One of China’s most senior politicians has announced a one million RMB (NZ$200,000) contribution from China to a new fund to promote educational, cultural and arts exchanges between China and New Zealand.
Mr Liao Hui, President of the China-Oceania Friendship Association, told the 60th Anniversary Conference of the NZ China Friendship Society in Auckland, that the contribution is initial capital for the Fund, which will be set up jointly by the two bodies. It will be known as the Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange Fund.
Mr Liao Hui, who is also Vice Chairman of the influential Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said that New Zealand writer and activitist Rewi Alley who lived in China from 1927 to his death in 1987, had not only devoted himself to China’s reforms but he also contributed much to friendship between China and New Zealand.
The new fund “will inherit and develop the spirit of Mr Alley and continue the great cause he started”. A key objective will be to support the NZ China Friendship Society’s programme of sending volunteer teachers to the Shandan Bailie School in Gansu Province, which Rewi Alley founded in 1944 as a co-operative training centre. The school was re-opened in 1987 with the help of New Zealand teacher, Tom Newnham, whom Rewi Alley had invited to teach at the school.
NZCFS President Eric Livingstone, said the $200,000 contribution was “the best 60th birthday present” the Society could have hoped for.