Welcome to the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.
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Present membership about 150. 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 (www.nzcfsyouth.org) 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 3.15-4.30 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 (Central) of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS), and President of NZCFS Wellington Branch in New Zealand’s capital city.
Luke is originally from Sichuan, the “Province of Abundance”, home of world famous spicy cuisine and pandas. Luke first arrived in Christchurch as an international student and played rugby for his school in his first year in New Zealand despite not knowing the rules of the game previously. He was a school prefect and received many academic awards.
His first job in New Zealand was putting inserts in newspapers, and he moonlighted at a 24/7 restaurant while studying at Canterbury University. After graduating, he worked at a bilingual community newspaper in Christchurch as a reporter & editor, before relocating to Wellington to embark on a career in banking, and gaining a Master of Applied Finance degree from Victoria University of Wellington. He currently looks after the international trade business in the greater central region for New Zealand’s biggest bank.
Luke is also a board member of the New Zealand China Trade Association, a member of Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network & Speakers Bureau, and a member of British High Commission Successor Generation Initiative. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace at the age of 27 by the Governor-General of New Zealand, and serves as a volunteer firefighter in his down time.
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 Wai-Kwan 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: Gerard Coyle
Gerard was born in Scotland, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1994. Since then, he has been mostly based in Wellington, with some time in Auckland and Christchurch. He has worked as a technical writer, test lab manager and software tester, and is currently studying for a Master of Software Development at Victoria University.
Gerard started learning Chinese (Mandarin) in June 2014 at the Wellington Chinese Language School Adult Beginners Class, and was introduced to the NZCFS in June 2016. He enjoys walking, reading, amateur astronomy, calligraphy (Chinese and Western), learning Chinese and editing the newsletters for the NZCFS and the Wellington Astronomical Society.
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: 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: Hugo Kan
Hugo’s parents immigrated to New Zealand from Hong Kong in the 1980’s. He was born in New Zealand, and would visit Hong Kong and parts of China annually in summer breaks as a student.
Hugo is fascinated by the breadth of Chinese culture and traditions that exist, and wish to learn about and promote the continuation of Chinese culture in New Zealand. Growing up in New Zealand gives him the benefit of being able to identify the differences, similarities and misunderstandings that may arise between Chinese and New Zealand culture, and also how to help people understand or clarify these misunderstandings.
Hugo looks forward to being involved with the New Zealand China Friendship Society to promote Chinese culture and language, to ‘bridge the gap’ between cultures; and to foster positive relationships between New Zealand and China.
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: 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: 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: 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.
Committee Member: 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 on 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.
Life Members: Ray Brownrigg, Douglas Day, Bing Fon, Rob McGibbin, Joan McGibbin, Mary Gray, Bernie Richmond, Elaine Richmond and Christine Strickland