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National Notebook February 2012


NZCFS 1952 – 2012 Sixty Years

The original hand written minute book records:  

Wednesday 27 February 1952 at 8pm saw a group of 4 women and 13 men meet in room 13, Tabernacle Buildings, Karangahape Road, Auckland in February “for the purpose of forming an organization of friendship and understanding of China and the Chinese People”.

Mr B Read took the chair and after discussion it was agreed the name be “ The China Friendship Association” with a subscription of two shillings and six pence per year and it was agreed that the funds be spent to further publicize the Association. It was agreed that membership be open to all people who desired friendship with China.

Temporary officers elected were Chairman A. O’Hallaran, Secretary Treasurer Mr Ching Lee, Assistant Secretary J. Callan, Working Committee Mrs Hawthorne, M. Lee, L. Sim, J. Callan, and A O’Hallaran.  At the second meeting of the Association on 2 April 1952 with 14 people present, it was agreed that the aims and objects of the Association would be:

* For the promotion of peace and friendship with the people of China

* The development of cultural relations between the people of New Zealand and the people of China

* The recognition by the New Zealand Government of the China Peoples’ Government as has already been done by the British Government

* The development of trade between New Zealand & China for mutual benefit

* The China Friendship Association is non-party and open to all who subscribe to the above aims.



Our special events for this year include a banquet in Wellington on Friday 24 February, the night before the February National Executive meeting and we hope all who can get there will participate. It will be held at the Grand Century Chinese Restaurant, Tory Street Wellington at a cost of $30, and is BYO. Please contact Wellington Branch to book your seat.

Our Conference this year will be held in our founding city, Auckland from 18 to 20 May and the Auckland Branch is arranging a special programme to highlight our sixty-year celebrations.  Included will be a premiere of a DVD on our activities in China shot on last year’s Projects’ Tour.  More details later.

2012  will also see our Birthday Tour visiting parts of China important to our Society’s history from 29 August to 24 September.  Highlights include combining with the Shandan Bailie School in Gansu Province on the Silk Road for their 70th anniversary celebrations, and visiting heritage sights associated with Rewi Alley and meeting Kathleen Hall scholars. 

Recent News


 We are very fortunate to have the new President of Youxie, Madame Li Xiaolin, advising that she will lead a delegation to visit us for our 60th Anniversary Conference in Auckland.  After many years as Vice President of the Chinese Peoples’ Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Madame Li has been promoted to the most senior position as President, a most important post in Chinese foreign relationships, responsible for all Sister-City and Friendship Societies like ours.


On Wednesday 1st February some 80 people gathered at a Chinese restaurant in Christchurch to celebrate both the Chinese New Year and also the 80th birthday of Life Member and Past President, Professor Bill Willmott.

Prof. Bill Willmott and his wife Di Madgin

What a great evening and celebration by many Branch members and friends. Included in the guests were many of Bill and Di’s family and also the Deputy Mayor of Christchurch, Ngaire Button, and Mr Hu Aimin who represented the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch. Immediate Past President of the Christchurch Branch, Judy Livingstone, was the host in the absence of Branch President Dave Adamson, who was in Invercargill visiting his ill 101 year-old mother.  National President Eric Livingstone then spoke on Bill’s long involvement in our Society and his achievements on our behalf.


A visit to Nelson by President Eric and Judy, after a trip up through Molesworth Station, was well timed to enable them to be present at the very enjoyable Nelson Branch Chinese New Year banquet.  Branch President Christine Ward hosted Eric & Judy in her and Bruce’s home and provided time to visit the Chinese Garden and join a family in welcoming in the Chinese Year of the Dragon. Walking in the park beside Christine & Bruce’s home, Eric & Judy were delighted to find a Christchurch Branch member and earthquake refugee, Daphne Crampton, enjoying the surroundings.

On Saturday 11 February, Eric, Judy, Bill and Diana were guests of the Asia New Zealand Foundation at the Christchurch Lantern Festival, which was an outstanding occasion after the cancellation of the 2011 event because of the disastrous earthquake. Reports are that some 40 to 50 thousand people visited the Festival, which really does show the friendship most Kiwis feel for the Chinese culture and our Chinese friends, quite the opposite to the recent media hype over farm sales to Chinese firms.

President Eric along with Judy will visit three North Island branches during March – Rotorua, Hamilton and Tauranga, speaking on the geography, history and peoples of Tibet. They look forward to re-connecting with Society friends in each centre and are very grateful to be hosted by each Branch.


Some of you will be aware that our dear friend, Wang Lidan (Linda) was married a few weeks ago in Beijing and she has asked us to spread the word to all her many New Zealand friends. Her husband’s name is Haiyan and he comes from Inner Mongolia. They met a couple of months after she returned to China last year.  Linda has worked for The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Youxie) for several years, and has been here many times.  She started studies at the University of Canterbury on the day of the February earthquake – something I suspect she will never forget!

We all wish Linda and Haiyan all the very best for a long married life together, and we look forward to seeing them both in New Zealand in the future.

Chinese New Year Food

Nian Gao (Glutinous Rice Cake): In Chinese, Nian Gao sounds like “getting higher year by year”. In Chinese  people’s mind, the higher you are, the more prosperous your business is.

Chinese Dumplings
look like silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during New Year celebrations, the more money you make in the New Year.

In Chinese, Fish sounds like “save more”. Chinese People always like to save money at the end of year because they think if they save more, they can make more money in the next year.

Spring Roll:  Spring Rolls are eaten in Spring Festival. We can make different flavors, like sweet, salty etc.

Thanks to Dan Zhu, EIT International Students Department, Napier for this article.

40 Years of Diplomatic Ties Between New Zealand and China

NZCFS in 1952 had an aim:  ‘The recognition by the New Zealand Government of the China Peoples Government as has already been done by the British Government’. 

New Zealand formally recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Below are excerpts from a speech by the then New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, at a reception marking the 30th Anniversary of China-New Zealand diplomatic ties:

Thirty years ago the Third Labour Government led by Rt Hon Norman Kirk established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. Norman Kirk had the vision to see that New Zealand’s economic and political future would be affected by the way in which our country interacted with Asia, and, in particular, by our relations with the world’s most populous state. He took the step necessary to put New Zealand and China on a path that has brought benefit to us both. Today, when that relationship with Beijing holds such importance to New Zealand, it is difficult to comprehend why the normalization took so long to happen.

We celebrate this evening, thirty years of co-operation in diplomatic, governmental, economic, cultural, scientific, and sporting areas.

On this anniversary, we acknowledge all those who laid the foundations of this relationship. First, I acknowledge the contribution of John Scott, who is here this evening. As New Zealand’s Ambassador in New York in December 1972, he negotiated and signed the communiqué that established our diplomatic relations. Then there was the late Joe Walding, who was the first New Zealand minister to make an official visit to the People’s Republic. He was accompanied on that mission in early 1973 by Bryce Harland, who became our first Ambassador to China; by Terence O’Brien; and by Derek Round, whose reports of that visit gave New Zealanders new insights into China.

I also want to extend a special welcome to the many members of New Zealand’s Chinese community for whom this anniversary has a special importance. For them, Norman Kirk’s diplomatic moves in December 1972 freed up contact with the land of their ancestors.

Few people in 1972 could have imagined the breadth, the pace, and the diversity with which New Zealand’s relationship with China would develop. It would be a brave person who predicted how the relationship will look in another thirty years, but we can be certain that the importance of China to New Zealand will not diminish in that time.

The recent 16th Party Congress in Beijing set for China a goal that is astounding in its ambition.
The next decades in China will be exciting to watch, and will be of the greatest importance to New Zealand. New Zealand’s future prosperity and the world’s prosperity is linked to China’s growth and development.       

These thirty years have taught us much, here in Wellington, in Beijing, and in the organizations which make up the fabric of multi-lateral diplomacy. We know that the governments and the people of China and New Zealand are able to work together as friends, with our areas of common interest and ambition hugely outweighing those areas on which we disagree.

Your Excellency, we look forward to continuing to develop strong relations with your country in the year ahead.