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For the past three years, I have held the role of National Secretary for the New Zealand China Friendship Society.

I was often surprised how passionate many of the NZCFS members are, while I didn’t always see eye to eye with some of the executives, I did appreciate their enthusiasm.

It is undeniable that our membership is diverse with differences in opinion and motivations for joining. Because of this diversity, I believe it is vital that the society focuses on a select few areas where there is a common goal. As far as I have seen, everyone within the NZCFS is involved because they have a genuine interest in China – be it to learn about or to share their experiences of it.

It is also essential that the society respects those with differences in opinion, and embrace new ideas and change when it makes logical sense. As new people come to the organisation with new ideas and attitudes cherish them – change can sometimes be good.

Channel member’s enthusiasm into productive endeavours, encourage members and non-members alike to become involved. Just as crucially, celebrate the positive outcomes.

I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have supported me over the past years. I have learned a lot in the role. I would especially like to thank Amy Tanabe, who took on much of the administration work. Amy has played a vital role, and I am pleased she will continue working alongside our new National Secretary, Craig.

As for me, I am going to focus on developing my businesses. As some of you may be aware, the company has expanded into Asia, and it is taking a lot of my time. I hope to remain involved with the NZCFS and will watch with interest as the society evolves.

Good luck and thank you.

Simon Appleton