Newly-elected National President Chris Lipscombe recently received a letter of congratulations on his becoming National President from Shan Ziyang of the Gansu Foreign Affairs Office.
Chris was asked two questions; below is the letter and his responses.
Dear President Chris:
I’m from Gansu Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. First of all, I want to express my warm congratulations to you for you are elected the President of New Zealand China Friendship Society.
As this is the 125th Anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley, the China Gansu News want to have an interview about with you about Rewi Alley. So would you please kindly say something about the two following questions:
- 2022 is the 125thAnniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley, would you please say something about the spirit of Rewi Alley at this important moment?
Response: Rewi Alley is rightly regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest sons. Seventy years ago, Rewi Alley promoted the formation of the New Zealand China Friendship Society as a way of building and maintaining friendly relations between the peoples of New Zealand and China. Today, the Society is a legacy to Rewi’s life and work, building connections between our two countries.
There are three areas where Rewi Alley’s legacy is still alive today. The first is the Shandan Bailie School and Rewi’s educational philosophy of ‘hands and minds’, reminding us that effective learning happens through a balance of body, mind, and spirit. The second is Rewi’s Gung Ho (gong he) movement. The importance of working hard and working together to create a new society rings as true today as when the industrial cooperative movement (INDUSCO) began in the 1930s.
The third area, perhaps most relevant today, is Rewi Alley’s lifelong commitment to peace. Rewi understood that lasting development — of individuals, peoples, and countries — can only happen in conditions of peace. As a man who had lived through the horror of two world wars, Rewi worked throughout his life for peace as a necessary precondition of prosperity. As we face an increasingly bellicose world, even in our own corner of the South Pacific, we remember Rewi, who always walked the peaceful path.
- What’s your impression of Rewi Alley?
Response: Rewi Alley shows us what we can achieve through friendship, forging strong bonds between nations despite differences in history, culture, and language. Rewi’s life and work also remind us that by working together we can accomplish mighty things. Rewi brought people together to build a new future for themselves. Rewi’s famous expression ‘you banfa’ describes this approach. It’s not about the obstacles in our way, but how we will overcome them. In this way, Rewi Alley continues to inspire us to overcome obstacles and work together for a better future.
Thank you so much for taking this interview, and I hope that I could meet you in Gansu one day.
International Relations Coordinator
Gansu Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries