AGM thanks outgoing President Eric Livingstone and welcomes incoming President Dave Bromwich
At our May National Conference in Christchurch, Eric Livingstone was warmly thanked for his five years as our National President. Eric contributed greatly to the work of our Society with his dedication, good humour and support to members and new initiatives. His commitment and knowledge of China since the 1980’s has been invaluable in deepening ties between our friends in China and New Zealand. He modernized National Executive processes and implemented a strong, efficient and active committee structure.
In his President’s report Eric said: Our Society is very fortunate to have so many active people contributing to our efforts to develop friendships with Chinese people and dedicated to educating New Zealanders about China. Once again I am amazed at the wide range of activities undertaken by our 15 Branches and I sincerely believe that the huge improvement shown in a recent survey that over 40% of Kiwis are comfortable with our country growing closer links with China has been greatly assisted by our Society’s efforts over the past sixty one years.
Hello NZCFS members and friends,
This being the first National Notebook since I became President, I would firstly like to thank retiring NZCFS Executive members Royden Smith and Judy Livingstone who have given tremendous service to NZCFS over the years, and welcome new executive members Miao Fan, Deborah Rhode and Tony Tian.
It has been a busy period for me in my new role as president, and I have travelled widely in New Zealand. It is great to see different branches at work, and learn of their various activities.
I was lucky to be in Christchurch to meet the Shandan delegation visiting Selwyn and be present at their farewell banquet hosted by Selwyn Mayor Selwyn Coe. Under the leadership of Dave Adamson, the new Shandan committee is working with Selwyn on several new initiatives with Shandan. Further, a business delegation from Shandan has just arrived in Selwyn as I write this.
In Wellington Bernie Richmond, Christine Strickland and I had a meeting at the Embassy with Ambassador Xu in a very relaxed atmosphere of openness and mutual support. Unfortunately, the severe storm prevented Wellington Branch President Michael Powles from getting in from Eastbourne, and secretary Heiko Lade from arriving from Hawkes Bay. At the meeting we met friend Olga Wang, and her replacement as Cultural Secretary Yuan Yuan, who had just arrived from her Sydney posting. It was great for her to see firsthand the easy relationship we have with the Embassy.
Also in Wellington, I was privileged to attend the Te Papa Matariki celebration evening, along with Bernie Richmond, George Andrews, Christine Strickland and partners. Simon Deng Li and friends were also there, and NZCFS received several significant acknowledgements as a supporter of Te Papa. This has come from the funding assistance given by our honorary patron Simon Deng Li for assisting with funding the transportation and temporary display of the Maori Cloak presented to Mao Zedong in 1957. This is in Te Papa through until 20 October.
In Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland I presented a talk titled “Dynamic NZCFS”, in which I have asked “where does NZCFS fit today in the NZ-China relationship” and suggested a need to regenerate, what direction this might take, and what changes we may need to make. Regeneration requires us to be dynamic, ready to be active, and be prepared to make changes, and a strong strategic approach to implement our activity. Our new funds are providing opportunity to allow us to do this, and ‘youth’ is an essential emerging initiative for us to regenerate. We need to continue the impetus already begun with young New Zealanders. See ‘Projects in NW China’ for another significant funding opportunity for NZCFS work, and a good example of ‘dynamic NZCFS’.
In Auckland I joined George Andrews, Cecil Fowler, Murray Hoare and Faye Hobday for lunch, hosted by the very personable and almost new Consul General Niu, and Vice-Consul Long. These two have demonstrated very strong support for three of our new projects run out of Auckland. With Dave Adamson as vice-president in Christchurch, we now have three vice-presidents contributing to excellent and easy relationships with the Chinese Embassy and Consulates.
As we move towards the first executive meeting since Christchurch, discussion documents are being prepared to open the way for an open and transparent dialogue that I hope can establish processes that will assist NZCFS into a harmonious and collaborative future.
Opening a New Chapter in Chinese New Zealand Relations
Our first Rewi Alley Scholar Huo Yan has returned to Beijing after what the Michael King Writers Centre in Auckland’s Devonport has declared was “a most successful residency”.
During her eight-week stay as their first overseas writer in residence she completed a new murder story about China as well as a story about the experience of Chinese migrants living in New Zealand. Miss Huo’s residency was among projects funded in the first round of the RAFE fund. She began writing at the age of fourteen and has had eight novels published. In Beijing she is studying for her doctoral degree in literature at Beijing Normal University.
Ms Hou turned 27 just before she returned home, and wrote a total of 50,000 words in Mandarin during her stay. She will rework her material in Beijing and hopes to have final manuscripts by September.
Mr Hou says she hopes to return to New Zealand. The visit “opened her eyes”. She said that because of the number of Chinese, Maori as well as Europeans living in the city, she found Auckland a more international city than Beijing.
Ms Huo’s 2013 Fellowship will be matched next year by a Shanghai Writers’ Association invitation for a New Zealand writer to visit that city. So long as funding continues from both countries, the Fellowship is then expected to develop into a reciprocal opportunity for Chinese and New Zealand writers to alternate with visits to each other’s country, year by year.
Media Tour Mission Accomplished
The Deng Fund has got off to a good start with one of its first projects generating a series of in-depth reports on China in leading New Zealand media with more illustrated features in the NZ Listener coming soon. The role of the NZCFS has been handsomely acknowledged.
Six seasoned journalists spent a busy week in Shanghai and Beijing on the NZCFS sponsored tour. They were the NZ Herald’s Business Editor Liam Dann, photographer David White and writer Conrad Heine from the NZ Listener, The Otago Daily Times (ODT) Agricultural Editor Sally Rae, Sunday-Star Times reporter Simon Day and Heather McCarron from the Radio Live network.
They were hosted by the ‘Scott Wu Fei’ in Shanghai and supported by Lesley from Youxie in Beijing. They coordinated a schedule of appointments that was arranged with the assistance of Pat English of the China Council and Pamela Dunn of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Consul-General Niu and Consul Long in Auckland, who also hosted a farewell dinner for the delegation before they left.
The journalists chose their own subjects. They ranged from the ‘Environment and social media’, to ‘Disease Control’, ‘Foreign Policy’, and ‘International Trade’. Highlights were an hour-long ‘off the record’ audience with a Deputy Governor of the Peoples’ Bank of China, Ms Hu Xiaolin (who worked as an intern for Don Brash at our Reserve Bank in the 1990s), and a hands-on visit to the Fonterra Farm near Beijing. “So much more valuable than meeting Fonterra executives in a city office” said Sally Rae of the ODT. “All the meetings were interesting and useful creating the ”big picture” of what this China, that we write about so often, is all about”.
Liam Dann had a similar response: “The visit achieved its primary objective of increasing my insight into Chinese culture and the Chinese economy and official Chinese policy. All of these things are vital in my current role – which involves setting the editorial tone for business coverage on China for the NZ Herald and also regularly writing columns about the Chinese economy. Our guides were a fantastic asset. Their information about China, their translation skills and their ability to organise alterations to the programme at short notice was remarkable.
As an editor I feel that stories about New Zealand business people succeeding in China are a dime a dozen now. The real value is increasing New Zealand’s depth of understanding around Chinese trends and policy and wider cultural issues. This was highlighted to me very soon after my return from the media tour when the issue of Infant formula exports from New Zealand to China was in the spotlight as a news story
After my time in China I felt more confident in my understanding of the seriousness of food safety to the Chinese people and the importance of addressing this at policy level for the Chinese Government. This enabled me to play a role in assisting my reporters to produce a series of stories and editorials, which have resulted in the New Zealand Government addressing concerns of Chinese consumers and beginning a process of restructuring the regulatory regime for the industry.”
For some of their articles see:
Diverse China Tour NZCFS Projects, Nature, Culture and History, October 2013
NATURE, CULTURE AND HISTORY TOUR: Another exciting new tour in the highly recommended “Projects” series, led by Dave Bromwich, is being offered this October. It combines a visit to a NZCFS project, where you will meet our project partners and visit rural communities, with a comprehensive itinerary traversing diverse natural, cultural and historical sites. Suitable for reasonably fit people looking for a total China travel experience not normally available, this tour traverses from Yanan, Shaanxi Province, in the North, to Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, in the South.
The itinerary is now up on our Society’s website and it looks superb.
Projects in the North West of China
NZCFS’ programme of rural development in the NW of China has just received a boost, with a commitment from within China to fund extension of the project work into the next two years. At a time when funds from the NZ government have basically ended for NZCFS, Mr He Wanying, a wealthy businessman from Shaanxi province, will allow the programme to continue and expand with his generous support of around $60,000 per year for the next two years. Mr He is a friend of Mr Simon Deng Li.
The money will allow the establishment of an office and staff that will promote and deliver training programmes in cooperative development. The Shaanxi Provincial Agriculture Department has given an early indication that they will pay for the training services, thus making a break from dependence on international funds to do this cooperative promotion work.
Shaanxi Women’s Federation develop model cooperatives project has finished, with a very good outcome. Please see the report at http://nzchinasociety.org.nz/13860/shaanxi-province-model-co-operatives-prove-a-great-success/.