HANEY NOKAI PARK: HONOURING OUR HISTORY
On October 27th, the Maple Ridge municipality is dedicating a park to the Haney Nokai, the pioneer farmers of the Fraser Valley. The park, located at 222nd Street and Church Avenue in downtown Maple Ridge, was once owned by a Mr. E. Yoshida. The park will have a fitness, sport, play area and greenspace.
The “Haney Nokai” was a Japanese agricultural association founded in 1919, and the Nokai Hall was the meeting place, community hall, Buddhist Church, women’s meeting place and kindergarten. The Nokai hall was located on 232nd and Dewdney Trunk on property purchased by Jiro Inouye. He was the leader of the community until his death in 1931. He encouraged the community to carry on his legacy of learning English ways and customs and building a larger community with the local Caucasian farmers.
Yasutaro Yamaga carried on his legacy, and became a respected leader of the larger Japanese community by the time of the Internment. He helped organize the Maple Ridge Cooperative which marketed the juicy berries and the Fraser Valley became the Strawberry Capital, shipping berries to Britain. He also ran a box factory for berry packaging and shipping. He was asked to be on the committee for assessing fair market value of the farm lands sold by the custodian, but quit when he saw how one sided the committee was.
Both men will be honored permanently by a plaque prepared by the Maple Ridge museum. The Nikkei National museum is working with the Municipality to plan the ceremony.
For more information on details of the day, contact Linda Kawamoto Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604 777-7000X111.