Welcome to the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.
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Activities include monthly meetings featuring talks and activities about aspects of Chinese culture, current affairs and trade; and a major banquet each year at Chinese New Year. Monthly meetings are held at Connolly Hall, Guildford Tce (off Hill Street) March to November on the third Wednesday at 5.45 pm followed by an optional buffet Chinese meal at the hall.
Supports a Youth Group which organises activities to promote integration of Chinese and New Zealand culture.
The Branch also sponsors a weekly Mandarin Corner where those wishing to improve or retain their Chinese language skills mix with native speakers. From August 2013, Mandarin Corner was re-launched according to an agreement with the VUW Confucius Institute. The weekly social gathering for conversational Chinese practice is now managed by a core team of Mandarin Language Assistants at the VUW CI. These are held every Saturday afternoon from 3.15-5 pm during school term in Seminar Room 103, 24 Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.
The Wellington Branch supports the Sister Cities link with Xiamen and Beijing, and keeps close contact with the other local Chinese associations.
A monthly newsletter is published with details of current activities.
To find out more about any NZCFS Wellington Branch activities please contact:
The Secretary, NZCFS Wellington, PO Box 5423 Lambton Quay, Wellington.
Donations: Donations over $5 are tax deductible. The Wellington Branch is a registered Incorporated Society. Our Charities Services (formerly Charities Commission) registration number is CC27242.
Annual membership: Student (full-time) $20, Single $25, Family $32, Educational Institute $40 and Corporate $50. If first joining after 1 July, a 30% discount applies. After 1 October, no discount applies, but Membership continues until the end of the following year.
To join the NZCFS Wellington Branch: please view the Wellington Branch Information Brochure & Membership Application Form or complete the online membership application form below.
President: Luke Qin JP
Luke Qin currently serves as National Vice President, Chair of National Finance Committee and President of the Wellington Branch at the New Zealand China Friendship Society. He has been involved in running the Wellington Branch since 2010.
Luke is originally from Sichuan, the “Province of Abundance”, home of world famous spicy cuisine and pandas. He first arrived in Christchurch as an international student and played 1st XV rugby for Linwood College in his first year in New Zealand despite not knowing the rules of the game previously. Aside from occasionally taking players out without the ball and pretending he did not speak English while playing rugby, he was a school prefect and received many academic and contribution awards.
After graduating from Canterbury University, he worked as a reporter and editor for a bilingual community newspaper, and in B2B sales in Christchurch before relocating to Wellington to work in banking, and gaining a Master of Applied Finance from Victoria University.
Luke currently serves as an international trade manager with one of New Zealand’s leading banks, an executive committee member of the New Zealand China Trade Association and a Board member of Transparency International New Zealand, with delegated authority in Affiliations & Financial Integrity Systems Assessment.
He is also a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, British High Commission Successor Generation Initiative, Hutt City Council Eastern Ward Community Panel, Friends of Waiwhetu Stream, and New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.
He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand at the age of 27 by the Governor-General, and serves as Treasurer of the Hutt Multicultural Council and a volunteer firefighter in his down time in Lower Hutt.
Luke is married to his childhood sweetheart Maggie and is now getting used to running after their boy Jayden, whom he hopes will also one day join the NZCFS. To this end, Luke believes the Wellington Branch’s recent success in attracting and involving more young New Zealanders will continue for many years to come.
Although both China itself and New Zealand’s relations with China are vastly different from the days when the Society was first founded in 1952, and the government and some of our largest trading organisations are putting enormous efforts into the political & economic relationship with China, Luke believes NZCFS’ longstanding objective in promoting friendship, understanding and goodwill between the peoples of China and of New Zealand remain relevant and crucial. He also believes the NZCFS is obliged to carefully judge every possible activity it might pursue against the test whether it would promote friendship, understanding and goodwill as a fully independent Society.
Vice President: Nathalie Harrington
As a law student at Victoria University of Wellington, Nathalie was involved in a wide range of organisations, including as Student Director of the Wellington Community Justice Project and a Trustee of Volunteer Wellington.
Nathalie is an active member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Leadership Network and in 2016, had the opportunity to travel to China as a recipient of the Minister for Youth’s International Leadership Award.
In 2001, Nathalie moved from her hometown Hamilton, NZ to a small village near Liuyang city in China’s Hunan Province. There she attended the local village primary school and began learning Mandarin. After also living in Fujian Province, Nathalie moved back to New Zealand to attend high school but has maintained a keen interest in all things Chinese ever since. Her mother has lived in Kaosiung, Taiwan, for over 12 years and through frequent visits, as well as continued language classes in NZ, Nathalie has kept up her Chinese skills. In 2011, Nathalie won First Class Prize at the 10th Annual International Chinese Bridge (汉语桥) Competition.
Secretary: Graham Gibbs
Graham’s interest in the NZCFS grew when researching family history – he was born in Chongqing. His parents spent most of their missionary service (1938-1949) in Zunyi, Guizhou province.
Graham has a varied working background including completing a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship before his 29-year career in NZ Police. Following this he managed a national non-profit organisation and during the past decade or so he held a national role in community and voluntary branch of The Department of Internal Affairs. Earlier in life he spent two years in the Kingdom of Tonga teaching in a High School through Volunteer Service Abroad.
Treasurer: Sam Macintosh
Sam is currently in the third year of study at Victoria University of Wellington, undertaking a conjoint degree of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, the latter majoring in International Relations and minoring in Mandarin.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Sam has spent most of his life living in rural west Auckland, close to family but miles from anything else! His introduction to China came while he lived and studied in Malaysia from 2009 – 2012. It was there that he began the long, enjoyable and continuous journey of learning Mandarin. Returning to New Zealand he continued the passion for learning about China.
Sam moved to Wellington for study in 2015, since arriving he had roles in both an internet call-centre, and (recently) as a legal administrator at the New Zealand Law Society. Sam loves Wellington’s vibrancy, coffee and spectacular craft beer.
Immediate Past President and Honorary Advisor: Michael Powles
Michael Powles recently retired as President of the Wellington Branch, concluding many years of involvement with China. He was ambassador in Beijing from 1990 to 1993 and was also NZ’s ambassador to Indonesia and to the United Nations in New York and was High Commissioner to Fiji and other Pacific island countries. After retiring from the foreign service he was appointed a Human Rights Commissioner; was Founding Chairman of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation; lived in Shanghai from 2006 to 2008 and was associated with Fudan University there; and is now a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Pacific Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He has lectured and written on issues relating to New Zealand’s relations with China and China’s involvement in the South Pacific.
Honorary Advisor: Christine Strickland
Christine Wai-Kwan Strickland was born and educated in Hong Kong. In 1979 she moved with her husband Gerald and two sons to Nelson, where they lived for 22 years before moving to Wellington in 2001.
Christine was Secretary of NZCFS Nelson branch from 1995 to 2000, then Secretary of the Wellington branch from 2002 to 2010. She was elected to the National Executive as Vice President (North Island) in 2007 and held that position until 2010. She then turned her attention to locating and working with a suitable website designer to set up a new website for the Society. The national website was launched in 2011, the Chinese version in 2013, and Christine continued administrating the website for the next five years.
From 2013 to 2016 Christine was back with Wellington branch as its Vice President.
Christine is also a life member of the Society.
Committee Member: Diwen Cao
Diwen hails from Hangzhou, China. She holds a Master in Social Enterprise with Distinction, and has worked extensively in the field of international development for ten years.
Her focus for Wellington branch’s activities is in the cultural sector and in youth engagement. Diwen loves music and arts, and works in a museum.
Committee Member: Jean Chua
Jean emigrated to NZ from Singapore in 2006 and has since been based in Wellington for university. Having spent nearly 10 years in each country, she feels a strong connection to both cultures, and hopes to put that enthusiasm to good use with the New Zealand China Friendship Society.
Jean manages the NZCFS Wellington Branch databases and website, and is also on the Future Dragonz Wellington Committee, and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Student Sub-Committee. Her hope is that by participating in these organisations, she may learn and experience more of the communities and cultures around her, the world, as well as herself.
When she’s not slaving over reports for her degree in Marketing and International Business, Jean runs a small business producing and selling her artworks.
Committee Member: Bing Fon
Bing Fon is a life member of the NZCFS Wellington Branch. He has been a member since the 70s and a committee member since the 80s. Now an octogenarian, Bing is still Captain of the Engine room and Head of Everything for the branch. He enjoys travelling in the Middle Kingdom and telling Luke Qin how many NZCFS Presidents he has survived.
Committee Member: James Hurley
Born a kiwi expat, James has spent most of his life abroad, and lived in Hong Kong for twelve years. During his time there, he interned at the South China Morning Post, participated in Model UN events throughout Hong Kong and Mainland China, and earned his black belt in karate. After completing his IB diploma, he returned to New Zealand, where he is presently concluding his bachelor’s degree at Victoria, double-majoring in Mandarin and International Relations.
Outside the classroom, James is involved in a variety of volunteer projects, working frequently with international students. He also tutors English and Chinese, and works seasonally as an interpreter at equine bloodstock sales in New Zealand and overseas. James has a strong passion for Chinese language and culture, and is keen to promote intercultural exchange and understanding.
Committee Member: Rosemary Jones
Rosemary Jones came to NZ from Hong Kong in the late ’60s. Her husband Jack is a Kiwi and they have brought up two sons here in NZ.
Professionally, Rosemary had been a school teacher in NZ for about 14 years, having taught a wide range of subjects including Chinese. She was then selected to be a Teacher Leader in 1988 taking 15 NZ and Australian teachers to teach in Beijing.
When she returned from Beijing, Rosemary went to work for Fonterra (ex NZ Dairy Board). She worked for Fonterra for 15 years and during this time she had held a number of positions including Liaison Executive for SE Asia and Latin America, and Global Ingredients Information Manager.
Rosemary has also been involved in community work for over 40 years. She has held positions as President, Vice President and Secretary in a number of Chinese and Ethnic organisations. She was also a branch secretary of a political party.
Committee Member: Dr Robert Lau
Robert is a happily retired academic, after 16 interesting and worthwhile years in academia as lecturer in Environmental and Public Health at the College of Health, Massey University. Studied at Otago University in the 70s, as an overseas student from Penang, Malaysia, he graduated with a Ph.D. from the Pathology Department, Otago Medical School. Robert’s grandparents migrated to Malaysia from Shantou, Guangdong Province, China. Robert was born in Penang but proud to be a naturalized New Zealander since the 80s.
In retirement, Robert has involved himself in many but varied interests. Currently he is serving on the Committee of the NZ China Friendship Society Wellington Branch and Wellington Chinese Garden Society. He is also a member of the NZ Institute of International Affairs and enjoyed listening to good speakers from NZ and overseas. Robert plays competitive masters badminton and will take part in the World Masters Games in Auckland in April this year. He likes to read widely now, after years of too much focus on medical sciences! He has the travel bug too.
Committee Member: Maggie Liao
Maggie has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English from Sichuan International Studies University and a Master of International Commercial Law from Dalian Maritime University. She won singing competitions at University and was a handy table tennis & badminton player. She worked as a Legal Counsel and Economic Policy Advisor for a government department in Suzhou, having been selected from the highly competitive Chinese National Civil Servant Examination programme.
After marrying a fellow Sichuanese that she went to school with Maggie arrived in New Zealand in 2012 and immediately started volunteering at her local Citizens Advice Bureau and the Salvation Army, helping people in need, teaching migrants English, while getting to know New Zealand for herself. She is now working for a Bank and is thankful for the opportunities New Zealand has provided her and her family. In 2015, Maggie and Luke welcomed their baby boy Jayden to their family feeling blessed and home in New Zealand. Maggie regards herself as a proud “Chiwi”, and wants the best of both worlds for Jayden and her family.
Committee Member: Michelle McCarthy
Michelle is in the business growth team at the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency. She has lived in Korea- teaching English, Japan- supporting New Zealand business development, and Taiwan- studying Mandarin Chinese. Michelle is passionate about connecting New Zealand and Asia through business, sport, and people-to-people linkages. She is excited about the opportunity to be involved in China-related events and initiatives in 2017 through the NZCFS.
Committee Member: Jordan Ng
Jordan Ng serves as NZCFS National Treasurer and a Committee member of the Wellington Branch.
A Chinese New Zealander born and raised in New Zealand, Jordan spent his formative years growing up in Lyall Bay, a suburb on the south coast of Wellington. Educated at St. Patrick’s College (Wellington), he excelled academically, as well in sporting and leadership pursuits. Most of Jordan’s extended family are based in Taishan – the reputed “Home of Overseas Chinese” – a city of 1 million people approximately two hours out of Guangzhou. He has travelled to China on two occasions and is looking to explore more of China at next opportunity.
After graduating with a double degree in 2013, Jordan balanced full-time work with further study towards a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting. He became a fully-qualified member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in May 2016 and currently works as a Management Accountant at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
Outside of work, Jordan loves all things sport, and is always up for chat about his favourite sports and teams. He has rediscovered his passion for reading and now enjoys a good book. He is also an avid social runner, having completed a number of half-marathon and 10km events.
Committee Member: Michael O’Neill
Michael is a program assistant at the China Cultural Centre in New Zealand. He is passionate about promoting Chinese culture, having lived in China for nearly two years and studied the language for many more. He has experience in international leadership and event management gained from running awareness workshops in Malaysia about human trafficking, as well as working for a social media company in China. He is a big supporter of the work NZCFS does and believes it would be great to strengthen connections with the China Cultural Centre.
Committee Member: Diana Tam
Diana is a first-generation New Zealander with roots in Guangzhou. She has been a regular visitor to the family hometown over the last two decades. She has travelled extensively throughout Asia, as a two-time awardee of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia and also under the Dominion Post Global Exchange Award.
Diana holds degrees in Law and Commerce, which included spending a semester in Hong Kong. Currently, she works as a property lawyer at Kensington Swan and mentors with the Asian Law Students Association at Victoria University. In her spare time, she enjoys art, gigs and bread-baking.
Committee Member: Tabitha Wilson
Tabitha is currently in her last year at Victoria University of Wellington majoring in Linguistics and Mandarin. Born in Hong Kong, Tabitha moved to New Zealand at the age of seven but returned to Hong Kong frequently to visit her Chinese family. As a result, she has kept strong ties with Chinese culture and language, even taking an exchange year in the City University of Hong Kong in her second year of study. This greatly improved her fluency in Cantonese, which led her to develop a strong interest in the preservation and documentation of languages, specifically Cantonese and other Chinese dialects such as Hakka.
Coming from a bicultural background, Tabitha feels strongly about the need to encourage cross-cultural ties and promote the fascinating aspects of Chinese culture that New Zealanders have yet to discover.
New Zealand Chinese Language Association Representative: Vera Xu
Vera migrated to NZ with husband from Shanghai, China 15 years ago. Her first involvement with NZCFS was participating the 2003 national conference as a member of the student panel talking about life in New Zealand. Adding to her English teaching experience, she did a MA in TESOL at VUW, taught ESOL and Chinese, and then worked in the settlement support field providing information for new migrants in Wellington and Hutt Valley for ten years.
Vera now works in NZQA as an evaluator. Now with two New Zealand born school age children, Vera has strong interest in Chinese migrants in NZ and would like to help promote understanding between the two peoples.
Wellington Young Chinese Union Representative: Hong Yuan
Hong used to be a university lecturer of accounting before moving to Wellington. She is now the principal journalist of Wellington’s most influential Chinese newspaper “Home Voice”. She is also running her own social media company, the New Bee Media, which targets the Chinese community in the Greater Wellington region for commercial promotion and advertisement.
Hong is also keen on organising charity events and generously helping and closely engaging with the local community. She has 14 We-Chat (a Chinese version of Facebook) groups with up to 500 people in each group, providing free services to meet various demands of the local Chinese society. These demands varied from house rental, second-hand product sales to pet caring.
This February, Hong founded the first charity group aiming at the young Chinese segments in Wellington, the Wellington Young Chinese Union.
Future Dragonz Wellington Representative: Dan Joe
Having been raised in Christchurch for most of his life, Dan is a Future Dragonz Representative for the NZCFS, to help assist and work with both organisations. Each day in his working life, he deals with IT and Telco related issues across all the government clients nationwide. During his spare time, he likes to take long walks, travel the world and meet new people in his path as well as learning new programming skills.
Wellington Xiamen Association Representative: Janet Andrews
Janet trained as a scientist with degrees in geology and zoology, working as a geologist in the Antarctic and in Australia, before leaving for Canada where she spent 20 years. There she worked as newspaper cartoonist and graphic artist, and, with her photographer husband, owned a screen printing business.
Returning to New Zealand, along with three children, the couple opened a studio and gallery on the shore of Wellington harbour. Janet has worked the past 20 years as a professional artist, has chaired several large art organisations, and has organised many large public exhibitions. She has always been involved in community work – in social services, education, art, and conservation.
Her first experience with China was as an artist in residence at an art college in Xiamen in 2009, courtesy of the Wellington Xiamen Association, which she is now President of.
“Science and art have both been great examples for me of how the power of individual relationships can overcome national barriers and breakdown negative stereotypes, leading to trust and co-operation across cultural borders.”
Anglican Chinese Mission Representative: Rev Henry Yap
Rev. Henry Yap was born and grew up in the State of Selangor, Malaysia. He and his family came to New Zealand in 2011.
Henry was called to serve in the Christian Ministry in 1984, and began to work with Youth for Christ Malaysia. He obtained a Bachelor in Theology in 1997 and served as Pastor for 22 years in Malaysia. He was Pastoral Adviser at the Christian Drugs Rehabilitation and Gambling Habit Rehabilitation Centre.
Henry began to serve at Anglican Chinese Mission in 2011 as Mission Coordinator, and ordained into the Anglican Oder in 2014. He was installed as the Missioner for Anglican Chinese Mission in 2015. Henry co-ordinates the Inter-Denominational Chinese speaking Pastor Fellowship in Wellington, and is also a committee member of the Wellington Chinese Garden Society Inc. He takes time to help and serve some of the international students, and communicates with many of the Chinese community organisations to have events and functions at the Chinese Centre. The Lion Dance Troup of Anglican Chinese Mission has always captured the hearts of all the community.
Henry speaks English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien.
Oriental Cultural And Performing Arts Group Representative: Haibo Li Michalik
Haibo was born in Northeast China, and came to NZ in 2002. Haibo did MBA study at Victoria University. She is a dancing instructor for the Confucius Institute, and runs a non-profit performing arts group with nearly 200 members (Oriental Cultural and Performing Arts Group Inc or OCAPAG). In 2016, OCAPAG presented 25 performances, including performing at Parliament’s Chinese New Year event, and also hosted 4 big events in Wellington. OCAPAG is focussed on children and youth, with a mix of members of Chinese and local children who don’t speak Chinese. OCAPAG’s area of interest is to promote Chinese culture, and multicultural exchange. OCAPAG successfully organised the 2017 Children’s Multicultural Festival at Te Papa, with performing groups from 12 nationalities, attracting an audience of 2000 people.
Sister Cities NZ Representative: Elisha Hsiao
Elisha moved from Taiwan to New Zealand when she was four years old. She spent quite a few years of her childhood in Auckland. She returned to Taiwan as her parents wanted to make sure that she could speak and write Mandarin Chinese. Elisha came back to New Zealand when she was 18 years old and went to Victoria University of Wellington to complete her LLB and BA (international relations and French). Elisha is passionate about learning languages and is a fluent French speaker. Elisha has spent most of her career assisting Chinese migrants and promoting trade between New Zealand and China. She is interested in learning more about regional China and its development.
Wellington Chinese Association Representative: Peter Ngan
Peter is Wellington born and raised. He has graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Information Systems at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Peter is an active volunteer in the Chinese community. In particular, he is helping out in the IT side for the Wellington Chinese Association (WCA), New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA), Future Dragonz Wellington (FDW) and Future Dragonz (FD).
Currently, Peter is working as a business analyst at the Ministry of Justice. Also, he is a WCA committee member and FDW president.
Outside of work, Peter is an avid chess player, passionate badminton player, and maintains a constant interest in keeping up with IT trends.
Wellington Chinese Women’s Association Representative: Lesley Chu
Lesley Chu graduated from Massey University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and Masters in International Business. She entered the community service sector as a volunteer for Upper Hutt Multicultural Council; this experience enabled her to build up her Chinese community networks. She is the founder and president of the Wellington Chinese Women’s Association, which emphasises “women help women”. Her association helps Chinese women and their families to settle down smoothly by organising various events, workshops, forums and classes. Lesley encourages Chinese women to be confident while contributing to society. The association is also part of Wellington Regional Settlement Networks, and focuses on helping migrants to settle down in Wellington. Lesley’s admiration and passion about New Zealand education system stems from being an international student and now being a mother of two school aged girls. She quit her job from Hutt Valley DHB to set up her own company promoting culture and education between New Zealand and China. She is keen to work closely with local schools and organisations between both countries through exchange programmes and activities.
New Zealand Culture and Arts Association Representative: Jun Yuan
Jun works as a medical staff in a hospital, and is committed to promoting traditional Chinese culture in his spare time. As the Co-chair of New Zealand Chinese Culture and Arts association, he devotes time to organising community projects, planning various forms of performances and practising Peking Opera, Zen Dance, Pop Music, Tai Chi and Tea Ceremony. His most popular performance is “Drunken Beauty”.
New Zealand Charitable Association & Oceania TV Representative: Alice Hang
Alice Hang was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Brazil, educated in England and the US with a degree in engineering. With young children and passionate about the outdoors, the move to NZ twenty years ago was a natural fit. Alice has worked for ACC and Wellington City Council and last year she started an online Chinese multimedia news agency, OTV, the only Parliamentary Accredited Chinese media in NZ.
She is the Chair and founder of New Zealand Charitable Association – a non profit organisation aiming to provide care and support to new migrants, ethnic elderly and international studies. She is also on the Advisory Board for Plunket, Honorary President of Chao Zhou Association of New Zealand and committee member of the Wellington Chinese Garden Society.
Her professional experiences and enthusiasm for working with the communities will bring different perspective and contribution towards the NZ China Friendship Society vision.
Skykiwi Wellington Office Representative: Lily Wang
Skykiwi.com was founded in Auckland in 2001 with the Wellington Office officially opening in 2017. Lily Wang has more than 10 years media experience in China and 5 years in local wellington community.
Lily graduated with Master of Media Management. She enjoys to be a driven and enthusiastic multimedia journalist and is also interested in photo shooting and stories telling. She is quite active on social media, having a nose for news and an eye for detail, willing to help in connecting thriving Chinese and Kiwi communities.
Multicultural Council of Wellington Representative: Rachel Qi
Rachel is an event and cross-cultural marketing professional, and has extensive business experience both in New Zealand and China. She is able to create profitable trade and cultural linkages between New Zealand and China, especially in the areas of education, investment and international trade. She is particularly interested in marketing, education, business development, project management, and stakeholder communication.
Rachel has been very actively involved in many societies and organisations, such as China and New Zealand Business Council (Co-Chair), Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Centre (CEO), Multicultural Council of Wellington (Vice President), New Zealand China International Trade Association (Vice President) and New Zealand – China Film Festival (CEO).
Life Members: Ray Brownrigg, Douglas Day, Bing Fon, Rob McGibbin, Joan McGibbin, Mary Gray, Bernie Richmond, Elaine Richmond and Christine Strickland