The following is the report by Dave Bromwich, NZCFS President, at the AGM, following the NZCFS National Conference in Tauranga, May 29, 2016:
“The 64th year of New Zealand China Friendship Society has been an active year on a number of fronts, with some significant progress being made in some areas, and new activity and initiatives developing.
While fuller details come from the individual reports, I would like to outline some of our achievements and acknowledge some of the key players.
- In Tours, thanks to Ann White for her highly valued, competent and efficient management as Tours Chair. Two NZCFS tours have been delivered since Conference last year, the Mongolia and North Central China Tour in July and the Photographers Tour in September.
These NZCFS tour itineraries go beyond what is commonly available in tours to China, exploring more closely the unique aspects of the regions. To remain attractive to members and the public wishing to join NZCFS’ educational delegations as distinct to commercial tourism, we need to retain this adventurous but comfortable, informative and competently delivered programme. I am sure those who have travelled with Wang Fang over the last several years will agree we are doing well.
Ann retires from her position as Chair of Tours committee after she returns from leading the SW tour in early November, and we will have a hard job to find her replacement. Thank you Ann for your service over the last three years.
- The RAFE and Simon Deng Li Funds have become a regular and important feature of the NZCFS calendar, providing branches and executive with tremendous opportunity for activity to achieve the objectives of the society.
The 2016-7 year is the last year of the five years for which these funds have been committed, and Youxie have indicated they will not roll it over after this. However, there is suggestion that they will consider partnerships with provincial Youxie organisations, and we will vigorously pursue these opportunities to retain some fund availability for the future.
The current projects are reported in the separate reports. I would like to thank Dave Adamson (Vice President South Island) and George Andrews (Vice President North Island Northern) for their management of the RAFE Fund and Simon Deng Li Fund committees respectively in what is not always an easy process to select projects from over-subscribed applications, and to supervise their implementation and reporting.
I would just like to report the outcome of one project, the publication of Ma Baoru’s book “Bridges of Friendship”. The RAFE fund contributed to the cost of publication. While currently only available in Chinese, there is discussion to have it translated into English . I only have one copy with me, but more copies will arrive in New Zealand over the coming months, and available to those who can read Chinese. Or, just look at the pictures, which cover a number of areas where both Kathleen Hall and Rewi Alley have worked being visited by some of our members.
- The Kathleen Hall Memorial Fund continues to be an important project, with several branches making this their key fund-raising activity. While the community health project delivered last year provides opportunity to extend our commemoration activity for Kathleen Hall, the core will remain as the HMQ scholarship. This year, a further two HMQ scholars graduate. Thanks Deborah and the team for their management of these projects.
- In Education, John Hodgson has continued to demonstrate the value of the educational and student exchange programme he has been operating out of Bay of Plenty for several years now. Yesterday we saw the presentation from the latest group who went to China with him. This is truly an example of 好事多模，with expanding opportunity emerging .
The true value of youth exchange will continue to emerge over the decades, as we observe the impact these opportunities have on the individuals, and for some at least, the role they will play in the NZ-China relationship in the future.
- Youth initiatives are maturing and in several branches developed into regular activities in the calendar, and increased profiles for NZCFS Youth are becoming established. In the last year, there has been progress in extending youth activity in more branches, and there is increasing collaboration between the different youth cells around New Zealand, with further branches tapping into this role.
In China, at least two new initiatives for youth have emerged. On May 6, in Zhengzhou, from the work of Ken Liu, on behalf of NZCFS I signed an MOU with Zhengzhou Youxie . The initial core of this is the” NZ China Educational Friendship Programme” which will provide more NZ graduates with the opportunity to formally work as English teachers while participating in a cultural programme. The opportunities in this MOU are broad, with discussion based around sister school relationships, and student exchange. Of interest is a chance to send young Kiwis to Shaolin Temple Performing Arts School.
Last year I suggested a need to consider how NZCFS can become more attractive to the middle aged demographic. I repeat that today!
- NZCFS have issued 14 invitations for delegations from China to visit NZ. Using our approach to issue only to authorities known to NZCFS, or on behalf of those institutions’ recommendation, and implementing our policy on invitations, these have largely been well received by NZCFS branches. George Andrews and Auckland branch play an important role in their regular hosting of first, and sometimes only, point of contact. Hamilton also has a very good record of a number of successful and focused delegation visits.
- 2015 Prominent Persons and Leadership (PP&L) delegation was a special year for our NZCFS-only invitation. Following a new approach agreed with Youxie, our delegation was a focused Medical delegation. The future of these invitations is uncertain, but we will do our best to encourage continuation of these opportunities.
2016’s PP&L invitation has attracted little interest from branches, with just 3 nominations. We respect the expense of travel for 4 days is acting as a disincentive.
There is increasing interest from provincial Youxie organisations to establish partnerships.
- Rewi Alley’s legacy continues to be a significant part of my activity in China on behalf of NZCFS . The current position of this I have reported more fully in the NW China report. Promoting Rewi Alley in New Zealand will become a major activity for NZCFS in the coming year.
- James Bertram is a neglected NZ hero in the history of the NZ-China relationship. He was a journalist in China in the 1930s, and was the first western journalist to report to the world on the very significant “Xi’an Incident”, which changed the course of history. 2016 is the 80th anniversary of this affair, and there is great interest with a film production unit in Xi’an to produce a documentary on James Bertram.
I have been liaising with this group in China, and recently George Andrews, being present in Beijing, accompanied members of the company to meet with John McKinnon. Currently, the film company is looking for investors, and are very keen to form a partnership with NZCFS to implement the document this story in New Zealand. We anticipate a visit in July/August.
The state of the NZCFS
Two years ago NZCFS adopted an Action Plan that came from a member’s survey. This year at the February Executive meeting, we evaluated our progress against this plan. We concluded that we are making good progress in the objectives of working with peer groups and organisations, and making steady progress in supporting youth strategies. We are not doing so well in the objective to inform our members and promote ourselves to the public. I acknowledge my own failing in not finding time to put more effort into this area.
I consider that NZCFS as a voluntary organisation with limited access to funds is playing an increasing role in the NZ-China relationship. However, it has been my feeling for at least one year that to deliver on the ongoing opportunities and maintain a professional position we need to move beyond relying on a small number of hard working and committed executive members. So I am very pleased that we have approved the engagement of a professional administrator who will be able to support our activity and achievements for 40 hours per month. The details of this role will evolve as we develop the most effective use of the time.
I have heard suggestion that this new approach belittles the voluntary work of earlier office holders of NZCFS. I take the opposite view, that it heralds the worth of that work, and supports the view that the need for NZCFS and respect for our role is not going away, rather is expanding.
Further to the sub-committee roles already acknowledged above, I would like to especially thank Heiko for his long serving role as secretary, from which he is now retiring, and for his personal support to me. I am pleased that I have been successful in retaining his place on National Executive.
George Andrews and Dave Adamson for their ever willingness and ability to advise, and make things happen when I am away from NZ, also readily taking responsibility for extra tasks that come out of the blue.
Chris Goodwin for maintaining the treasury in an often thankless and always never-ending role.
Ken Liu, Kirk and others under the mentorship of Miao for their passion to keep the youth movement going.
Christine Strickland for keeping up the role of Website liaison person, beyond her retirement. Duncan and Teri France for major contribution to posts on the website.
John Hodgson for his untiring efforts in building good relationships between Bay of Plenty youth and his much loved Nanchang. And for doing a sterling job to make this weekend happen.
While not wishing to ignore Wellington and Christchurch, Hamilton and Nelson branches are impressive, and Dunedin is emerging strongly. Thanks to all Branch Presidents for their and their committee’s efforts.
Finally, again thanks go to Ann White who officially retires from National Executive at this AGM, although I know we will see more of her for a little time yet.”
Dave Bromwich May 2016