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Christine Ward–Messages and Essay


Christine Ward’s passing has left us all grieving. Barbara Markland and Bruce Ward have received a number of messages from NZCFS members and branches, as well as from VIPs like the Nelson Mayor. Copied below is the message from Nelson Branch President, Barbara Markland, and Royden Smith.

Linked here is an essay, The inspirational legacy of Rewi Alley’s education theories and practices and their link with modern teaching and learning methods, that Christine contributed to the book ‘Collected Papers on the International Spirit of Rewi Alley’ published in 2016. This displays Christine’s writing acumen, intellect and compassion.

“It is with an immense amount of sadness that we write to let you know that our highly esteemed branch secretary, Christine Ward, passed away during Sunday night.

While Christine has been battling some health issues for a while, this news has still come as a huge shock and it feels like the beating heart of our branch has suddenly stopped.
She became involved in our Nelson activities very soon after she and Bruce moved up from Christchurch and has been a member of our committee ever since.
She was president from 2010 to 2015 and, in an excellent tag team with Barbara, she became secretary in 2019. Her willingness to step up just when it was needed was greatly appreciated.

Christine was always someone with so many wise and wonderful ideas and the energy and forethought to organise events to perfection. She was passionate about the role of the NZ China Friendship Society and fully understood the importance of Rewi Alley to the society and to education. Her research was always meticulous and memorable, as were her readings of his poetry.

She was the author of several excellent, authoritative teaching books, including “Learning to Learn” and “Teaching to Learn”. She worked with Chinese teachers in NZ and in China to encourage the use of brain-friendly learning and these courses and lectures were very well-regarded and much sought after.

The projects that she has been involved in are too numerous to list but certainly include the Appo Hocton Book project, which provided a copy of the Appo Hocton book to every secondary school library in New Zealand and raised funds to support the teaching of Mandarin in Nelson, Chinese Culture Camps, Chinese Garden parties and the arrival of the Mandarin Language Assistants in Nelson…

What’s more, with Bruce, she has been a generous and gracious host to so many Chinese and New Zealand visitors to Nelson who always go home with delightful memories of their conversations, her thoughtfulness and her delicious cooking.
She leaves an enormous hole in our hearts and our branch, and will be truly missed.

Our thoughts are very much with Bruce and all Christine and Bruce’s family.
We will let you know of the memorial service plans once these have been finalised, but it is likely that this will be when Auckland family members are able to attend.”

Barbara and Royden
On behalf of the Executive Committee
Nelson Branch
NZ China Friendship Society Inc.

‘Christine was everything I treasure about our Society. Loyal, generous, wise, energetic and effective. A gracious hostess. My stays with Christine and Bruce are among my happiest Nelson memories.’

‘Christine was a wonderful woman, efficient and engaging. This is a terrible loss.’

This is a sad loss for the Society and the world. Christine epitomised the Society. She will be sorely missed for her friendship and her contribution to NZCFS.