Report from Heiko Lade
Every year the New Zealand China Friendship Society holds their annual conference and AGM in a different location in New Zealand with this year being in Hamilton. The branch in Hamilton put on a splendid three days for us, organsing the event at Waikato University.
Miao Fan, the president of Hamilton branch and her committee members are to be applauded for such a successful event. There was a traditional Lion Dance and speeches from the deputy-Mayor of Hamilton and National President Dave Bromwich to open the conference.
One of the objectives of the Society is to foster exchange between New Zealand and Chinese people and this was clearly evident at the conference. Hillcrest High School in Hamilton has about ten percent Chinese students attending the school and they organized dance and music entertainment between the key note speakers. One of the students is an upcoming calligrapher and he gave us lessons on how to use the calligraphy brush.
Each conference always sees that we have a speaker from the Embassy and this year we had newcomer Ms Yang Xiaotao who is the new Director of the Cultural Section.
The highlight of the conference for me was the fascinating story of Robin Hyde, presented by Miles Barker, a long standing Hamilton NZCFS member and professor at Waikato University. Robin Hyde was a young New Zealand woman who became a journalist and author who travelled to China during the Japanese invasion in the late 1930’s. There she met Rewi Alley in Shanghai and walked her way to Qingdao, recording the horrible events of the war.
A very successful banquet on the Saturday at the Canton Hong Kong Restaurant saw over $500 being raised for the He Mingqing scholarship.
The AGM concluded with a strong Hawkes Bay contingent being part of the National executive with Dave Bromwich still holding the reigns as National President, Simon Appleton continuing on as National Secretary and myself as an elected National Executive Committee member.
The other news for Hawkes Bay is that our branch now has Alicia Huang taking over from me as Branch Secretary and you will be able to meet her soon at one of our organized activities.