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Nelson Branch Newsletter – March 2011

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No. 2 – March 2011

Next meeting

Supporting Rural Communities in China

with Kathy Beatson and Sally Warren

Kathy Beatson is our Branch Projects Co-ordinator and will give us an overview of the latest projects undertaken by the Society and how the new funding arrangements introduced by the Government have affected our contributions. She will also highlight some projects supported by individual Branches and provide an updated Project Report.

Sally Warren participated in the Projects and Rural Communities Tour last October and visited various farming communities and some of the area devastated by the Sichuan earthquake. She was attracted to the trip because it meant visiting out of the way areas which are off the beaten track, and mixing with local people on their home ground. She was impressed to see how even a little help, such as a bag of seed, can make such a difference and thinks it is very important for our members to realise how vital and valuable our input is.

However she suggests it is not just a one-way thing – some of their ways may not necessarily appeal to us but at the same time there is a huge amount going on that we can only admire and learn from. China is a huge country with enormous problems, but to see a large proportion of houses with solar water heating, street lights running on small solar panels, and excellent buildings replacing those lost in their enormous earthquake provides a great lesson and encouragement for us, especially in the light of recent events in New Zealand, and now Japan.

As usual, Branch business will be dealt with prior to our Chinese meal costing $12. Our speakers will begin immediately after the meal. Friends and visitors are welcome but please notify Barbara when you ring so that we have accurate numbers for the meal.

Friday 25 March .. Hearing House .. 5:30 pm

To arrange catering please ring:

Barbara Markland Ph. 544 4712 by Tuesday 22 March.


Our heartfelt thoughts go out to all those in Christchurch, China and Japan who have suffered so horribly as a result of the recent spate of earthquakes – especially our fellow NZCFS members in Christchurch and all those Chinese families who have lost loved ones who were studying English in the CTV Building.

Sadly, but correctly, our Constitution doesn’t allow us to use any of our funds to support members of the Society but if you wish to practically, or materially, support those Christchurch members who have lost their homes (including our very good friends of Nelson Branch, Bill Willmott and Diana Madgin) then you are welcome to contact National President, Eric Livingstone, on     ph. 03-338-5081 or [email protected]

 

LAST MEETING ~ CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUET AND AGM: The Chinese New Year and the start of the Year of the Rabbit was celebrated on February 7 with the usual delicious banquet at the Eastern Cuisine Restaurant in Richmond. An excellent evening of friendship and fine food was enjoyed by over 50 members, friends and families.

COMMITTEE: At the AGM, the following officers were elected:

President: Christine Ward

Vice President: Kathy Beatson

Secretary: Barbara Markland Treasurer: Royden Smith

Immediate Past President: June Clark

Committee: Bruce Ward, Sally Warren and Kevin Symns.

A very appreciative welcome was given to new Committee member, Kevin Symns.

2011 SUBSCRIPTIONS: It was agreed at the AGM that our subscriptions should remain unchanged and these are now due – please make sure you let us know if any of your details have changed when you return the form attached.

Single $15 Couple $25 School $25 Corporate $30

LIFE MEMBERSHIP AWARD: A very special part of the AGM was the presentation of Life Membership of the Nelson Branch to Isabelle Jones. Her citation clearly shows the breadth and depth of her involvement in our Branch:

“The Nelson Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society has much pleasure in conferring Life Membership on Isabelle Jones in recognition of her outstanding service over almost twenty years.

Isabelle joined the Branch in its inaugural year, 1991. At the end of 1992 she became Secretary/Treasurer, a position she held for 4 years until becoming Vice President for the following 6 years, 1996-2001 inclusive. Isabelle became Branch President in 2002 and 2003. She was then Immediate Past President for 6 years until 2009. In 2010, Isabelle continued as a member of the Executive Committee.

Isabelle was one of the first advocates for the establishment of a sister city relationship; a process beginning in 1992, developing during 1993-1994 with discussions at a mayoral level, followed by membership of a Mayoral Delegation to Huangshi, and finally coming to fruition in 1995 with the signing of a Formal Agreement during a Huangshi Mayoral Delegation visit to Nelson. Isabelle has been closely involved with the organisation of all subsequent sister city exchanges between Nelson and Huangshi. She has visited our Sister City twice more, deepening and furthering the scope of the relationship each time.

The establishment of the Chinese Garden in Nelson has been another major project that Isabelle has been closely associated with since the inception of the idea in 2000. She has been a hard-working member of the sub-committee and it was while she was President in 2002, during a Mayoral Delegation visit, that the Mayors of Huangshi and Nelson unveiled the Significant Stone and planted a gingko tree. Construction began after the Resource Consent was approved in 2003, with its official opening in November, 2007. Isabelle has always keenly followed the progress of the Garden and will be looking forward to its completion this year with the addition of the bridge to the Queen’s Gardens.

As the Branch Newsletter Editor for 13 years, Isabelle widened the reach of the Branch for all members, and other interested people, by keeping them well informed of Branch and National matters. Written with considerable expertise on her trusty typewriter and with graphics pasted on for photocopying, the high quality of Isabelle’s many newsletters meant they were greatly appreciated by all who received them.

As well as holding Executive offices and being the Newsletter Editor, Isabelle has always done an enormous amount of unseen work behind the scenes. These are but some examples: she has helped with meal co-ordination, worked in the kitchen, phoned many people about all sorts of matters, talked to new members, arranged transport, collected the key for Hearing House and set up the room for meetings, and she was always available to discuss things and willingly provide sage advice.  Isabelle was always there!

Isabelle took a keen interest in NZCFS National affairs. She was selected for the 1994 Leaders’ Delegation to China. After this, and all her other China visits, Isabelle generously shared her experiences as a speaker at Branch meetings. She attended several National Conferences throughout New Zealand and in 2006 was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the Hastings Conference. Isabelle was on the organising committee which prepared for the 1997 Sister City convention and attended other similar Conventions.

Today, Isabelle, in making you a Life Member, we acknowledge your commitment, your dependability, your wisdom, and the invaluable contribution you have made to the growth and development of the Nelson Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.”

– June Clark, Immediate Past President

CORNWALL SCHOLAR: Many of you will have thoroughly enjoyed travelling on NZCFS trips in China with Wang Lidan (Linda). She has the honour of being the very first Cornwall Scholar and was in the middle of her very first lecture at Canterbury University when the Christchurch earthquake struck. Cleverly using her new bus route map, she managed to walk for two hours towards Eric and Judy Livingstone’s house in Hoon Hay, where she was staying, before they were able to make contact and pick her up.

As there was no water or sewage, Linda was evacuated to Nelson two days after the quake and, with special thanks to President Christine and Bruce Ward, was able to relax and enjoy 10 days of Nelson hospitality before taking up the opportunity to visit a couple of other branches while she waited for the University to begin lectures again on March 14.

While she was here she explored many parts of the Nelson region and enjoyed “Opera in the Park”, a walk in the Abel Tasman National Park (thanks to Nisa Rose and Kevin Symns), and spent lots of time in Nelson art galleries and shops. She tells us that clothes shopping is better in Nelson than Beijing!

The Margot Cornwall Scholarship has been very generously provided by Tauranga member, Peter Cornwall, in memory of his late wife. It enables a junior staff member from the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Youxie) to study at a New Zealand University for a semester. We wish her all the very best for the successful completion of her studies in Christchurch – may lectures in tents all just add to the experience.

GENEROUS EARTHQUAKE DONATION FROM YOUXIE: Our sister organisation in China, The Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC or Youxie) responded very promptly to Linda’s news about the earthquake in Christchurch and made an incredibly generous donation of Y100,000 (about $NZ20,000). This was presented to the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing the day after the quake.

NZCFS APRIL TOUR: Nelson Branch members Gwenda Parker and Philippa Reynolds, along with another Nelson resident, Mike Crampton, will be joining Tour Leader Royden Smith for what will be a fascinating NZCFS Discover China Tour from April 13 – 30. The great cities of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai are combined with some fascinating and less well-travelled historic areas in the ancient walled town of Pingyao, the impressive Longmen grottoes in Luoyang, the famous Shaolin Temple and martial arts performance, and the stunning sights from the top of Huashan (Flower Mountain) – a wonderful combination of sights. We look forward to hearing more on their return.

NZCFS PROJECTS AND TIBETAN COMMUNITIES TOUR: Dave Bromwich has been working hard on developing a very interesting new itinerary for the 2011 Projects Tour in October. The proposed dates are October 10 to 31, but these may vary by 1-2 days once international flights are finalised.

This tour will visit NZCFS projects in the Baoji district of Shaanxi province, travel through Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan Provinces with a focus on Tibetan communities, as well as spending seven days in Tibet. In Shaanxi, you will meet NZCFS project partners – the Shaanxi Women’s Federation, in Lanzhou you will dine with two NZCFS He Ming Qing scholars, and in Yunnan you will visit a New Zealand venture growing red pears.

The estimated price for 21 days in China is $7100 pp twin share, depending on the exchange rate and final air fares. This is an all up cost, and includes all travel from your New Zealand home town airport and return. The only extra costs should be the Chinese visa and travel insurance costs. A draft itinerary is included on our website: nzchinasociety.org.nz/2746/nzcfs-projects-and-rural-communities-tour/

For further information and expressions of interest, please contact Dave Bromwich: [email protected]

Even if you are unable to travel yourself, we are very dependent on our members spreading the good word about our NZCFS tours. Many of you will have been on these tours before and know what great value they are. So, it would be very much appreciated if you could advertise the tour to all your family, friends and colleagues – those Nelsonians who have been on previous Projects Tours will very happily endorse them.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2011: The 2011 National Conference and AGM will be hosted by the Wellington Branch from 27-29 May. The theme of the Conference is China & NZ: The Next Decade, indicating an emphasis on looking forward to the future of the friendship between our two countries. The programme is looking very exciting with several interesting speakers and it would be great to see a good contingent from Nelson there this year, especially when it is just a hop across the ditch. Perhaps combine it with a North Island holiday? More details and registration forms will be available soon: nzchinasociety.org.nz/4643/nzcfs-2011-national-conference-wellington-27-29-may/

HOPPY NIEUW JAAR from Ferry and Aukje in The Netherlands: “We wish everyone all the best for 2011 – we will really miss that tasty New Year celebration, so close to Rabbit Island… Last Friday we booked our return trip to New Zealand, with a stop, of course, in Osaka to have some time with Floris and Junko and our grandson, Johan. We will be back in Nelson by the beginning of October… We have been enquiring about working in China and have more or less been promised a job at Hexi University (Gansu Province) from February, 2012. It is something to look forward to – working and spending time in that part of China. We hope you all will have a wonderful evening…”

STUDYING IN BEIJING: Many of you at the New Year Banquet had the delightful opportunity to meet Ray Symns, son of Nisa and Kevin, who was leaving a few days later to study Mandarin in Beijing.

Ray writes: “I have arrived at the People’s University in Beijing and classes have now commenced. Slowly I am finding my way around and adjusting to my new life here. Things are a lot harder than in Nelson (especially my bed here!) but I have made a couple of friends and am enjoying getting to know people from all over the world. Two Mondays ago, 27,000 students turned up for classes here on our campus – that was a bit overwhelming to say the least. I am studying “hanyu” (Chinese) at an elementary level for reading and writing and at an intermediate level for listening and speaking. Last week I went to an evening arranged by the foreign student office and it was attended by many local students also. It was a great evening to practise Chinese and meet new friends. I want to say thank you to you all for you kind words of support before I left Nelson. Kind regards, Ray.”

We look forward to receiving regular updates from Ray during the year and wish him all the very best for his time in China.

2011 BRANCH MEETINGS: Please mark these dates on your calendar and keep them free for our Branch Meetings during 2011 – all Friday evenings as usual. Your Committee has a very interesting series of speakers and events planned:

13 May (2 weeks before National Conference)     1 July      19 August      30 September      18 November

LETTER FROM HE MING QING SCHOLAR: Included in Di Madgin’s report on the He Ming Qing Scholarships to the last National Executive meeting was this heart-warming letter from the newest scholar, Wang Shuizhen, regarding both her scholarship and the inspiration she got from reading Lu Wanru’s Chinese translation of Tom Newnham’s biography of Kathleen Hall (He Ming Qing). Each scholar receives a copy of this manuscript.

“I  am  Wang  Shuizhen. First, I  am  very  sorry  that  I  do  not  write  to  you for  a  long  time. I  have  been meaning  to  write  to  you  but  something  or other  comes  up  and  I  just  do  not  seem  to  find  the  time. Now  I  have finished  the  text  at  the  end  of  this  term.

I  represent  my  parents  to  thank  you  very  much  for  your  help.  Without  your  help  it  would  be  very  difficult  for  my  parents  to  send  me  to College. I  feel  I  was  very  lucky  to  get  the  He  Mingqing  Scholarship.

I  have  read  the  story  about  He  Mingqing.  She  was  very  kind, brave  and  great.  She  chose  to  work  in  a  very  poor  area  because  she was a Christian  woman  who  believed  that  it  was  important  to  care  for  the  poor  and  the  sick.  I  was  greatly  inspired.  She  is  my  idol.

Best  wishes  for  you  and  your  family.

Yours,

Wang  Shuizhen”

RECOMMENDED BOOK READ RECENTLY:

“When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind – or Destroy It” by Jonathan Watts, 2010.

‘If their most ambitious plans are realised, Gansu’s deserts will one day be filled with solar panels, the Silk Road will be lined wind farms, cities will throng with electric-powered public transport and bodies of water throughout the country will be divided up into fields of harvestable algae. It is impressive, inspiring stuff. Not for the first time, the country is stirring up extremes of hope and despair… Red China, we are told, is not going to destroy us after all; Green China is going to save us. The true story is more complicated…’

 

The full newsletter is available at: NZCFSNelsonMarch2011.pdf