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Manawatu Branch Newsletter May 2014

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Next Meeting June 6th

At 5.30pm in the “Sound and Vision” room at the Palmerton North City Library,  Palmerston North

Books for Bazhong

Speaker:-

Rosy Look

Palmerston North English Teacher and Bazhong project manager

Rosy Look in Bazhong.

Not many Chinese people have heard of Bazhong city in Sichuan Province of China, but one Kiwi lady in Palmerston North knows this place better than most Chinese.

Before her retirement, Rosy Look was the Head of ESOL Department of Queen Elizabeth College.  For 3 years in a row, Rosy has been running a project in Bazhong, training primary English teachers and boosting English literacy for primary children.  Recently Rosy and her friend, Jan McLeod, have successfully obtained a grant from the New Zealand China Society (NZCFS) Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange (RAFE) Fund, to set up a children’s library in Bazhong.

Rosy has just returned from Bazhong.  She will speak about this unusual NZCFS project and show us a less-travelled part of China. Her talk may also shed some light on the education system, the people, the culture and the beauty of this place.

 

At Our Last Meeting

Mr Zheng Yuanheng  from the Department of Development Studies, Massey University gave a fascinating and informative account of a Chinese minority group;  the Miao people of Guizhou.  He began by outlining some of the history and cultural features of these aboriginal people and finished by discussing their status in a rapidly developing Chinese economy and the efforts they have made to maintain their identity.

About four million Miao people live in Guizhou Province mainly in the more remote and hilly regions. In these areas there are good agricultural and mineral resources and the people have strong cultural traditions which produce delightful handicrafts  including embroidery, weaving, batiks and silver-based ornamental head dresses and jewellery

Traditional Miao costumes are often decorated with ornate and intricate jewellery based on silver alloys
Traditional Miao costumes are often decorated with ornate and intricate jewellery based on silver alloys
Our speaker Mr Zheng Yuanheng above with a group of Miao children in traditional dress
Our speaker Mr Zheng Yuanheng above with a group of Miao children in traditional dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Miao people have conservative tribal and family traditions that are currently under threat as more young people move to the large cities in search of better jobs leaving the old people behind in relatively poor rural environments

Miao mother and baby in an embroidered back pack
Miao mother and baby in an embroidered back pack
Miao child posing with a photo of a traditional Miao costume
Miao child posing with a photo of a traditional Miao costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights from the National Conference

The ideas workshop on Friday provided a great opportunity to strengthen the Society by formulating new goals and directions. Participants agreed that we need to improve the quality of information available to the media, connect better with other organisations and focus on increasing the involvement of youth in the Society’s activities.

On Saturday morning the National President, together with the Chinese ambassador and Raymond Hou MP announced the establishment of Chinese Language Week which will be held each year in September. In the afternoon the Hawkes Bay Youth Orchestra provided a fantastic concert which finished with performances by Xi Yaochen playing the Gu Zheng. It included traditional folksongs as well as the premier performance of a new composition by Xi Yaochen for the Gu Zheng and orchestra.  Five of our  Manawatu branch members attended the meeting.

Maurice Alley 29th May