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Fantastic Performance by Chinese & New Zealand Musicians

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Fantastic Performance by China & New Zealand Musicians

As the very recently appointed President of our Auckland Branch of our Society it gives me great pleasure to contribute to our September 2022 Newsletter.

About a week after becoming the Auckland Branch President, while strolling down Queen Street, Auckland, I happened upon a billboard advertisement featuring the then upcoming EAST MEETS WEST Concerts organised by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd (CAEG) and Presented by The Culture Bridge NZ.  I instantly saw that the theme of these Concerts aligns with our primary goal of fostering peace, cooperation and friendship between the peoples of China and New Zealand.

After seeing the ad, we contacted Jade Min of The Culture Bridge and introduced ourselves and asked how the New Zealand China Friendship Society and Culture Bridge might be able to work together for our Members’ mutual benefit.  Jade was very supportive of us and our goal of developing links with local communities to improve friendship between them and with other supportive organisations.

Concert of 1 September.

On September 1 & 2 at 7:30 PM at Auckland Town Hall, Maestro Leonard Weiss led the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in “East/West: A Symphonic Celebration” featuring soloists: Programme Director of Classical Performance and Head of Piano Studies at New Zealand School of Music Dr.Jian Liu (piano), Christina Ellison (soprano), and Bo Jiang (tenor).

The Conduction of this Concert was absolutely superb and brilliantly executed.  The Orchestra’s performance was outstanding and beautifully played.  The pianist, Dr Jian Liu’s performance was faultless and extremely exciting.  Likely the best I have ever heard.  The singers, tenor Jiang Bo, and sopranos Christina Ellison and Joanna Foote were great singers with stunning voices controlled to perfection.  There were many times during this Concert that I had goosebumps all over, such was the excitement generated.

Also attending with me were our Branch Vice President, Kris Sproull and Evan Wu, Dorothy Waymouth, our Branch Treasurer and a relative of Rewi Alley, and Executive Members Galina May. We all had a tremendous time!

As well as enjoying an amazingly exciting exquisitely conducted and performed Concert, we meet with a number of Presidents and Executive Members of other NZ China Organisations, as well as Local Body and Parliament and aspiring politicians, as well as some folk who just came for the concert!  We also meet with number of Chinese Embassy staff, who were very helpful.

Subsequently, as a direct consequence of attending this Concert for 2 of the 3 following  organisations, we attended Mid-Autumn Celebrations hosted by the following societies:

  • The Canton Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand

A great get-together, connections made and WeChat codes scanned!  We also received interest from some of their Members in also belonging to our Society.

  • North Shore Chinese Association’s Mid-Autumn Festival Concert 2022 (pre-arranged)

A super fantastic show and lots of connections made and WeChat codes scanned!

  • The New Zealand Overseas Chinese Union

At this Concert on 11 September, my wife, and I were seated immediately behind the Ambassador Wang Xiao Long, whom we first meet ‘from our seats’, and with whom I further met on-stage, where we shook hands and I accepted his card, and had zillions of photos taken!

I was also Guest Speaker number 4 out of 10, some of the latter speakers being Government Ministers and Local Government Board Members. My speech was published in the Concert Program under the heading Goodwill Message (贺信), an honour afforded only to the China Consul General and our Society. I felt very honoured, however the honour was for the Society, not me personally.  To me, this was a demonstration of the respect and mana that exists, at all levels, for the New Zealand China Friendship Society.

All in all the EAST MEETS WEST Concert was, as well as being super enjoyable musically and visually, a spectacular event and a very productive one for us.  From it, sprang a number of other invitations and many introductions.  I saw a sea of support and respect for our Society as a whole.

Speech for the EAST MEETS WEST Concert

Dear CHINA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT GROUP and Sister Organisations

The New Zealand China Friendship Society is overjoyed at being invited to attend your “EAST MEETS WEST” Symphonic Celebration Concert in Auckland, and especially delighted to be giving the opportunity to meet so many sister organisations with similar values to us.

The CHINA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT GROUP’s Concert focus on East Meeting West.  This is in perfect harmony with our Society’s goals of fostering and enhancing Friendship and Cooperation between the peoples of New Zealand and China.

The New Zealand China Friendship Society was formed by Friends of China 70 years ago to celebrate and build on the work done by one of our favourite sons, Rewi Alley, who was a great friend of China.

Rewi Alley dedicated 60 years of his life to his adopted country, China, while remaining a New Zealander at heart. Rewi organised thousands of industrial co-operatives and also pioneered technical training schools, the most famous being at Shandan in the Gobi Desert. Gebi Mao Zhu Di I believe it’s referred to as!

Tonight we are looking forward to experiencing the beautiful music and performances by the musicians from China and by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

We wish the China Arts and Entertainment Group, its staff, supporters and musicians and all those attending these Celebration Concerts, a wonderful and exciting experience in the spirit of friendship and peace between peoples all over the world.

And, specifically in terms of our organisations, between the peoples of China and New Zealand!  From tomorrow I hope to be meeting more with your Leaders and to us all supporting each other.

I love the Maori expression – Kia Kaha – Be Strong!   Thank you very much!

MIKE DAWSON
PRESIDENT – AUCKLAND BRANCH  奥克兰分会