New Zealand China Friendship Society national executive members Dave Bromwich (President), George Andrews, Miao Fan and Heiko Lade attended the inaugural conference and establishment of the Pacific-China Friendship Association (PCFA), 25-28th October 2016. Her Royal Highness, Princess Salote Mafile’o Pilolevu Tuita of Tonga hosted the gathering which was held in the capital Nuku’alofa. The Princess of Tonga is the current President of the Tonga China Friendship Association.
In attendance were delegates from the China Friendship Societies from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, New Zealand Maori, the Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Tonga. Apologies were received from the Federated States of Micronesia and Vanuatu. Observers were from Australia-China Friendship and Exchange Association, Hawaii and New Caledonia.
The main keynote speeches were presented by HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita, who declared the Conference open, and Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Youxie). Madam Li Xaolin encouraged this gathering of the pacific nations and has invited all member nations of PCFA to be hosted for the second meeting in Hainan Island, China, tentatively in early 2018. Other addresses were given by dignitaries and leaders from Tonga.
During proceedings, HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita and Mme L i Xiaolin signed a Memorandum of Understanding for friendly cooperation between the Pacific-China Friendship Association and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
The Princess of Tonga has been elected to the life position of Patron of the Pacific China Friendship Association, which she accepted with a vote of thanks, and a commitment to be a working patron.
Dr Hiria Ottino of Tahiti was voted in as President and Anthony Leong of Australia is to be the convener.
An interim constitution of the Pacific China Friendship Association was agreed upon as well as the election of officers for the first year of operation. Five councillors, including representatives from members NZCFS, NZ China Maori Trust, Fiji and Solomon Islands Friendship Associations were elected. The following resolutions were approved:
- That the Pacific-China Friendship Association (the Association) resolves to promote friendship and understanding between all Members and the People’s Republic of China;
- That the Association resolves to co-operate in projects of mutual interest, including cultural, educational and economic activities;
- That the Association resolves to freely disseminate information between present and future members in matters of benefit or advantage to the membership in whole or part;
- That the Association will work to correct misunderstandings, inaccuracies and misleading information published about any Member, and the People’s Republic of China;
- That the Association will provide information in endeavours or activities to promote people-to-people friendship and understanding, to all;
- That the Association asserts its independence and endorses an independent South Pacific with freedom to self-determination without fear or favour.
Sightseeing was organized by the Tongan Ministry of Tourism and included a visit to Mapu’a Vaea Blowhole, Ha’amonga’s Maui Trilithron (an amazing rock structure dating back to 1200), and the original landing place of Captain Cook. Many of the visiting delegations also enjoyed a traditional Umu Feast, where the food was wrapped in banana leaves and baked in hot ashes in the sand at Oholei Beach Resort.
George Andrews, Auckland branch President and National Vice President has been selected by NZCFS as the New Zealand China Friendship Society representative and liaison officer for the Pacific China Friendship Association.