show the community's thanks, to stand as a reminder of its contribution to the city's life.