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Christchurch Branch Newsletter – January 2016

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry if you find this newsletter a bit long; hope it doesn’t prove to be too much reading for you! That’s what happens when you don’t issue a December newsletter!

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Next Meeting – 25th February 2016

Annual General Meeting

The first meeting of the year always includes the branch’s Annual General Meeting. Please give some thought between now and then as to whether you would like to stand for the committee. This is an opportunity to become more involved in our society’s activities. We are all committed to the NZCFS; here’s your chance to give your talents to achieve the aims of our organisation. Nominations from the floor will be accepted on the night for the roles of President, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, and members at large. The meeting will be followed by the showing of a DVD.

 

Chinese New Year Banquet

Yes, It’s that time of the year again, the banquet we always enjoy! We only have space for 130 diners, so make sure you don’t miss out PLEASE NOTE payment must be made at the time of making your booking. Details of the banquet and how to book are shown below.

 

New Zealand China Friendship Society

Chinese New Year Banquet

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6.30pm Monday 8th February 2016

Maxine’s Palace

Cnr Lincoln Rd and Clarence St. 

Seats are available at $30 per person.

Please RSVP by Wednesday 3rd February

All payments must be made by Friday 5th February.

Book your seats by emailing [email protected]

Payment instruction will be sent by reply email

 

West Coast Chinese Miners Reserves

In the 1800s, hundreds of Chinese miners worked on the West Coast, at Kumara and Ross in particular, going through the tailings left by the original miners. As a tribute to these Chinese miners, commemorative reserves are planned for both towns. The Ross reserve has been designed, and is now waiting for stone items to arrive from Guangzhou before it can be built. Christchurch resident Don Yee is very kindly helping source the items from China for both reserves projects.

A design was produced for the Kumara Chinese Miners Memorial Reserve a couple of years ago, but for various reasons was never actioned. These two projects have been driven by Biddy Manera in Ross and Fiona Pollard and the Kumara Residents’ Trust (KRT), supported by Mike Keenan, Community Development Officer for Kumara and Ross. Our February 2014 newsletter has an article on them; Chinese Memorial Gardens on the West Coast. Since then, both community groups have been working hard behind the scenes to secure land, reserve status, funding and finalise designs. These projects have become a labour of love for these two community groups, and while it is taking longer than first envisaged, both groups want to be sure it’s done well.

In exchanging emails with Fiona, Biddy, and one or two others over there during the last year or so, I picked up that the Kumara people were looking for someone to do a new design for their reserve project. You will remember young local landscape architect Erin Diao who designed a garden for the Ellerslie Flower Show; see the articles in our February, March and April 2014 newsletters. As soon as I heard they were looking for someone to design a Chinese memorial reserve in Kumara I knew straight away that Erin was the person! I had a chat with her about it, and yes, she was very keen. Following a flurry of emails over about six months, we were finally able to nail down a weekend that suited us all, and Carol, Erin and myself headed for Kumara in November. The day we drove over, the heavens opened; gale force winds and waterfalls across the road through Arthurs Pass and Otira; a very interesting and challenging trip.

We stayed in Kumara for the two nights in a delightful 1880s restored miner’s cottage, courtesy of the generosity of owner Kerrie Fitzgibbon, who with her husband Mark has restored the historic Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara (don’t go through Kumara without stopping and having a look at it; amazing! They serve good food too!). That evening we met with the locals involved in the Kumara project, which gave us a chance over food to get to know each other and of course for Erin to start to get an understanding of what they had in mind. Next morning they took us to where the Chinese miners had worked the tailings; an amazing sight. They had piled up 1000s of tonnes of boulders the size of large pumpkins to get at the tailings; it must have been back-breaking manual labour.

2From there we went to the site of where the reserve will be, which is on a high profile site on the road into Kumara. Two lions, donated by the Guangdong government are already there, standing guard on the site. These lions, and other key features, were donated at a fund-raising banquet held in Christchurch in February 2014, which was run by the Christchurch Guangdong Association. Both towns are extremely grateful for the fund-raising effort, which has helped significantly towards bringing these projects to reality. Consul-General Mr Jin Zhijian has visited both sites, and is taking a keen interest in progress. The Kumara Chinese Miners Memorial Reserve site is brilliant; a mix of flat and rolling land, dry and boggy, with a creek through it; great and exciting potential for a clever designer. We all spent a couple of hours there while Erin and the KRT people talked through what was hoped for, what could be done etc. The site is in two sections of land. One was generously given several years ago by local residents Anne and Don Bills, and the other section was purchased last year by KRT, after a generous donation towards the project was received.

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Chris Glasson Landscape Architects Ltd (where Erin works) is now working with KRT on a design for the Kumara site. They believe this will be a great opportunity to celebrate authentic Chinese culture and the area’s historic gold mining past together, by using local resources such as tailing stone, planting, and donated Chinese garden features such as stone lions and pergola. The design team from CGLA is working on the preliminary concept plan and looking forward to seeing the exciting project come true in the foreseeable future.

6On the Sunday we went down to Ross and met with Biddy Manera, who showed us the site for the reserve there, and what an amazing site it is! It’s right beside the main road, and has a small pond next to it. The design is completed, and will be constructed once the stone items from Guangzhou have arrived and been installed. Once $20,000 funding is sourced and confirmed, installation alongside the man-made lake can begin.  A local nurseryman has been offered the project to complete, with assistance from local volunteers.  Westland Region Environment Network Incorporated Society (WRENIS) is the main local support group behind this project, as well as the wider Ross community, local businesses, DOC and Westland District Council.  Once completed, the next stage will be the establishment of a Heritage Tramping trail, taking in many historic Chinese mining sites in the surrounding hillsides of Ross, once again, all done by local volunteers who have a passion for the history of Ross. 

The typical West Coast hospitality and friendship we received from everyone we met during the weekend was truly amazing; they want to make these Chinese reserves a reality, and with people power you can do anything!

On Sunday we left Ross at about 2pm for our trip home. If we thought the drama on the journey over was amazing, further was in store. Because of a bad accident near Arthurs Pass township, a queue of vehicles seven kilometres long was held up for an hour and 40 minutes, in very hot conditions, because of course most vehicles were not in the shade.

So then, two and a half days and 750km later, we arrived back in Christchurch after a very enjoyable weekend of West Coast hospitality and friendship, confident that a positive start had been made on the design and development of a Chinese reserve in Kumara which will suitably recognise the contribution made to the West Coast of Chinese miners all those years ago. As progress is made on the design work, we will make further visits over the hill, so watch for future newsletter articles on this exciting project. Who knows, at the appropriate time we may even arrange a contingent of volunteers from our branch to go over there and give them a hand!

Erin and Biddy Manera

– Dave Adamson

 

Sister cities banquet

For the past four or five years, the Christchurch China Sister Cities committee has hosted a banquet in late November or early December, to which it invites representatives from local Chinese organisations and groupings in the city which deal with China on various levels. The idea underpinning the banquet is to encourage networking, and the November banquet certainly achieved that. Around 100 diners had a great night. Committee chair Bernard Duncan gave diners a summary of the committee’s work over the last year, and special guests Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Consul-General Mr Jin Zhijian spoke on the importance of the work the committee is doing to further Christchurch/China relations, and the value it adds to our local community. Our sister city relationship with Gansu Province is very special, as it came at the direct request of Rewi Alley.

Consul-General Mr Jin Zhijian
Chair Bernard Duncan with Mayor Lianne Dalziel

 

NW China Handicraft Cooperative Visit: November 2015

In May, 2012, a very generous one million RMB (NZ$200,000) contribution was made to our society by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC, aka Youxie).This is to be made available over a five year period to promote educational, cultural and arts exchanges between China and New Zealand; further details are on our society website. It is operated through a society committee called the Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange Fund (RAFE). Each year it calls for applications from our branches for projects which develop and further the ideals of the fund.

11This year, one of the projects allocated funding was from the Manawatu branch, and involved bringing craft women from Gansu Province “To provide opportunity for mutual cultural understanding and exchange through a NW China handicraft cooperatives delegation in New Zealand, and to expand the vision of the delegate members for their handicraft industry”.

12Three women embroiders arrived in Christchurch in November, with Liu Guozhong as interpreter (who I’m sure is known to quite a few of us), and national president Dave Bromwich as driver. We had a welcome banquet with them on the Saturday night, followed next day by a visit to Riccarton Market, which I suspect they found intriguing. The Monday kicked off with a meeting with Consul-General Jin Zhijian, followed by a visit to a craft group in Normans Road. Happily, we were there the day a craft workshop was in session. Once the women had brought out their amazing highly-decorated embroidery and needlework, the local women dropped what they were doing and were entranced; it was a real meeting of minds and talents. We then took them to meet with a guild of spinners and weavers at The Tannery. The local women were amazed at the range of colours available in cottons in China; they were very envious. Following lunch there, we took them to Carol’s and my house, so they could see our craft work, which included cross stitch, porcelain dolls, quilting, card making, embroidery and bead knitting. It was then off to visit Carol’s friend Barbara, to see her miniature creations of dolls and buildings, and her glass jewellery, which she makes by melting and fusing different colours and glass types. In all of these visits, the language barrier wasn’t really a problem, as the craft spoke for itself; there are more ways of communicating than just verbal. That evening of course was another banquet, and the next day they left for Nelson, followed by stops to visit craft groups in Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland. Our overall impression of the visit, both here and other sites around the country was that it was a huge success, and could well flow through to the society one day taking a craft group tour to China. Certainly we found huge interest when we floated the idea with locals once or twice; craft is an international language.

 – Dave Adamson

 

The Rewi Alley Memorial Prizegiving Ceremony

Our branch held its annual prizegiving ceremony on the evening of Friday 27 November at St Margaret’s College, when prizes were given to young people at local schools who have achieved a level of excellence in their learning of the Chinese language. Founder of the event, Diana Madgin gave a very interesting talk on its background, and the importance of what it is achieving. We were honoured to have the attendance of Consul-General Mr Jin Zhijian and Councillor Jimmy Chen. As usual it was a very happy affair, with family, friends and teachers coming along to support these clever young people.

Award recipients with Consul-General Mr Jin Zhijian

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Christchurch Santa Parade 2015

Branch members assisted with the 2015 Santa Parade, which proved to be a lot of fun for all concerned. We started to decorate the large trucks at 10.00am with banners and balloons and then proceeded, after an excellent lunch given by the Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch, to the parade start in Wharenui Road.

The Society provided characters for the ‘Journey to the West’ theme (aka the Monkey King) who rode in one of the trucks, as well as two pandas with guides and two lions, which ran alongside. Altogether there were over 230 people – Chinese and Kiwi – taking part in the parade. A visiting group from Beijing Union University helped swell the numbers. This was one of the largest ethnic groups taking part in the parade. We provided a huge banner for the truck, so our identity was well displayed. It was a great parade; lots of fun and laughter for the large crowd along the way.

17The organising committee from Guangdong Association and Zhonghua Association really appreciated our branch’s involvement in the parade as did the Chinese Consul-General, Mr Jin Zhijian. We will be looking for more volunteers for this year’s parade (you have been warned!).

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Mandarin Corner

English | Pin Yin | Chinese

Happy New Year! | Xin Nian Kuai Le | 新年快乐!

I wish you all the best! | Wan Shi Ru Yi | 万事如意!

May you have a prosperous New Year! | Gong Xi Fa Cai | 恭喜发财!

This year is the year of the monkey. | Jin Nian shi Hou Nian | 今年是猴年。

Best wishes to you for the year of the monkey! | Zhu Nin Hou Nian Da Ji | 祝您猴年大吉!

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