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Rewi Alley 120th Anniversary Commemoration Symposium, Canterbury, 2017

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Dec 1st, 2017, in Canterbury, New Zealand

We are pleased to report excellent progress on preparations for the 120th Anniversary Canterbury commemorations of Rewi Alley’s birthday and we invite you to join us.

Twelve Chinese delegations of 86 people, some at senior level, will be here from Beijing, Gansu and Hubei Provinces.

Rewi with his bust in 1971, in Springfield. The bust, sculpted by Francis Shurrock is now in Canterbury Musem.

We commence Friday 1st December at 9.30am when the Mayor of Christchurch will unveil a plaque at Rewi’s former high school, now the Christchurch Arts Centre.  A photographic display of Rewi will follow in the school.  Then a visit to the Canterbury Museum will be made to see artefacts Rewi donated as well as other exhibits.  An on-line catalogue at www.rewialleyart.nz (funded by a $340,000 Marsden Fund grant) has all the details of the artefacts.  Coaches are available to pick guests up in motels along Riccarton Road and elsewhere during the day to ease parking problems.

Lunch at Christchurch Boys High School in Riccarton is the next stop and items from Shandan Bailie School are on display, courtesy of eleven former students, entitled  ‘Old Time Bailie School Window’.  Later there will be a symposium with 12 presenters briefly introducing their papers on aspects of Rewi’s life and works before participating in three simultaneously translated panels covering questions on those works. 

See below for a link to download a copy of the draft list of presenters and their topics.

Fourteen Alley family members will attend, the leader being Duan Hailong (granddaughter of Rewi Alley) , who will speak on Rewi’s family in China.  The Duan family wish to start a Rewi Alley fund in China with the blessing of the New Zealand Alleys and this is being worked on presently with the help of the Mayor of Christchurch.   We intend a Rewi Alley Trust in Christchurch to continue activities which have arisen during the commemorations including a reprint and translation of Philippa Reynold’s biography of Rewi Alley.  A possible memorandum of understanding agreement will be signed to assist the formation of trusts and funds.

The Chinese Government officials will later attend a civic reception while the remainder will enjoy a ‘catch-up’ with each other.

Rewi’s birthday, Saturday 2nd December, will commence with a presentation by the Rewi Alley Chinese School in Riccarton, then we will go by coach to Amberley, where Rewi lived, to a small garden of reflection to be opened by the Governor General of New Zealand.  Hurunui District in Amberley co-operated with Honghu City to produce this garden in memory of Rewi’s help during the famine of 1932.  A pounamu touchstone, echoing the similar one sent to Honghu City. will be blessed.

Memorial to Rewi Alley in Springfield, South Island, NZ, where he was born.

A cross-country trip will follow to Springfield, Rewi’s birthplace, for a brief ceremony at the memorial to him erected 20 years ago.  Sculptor, Lu Bo, who designed and constructed it, will attend with husband, Deng Bangzhen, one of Rewi’s foster sons. 

Guests will then return to Christchurch to a reception for the Chinese Consulate and Consul General.   It is hoped that a tree commemorating Rewi will be planted in the Consulate grounds.  Songs from a play celebrating Rewi’s centennial 20 years ago will be played before the Anniversary buffet  banquet at Rydges Hotel.  Seating for 300 is available and subsidised by Christchurch City Council.  Winners of the Rewi Schools Essay Competition will be announced and guests returned to their accommodation.

It is recommended to book coach seats over the two days as coach travel allows one to make or renew friendships. Sunday will be set aside for sightseeing and visiting friends before returning home..

We acknowledge the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury that has co-operated in putting huge resources at our disposal.  This all helps towards what a great event this looks like being. 

For Detailed Programme: click HERE

To download a Registration Form: click HERE

For a provisional (Oct 15) list of Chairperson, speakers and their topics, click HERE

For a ‘Commemoration’ pamphlet about Rewi Alley’s achievements in China and his relevance in New Zealand today, click HERE 

Eric Livingstone (Chairman of the Rewi Alley 120th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, Canterbury)