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Report from New Zealand China Friendship Society National Conference Havelock North 23–25 May 2014

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This year’s national conference of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS) held last weekend in Havelock North was declared the best ever by the 92 delegates attending from all over the country.

Highlights included:

  • A warm welcome to His Excellency WANG Lutong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China; Yuan Yuan, Cultural Attache from the Chinese Embassy, Simon Deng Li, NZCFS Honorary Patron (Cultural) and all other participants enhanced by the Chinese flag flying in the middle of Havelock North village;
  • A magnificant display of artwork at the Havelock North Function Centre of Chinese paintings and sculptures by artists Jim Lin, Dan Zeng, Deng Bangzhen and Lu Bo from Auckland;
  • A memorable performance by impressive young women of the Maori Kapa Haka group from Hastings Girls’ High School who welcomed visitors last Friday evening;
  • Napier Mayor Bill Dalton then spoke of the importance of China and our Chinese friends to all New Zealanders and then sat for a portrait by Deng Bangzhen;
  • On Saturday morning, Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chairperson of Te Runanga o Ngati Kahungunu Trust in his whai korero extended a welcome from the six Iwi Taiwhenua in his rohe to all manuhiri present, who then sang the love song Pokarekareana composed by his grandfather Paraire Tomoana in 1917;
  • Lawrence Yule, Hastings Mayor and President of Local Government New Zealand, formally opened the Conference and stressed the importance of people-to-people contacts between China and New Zealand and the role of the NZCFS in assisting Hastings District Council in its ongoing Sister-City relationships with Guilin over the last 33 years;
  • His Excellency WANG Lutong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, warmly commended the Society on initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation and the importance of young people in both China and New Zealand developing friendships for the future;
  • National President Dave Bromwich welcomed everyone to the conference on behalf of our Society and said that we were proud that on the 14 -16 May two youth members, Charles and Jessica Rowe (no relation), represented NZCFS in Beijing at the 60th anniversary of Youxie (Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries);
  • Raymond Huo, Labour MP, launched the New Zealand Chinese Language Week to be held for the first time in September this year; (See the separate press release with more details and photos)
  • Sally Russell, Hawke’s Bay NZCFS Branch President and Conference organiser said that: “The Conference theme ‘Voices for Youth’ invited youth members to meet each other and discuss exciting new initiatives for our Society”. These included Tony Tian (Christchurch), Faye Zhang, Jack Irvine and Kirk McDowall (Wellington), Sheila Liu (Tauranga) and Ken Liu and Hamish Young (Auckland ). The Society’s first Youth Ambassador Charles Rowe joined the Conference via Skype from Beijing;
  • To complete Saturday’s afternoon activities, the Hawke’s Bay Youth and training orchestras under the leadership of Sue Melville and Charlotte Van Asch, presented a marvellous concert at St Columba Church, Havelock North. A feature of the concert was the splendid solo performance on the traditional Chinese instrument, the gu zheng, by Chen Xi Yao, a very talented young musician from China. He composed a beautiful piece called The River for this occasion and he and the orchestra combined to play it.

Contact:

Sally Russell: 06 877 6027 or 021 1299 608

chinese flag in Havelock North
From left: Sam Jackman, President, Havelock North Business Association; Sally Russell, President Hawke’s Bay Branch and Dave Bromwich, National President NZCFS raise the Chinese flag in the centre of Havelock North.
HastingsGHS
Hastings Girls High School Kapa Haka group welcome guests to Hawke’s Bay in front of paintings by Deng Bangzhen
JohnChen
John Chen, from the Hawke’s Bay Branch executive (right) presents a gift of Arataki honey to His Excellency, WANG Lutong, the Chinese Ambassador.
Lawrence Yule
Lawrence Yule, Hastings District Mayor, opens the NZCFS Conference
RaymondHuo
Raymond Huo, Labour MP on the left with artist Jim Lin
Bill Dalton
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton (right) shows his portrait sketched by artist Deng Bangzhen (left)
Dan Zeng
Dan Zeng, Tibetan artist stands with a selection of his art work with Mt Everest on the left.
Chen Xiyao
Talented traditional Chinese musician Chen Xi Yao playing the gu zheng
NZCFS Voices for Youth
From left: Faye Zhang, Ken Liu, Kirk McDowall, Jack Irvine and Tony Tian
NZCFS 2014 Conference banquet
The Banquet was very enjoyable with Jim Lin’s paintings on the wall.