As we look back on the past year I believe we can be pleased with what our branch has achieved. We are not a large branch but we do have a loyal group of members. The format of sharing a meal before meetings continues to be popular. This involves extra work for committee members but willing volunteers are always on hand.
Anne White and Margaret Hunter attended the NZCFS’s National Conference in Havelock North in May. Congratulations Ann on being elected to National Executive. Ann has been responsible for the Society’s tours for some time. This is a demanding task and Ann has indicated she wishes to step down as Branch Secretary to relieve the pressure. Ann has served our Branch well as secretary and while she will be hard to replace we thank her for the efficient way she has attended to the secretarial duties. Thank you Ann for all your good work. Our Branch has nominated her for National Executive when elections are held at the Nelson Conference in May.
Committee members met with National President, Dave Bromwich and executive member Deborah Rhode, while they were in Timaru on National Tours business.
We appreciate the support of Society South Island Vice-president Dave Adamson who chaired our AGM in March as well as attending our New Year Banquet with his wife Carol.
There have been two significant China related events in Timaru this year. Many of our members attended the opening of the Confucius Centre at Aoraki Polytechnic in September which was followed by a performance of classical Chinese music. Recently appointed Christchurch Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Hon Jin Zhijan, was in attendance. Ann White, our secretary, spoke to the gathering about the Society’s He Ming Qing Nursing Scholarships.
The other significant event was the introduction of Mandarin to school curriculums in Timaru. It has been our pleasure to get to know tutor, Annie Ren. Several of our committee have hosted Annie in their homes and this has been greatly appreciated.
Jim Pearce gave an illustrated talk to a Branch Meeting in June about his adventure cycling from Shanghai to Singapore.
Alan Young, son of branch member Andrew Young and former Consul General and Trade Commissioner to China spoke of his experiences. The meeting was held at short notice at Strathallan Life Care and was shared by a number of their residents and resulted in us gaining new members.
Mike Galpin who spent many years in China and Thailand from the 1980’s with his wife Marion, gave an illustrated talk at Ann and Richard White’s home prior to Christmas.
As usual we held a well-attended New Year Banquet at the Golden Palace, this year to welcome the “Year of the Sheep”. The raffles organised by Cecilia will enable us to make a significant contribution to the He Ming Qing Nursing Scholarship Fund.
In March, Branch Member James Hughes who had spent many decades in Asia spoke on “The Century of the Dragon”. James explained China’s tortuous history and its recent transformation to a market economy. It was a pleasure to welcome recent arrivals from China whose employment has brought them to South Canterbury.
In November, I attended the National Executive meeting in Wellington. This was a valuable experience which enabled me to better understand the workings of our Society and meet members of the executive.
In February I was invited by the Chinese Consulate in Christchurch to attend a Spring Festival to welcome the Year of the Sheep.
In closing, a big thank you to all our committee members. They serve our branch well and are a reliable team who make running our Branch a pleasure. Thanks Ray, for taking good care of our finances.
Derek Hughes, Timaru Branch President.