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Hawke’s Bay September 2013 Newsletter


China National Day Banquet

Cost $30 per head     Delicious food

Date:      Friday 4th October Kungfu Kitchen

Time:      6.30pm

Where:  Kung Fu Kitchen      64 Carlyle St, Napier

Book your place now.

Please email reply to: [email protected]


Please diary the following Branch monthly meetings

1 November: Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pikiao) is Curator, Māori, at Te Papa in Wellington. Awhina will talk about the Chairman Mao Māori feather cloak, its connection to the NZ China Friendship Society and its significance as a taonga and symbol of friendship between China and NZ today. She will also talk about Te Papa’s involvement with the National Museum of China and her experience there as part of a staff exchange. 


 Last Meeting:  China’s Outstanding Natural World Heritage

Dr Les Molloy introduced us to UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are classified as either cultural or natural.  Countries can nominate one of each category for consideration each year. Les has been involved in assessing natural sites on behalf of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNESCO.  Not only do sites have to show outstanding universal value but also demonstrate management plans for their conservation.  World heritage status often increases tourist numbers and this may conflict with conservation.

Supported by his excellent photos, Les told us of the unique characteristics of each of China’s magnificent natural sites.  He recommends that future sites should include the grassland plains of Central China.                             

The South China Karst  (limestone rock) area extends over half a million square kilometres mainly in Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.  This world heritage site consists of three locations with different landforms: Libo County, Guizhou; the stone forest of Yunnan; and Wulong District, Chongqing.

Les returned from China on 2nd September after assessing the South China Karst (Phase 2) sites at Mount Jinfo in Chongqing; Shibing in Guizhou; and Huanjiang and Guilin’s Li Jiang (river) in Guangxi. Thank you Les for a wonderful presentation and coming all the way from Wellington to talk to us.  Thanks also to Lou and Janice Klinkhamer for hosting him and Alison.

Sally Russell, Dr Les Molloy, Michelle Frey and Nick Stillwell
Sally Russell, Dr Les Molloy, Michelle Frey and Nick Stillwell

 International Advisory Group Update

Hastings Youth Councillor, Pippa Huddleston from Woodford House and Cheryl Paget from the Hastings District Council organized a very successful event for international students attending Hastings high schools.  Sixty-nine young people from Germany, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia and Brazil enjoyed meeting each other at Superstrike 10-pin bowling on Saturday, 14 September. There was lots of laughter and chatter in each of the teams as well as the competition of trying to knock down those pins.  It is planned to hold these gatherings once a term.  Thanks to Sally Russell, Lou Klinkhamer, Maurice Beeby and Mike Earle for helping out on the night.

International students Hastings

NZ Institute of International Affairs Meeting

Terence O’Brien, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), will speak on the subject:

“The Multilateral World and New Zealand”

Mr O’Brien is a former New Zealand diplomat, who was Ambassador at the United Nations in New York when New Zealand last was a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (1993-94). He also served in Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the Cook Islands, before serving as Ambassador in Geneva and then in Brussels.  After leaving the Foreign Ministry he has taught international relations at graduate level at VUW for 6 years.   He has had extensive non-government experience throughout the Asia Pacific region and now writes and lectures on New Zealand foreign policy and international politics.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013:  2pm at the Havelock North Club, 4 Campbell Street

                                             7pm at Lecture Theatre One, Block K1, at EIT, Taradale

 Guests are welcome and there will be a cover charge of $5-00.  

Sister City News

To promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.

Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy.  Eisenhower envisioned an organization that could be the hub of peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world.  By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conflicts.

You may be interested to read what other sister cities are doing. Go to  the latest Member Update from Sister Cities International.


China Book Review  by Matthew Griffiths

When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China will save the world– or destroy it

by Jonathan Watts (Faber and Faber 2010). When a Billion Chinese Jump

From South to North and East to West the author, a long-time China journalist, explores the environmental effects of economic development of the past 35 years, and also the period before that. He discusses China’s development and its relationship to western consumers, the migration of industry to China, and its many and varied impacts.

Watts catalogues the broad spectrum of problems and challenges facing China: the rampant consumerism of Shanghai; the legacy of Mao’s disastrous policy to increase the population; cancer villages in Henan, coal dust, smoke and carbon emissions in Shanxi and Shaanxi; water shortages in the north and west, expanding deserts, deforestation, salinisation and contamination of agricultural soils. The list is endless and most of the problems are still increasing as China continues its drive for high economic growth. Alternatives are getting a look in but pale in comparison to the problems. China became the world largest emitter of carbon into the atmosphere in 2007, dust blows over east Asia and across the pacific, and trees, fish and other resources are siphoned back to China from around the world. China’s problems are now the world’s problems.

The Chinese government has failed to protect its own people from the impacts of development. Local governments are primarily focussed on economic growth and environmental responsibilities find little support. People suffer while at the same time often accepting it as the price of growth. China has experienced 10% economic growth for three decades. As the environmental, social and financial effects become glaringly obvious, change must happen. Hopefully slower growth, redistribution of wealth and better environmental protection will produce a healthier and more sustainable China.

James McGregor, a China based economics writer recently suggested, in relation to Chinese reform in general, that the 10 year reign of recently retired leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao has resulted in two steps back and one step forward, and the best one can hope for from the new leadership is two steps forward and one step back. Watts’ view is similar. He calls for a change in values as the best hope for China and the planet, a return to Taoism perhaps, as some Chinese environmentalists advocate. What will cause this values change is not clear. Perhaps the events of early 2013 – Beijing’s extreme air pollution, pigs floating down the river to Shanghai, and a new bird flu, coinciding with the ascent of new leadership – will provide renewed motivation for effective action.

Ultimately China is a mirror of the whole planet and forces us all to address our own challenges.  Earth cannot afford a population of 9 billion consuming and polluting as we all do today. For the sake of the Chinese environment and the people who have to live in it, one hopes things improve quickly.  As a stark look at the scope, environmental consequences and challenges of China’s economic ‘miracle’, this book is a must read.

When A Billion Chinese Jump is available from the Hastings, Havelock North and Napier Public Libraries.

 [Matthew Griffiths is long time member of the NZ China Friendship Society. He loves Chinese food, has visited China many times, studied Mandarin, and attempted to learn Tai chi. He and his Chinese-born wife Deborah have two bilingual children. They lived in China from 2008 to 2010 and he reads lots of books about China on the bus to work.]