TERRY COLHOUN: Lucy, how long did it take you to make 1,000 origami cranes?
LUCY TASKER: Well, it took me about a month and a half – I started on 13 June and ended at the beginning of August.
COLHOUN: 1,000, how many a day did you make, and how long did it take to make each one?
TASKER: I can make one in about a minute 30 seconds and I didn’t really have an average, although I tried making 50 a day. I’m not very reliable.
COLHOUN: Had you had much experience in origami before this?
TASKER: I’m very much interested in Japanese culture and I have been doing lots of origami. When I take Japanese students they always bring an origami book and we make lots of origami – it’s very good fun.
COLHOUN: Why did you do it?
TASKER: When I was doing a school assignment there were no cranes at the War Cemetery and I just felt they should be there, because I know what they symbolise. They symbolise peace, and between the Australian and Japanese it’s been, I don’t know (nervous laugh) …
COLHOUN: Do you know the story of the Japanese girl, the victim of the radiation sickness at Hiroshima, who was making 1,000 cranes?
COLHOUN: You knew that story, did you?
TASKER: Yes, I read that story when I was in Year 3.
COLHOUN: Did that inspire you in any way?
TASKER: Well, I made 1,000 paper cranes in Year 6 and I did make those because of Sadako.
COLHOUN: What did you do with those?
TASKER: I gave those to my Japanese teacher last year.
COLHOUN: Did I get it that you intended to give the latest bunch of 1,000 cranes to the War Cemetery?
TASKER: That was my original plan.
COLHOUN: When did that change?
TASKER: When I told Mrs Meiklejohn about it and she ...
COLHOUN: Who is Mrs Meiklejohn?
TASKER: She is my history teacher.
COLHOUN: Thank you, press on.
TASKER: She got very interested in it and she went and organised it. I’m very happy that she did now.
COLHOUN: Did you know that there would be a group of young people coming out from Japan this week?
TASKER: I knew there would be but I didn’t know where they were from.
COLHOUN: How did your fellow students in the class respond when they knew you were doing this?
TASKER: They were very excited and wanted to help me but the … with the paper cranes you have to make the whole 1,000 yourself otherwise they don’t really mean anything. There’s a big story behind it.
COLHOUN: Tell me.
TASKER: When you make 1,000 paper cranes, you get good luck and the person you give them to gets a wish, but if you don’t make them all, you don’t get either of them. There’s a big story about blessing from the Japanese and stuff.
COLHOUN: Has anybody ever given you 1,000 cranes?
TASKER: Not yet.
COLHOUN: Not yet, well you never know, do you?
COLHOUN: Then at the Japanese War Cemetery yesterday, in the rain – very cold – you were called up in front of some very important people. There was a group of young students from Nara and you had the opportunity to give them the 1,000 cranes. How did you feel about that?
TASKER: I felt happy that I could contribute to the reconciliation that was held between Australia and Japan – that students should be a part of that – and I felt happy that I was the one that was doing it.
COLHOUN: You spoke in Japanese.
COLHOUN: Do you know much Japanese, or did you learn it for the day?
TASKER: I learnt that piece for the day, but I do speak a little bit of Japanese.
COLHOUN: Were you able to communicate with the young students?
TASKER: Yes, because Japanese people learn English from Year 6, so they do speak a little bit of English.
COLHOUN: How do you think they felt about this presentation?
TASKER: Well, while I was talking to them they were very, very excited. They were happy, very happy.
COLHOUN: Do you think they were surprised that in a country town in Australia, that here was a young woman who would do this for them?
TASKER: They were pretty surprised about that. I know their teacher was, like, “did you make all these yourself?” When I said yes, they were very happy and surprised.
COLHOUN: Do you know what they are going to do with them?
TASKER: They are going to keep them in their school forever, which is what the teacher said.
COLHOUN: Which school is it?
TASKER: Nara High School.
COLHOUN: Do you think this has formed a permanent link between Cowra High School and Nara High School?
TASKER: I hope so.