Hamilton Welcoming Community Event
On Saturday, 5th August 2023, the Hamilton Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society organised a “Welcoming Community Event” to welcome new arrivals – comprising new international students, visiting scholars, new immigrants, and also visitors here for a short period – from China to Hamilton. The objective of the event was to introduce the key service information new arrivals would find most important.
With funding received from the Hamilton City Council Welcoming Communities Funds, the branch committee prepared a lively program, which included presentations on key services and performances from local performing arts groups. The event was held at the Gallagher Performing Arts Centre, University of Waikato.
Whetū Taukamo, Waikato University Pou Tūhono Manager, delivered the mihi whakatau and welcomed all people attending the event.
Emma McGuirk, a branch committee member and MC for the event, invited Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate to address the audience. The mayor welcomed all the new arrivals to Hamilton, followed by Councilor Anna Casey-Cox, who gave a talk about the Welcoming Communities concept.
Hamilton Branch President Miao Fan gave a detailed introduction about the New Zealand-China Friendship Society – its history, the icons of the Society – Rewi Alley and Kathleen Hall, the roles the Society plays in New Zealand–China relations, and its aims and constitution.
Jovi Abellanosa, Welcoming Communities Coordinator & Ethnic Development Advisor at Hamilton City Council, and Jenny Nand, Community Advisor for the Department of Internal Affairs talked about working together and sharing the different cultures in Hamilton.
For the Chinese people, the Justice of the Peace role is definitely a new concept. Justice of the Peace Andrea Haines and Miao Fan introduced their services to the crowd and showed people how to find a Justice of the Peace in their region and the service desks offered across the city.
Wendy Zhai from Asian Network gave a presentation on healthcare and wellbeing. Vivian Zhang, licensed INZ advisor from Into NZ, talked about the recent INZ updates.
The event was also sponsored by Intop Homes Ltd, and Abbots Hotel Hamilton. Local chef James Ding made 120 packs of tasty lunches for this four-hour event.
Between speeches and presentations, local performing arts groups presented wonderful performances. The choir group sang the NZ National Anthem and Pokarekare Ana. Other groups performed some cultural dances. The final singing of Auld Lang Syne brought performers and the audience together in a final community action.
A survey at the end of the event showed a very high level of appreciation while responses to the open-ended questions asked for more such events. The attendees clearly enjoyed both the performances and the information sessions. Hamilton Branch looks forward to holding similar events in the future.