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Nelson Branch Newsletter – March, 2014

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Friendship Delegation to Huangshi

October, 2013

 

~ Next meeting: 14 March ~

 

The full pdf version of this newsletter is available at: NZCFSNelsonMarch2014.pdf

HuangshiDelegation

The visit to Huangshi in October last year by members of Nelson Branch was termed a ‘Friendship Delegation’ as it had been some time since a delegation had gone to Huangshi with its principal purpose being to strengthen and develop the relationship with our sister city. Christine, Kathy and Bruce had attended the 60th anniversary celebrations there in 2010 and since then there have been several delegations with the development of business links high on the agenda. This was a group of branch members visiting to reconfirm the strong friendship ties with Huangshi.

With our Sister City Liaison Officer, Barbara Markland, as leader, the delegation also included Roy Markland, June and Bryce Wild, Cathy Ewing (Principal of Nelson College for Girls), Ruth Copeland, and Lori Brudvik Lindner.

It is time for them to report back on their wonderful trip, and we are sure that you will be able to judge for yourselves whether their aim was achieved.

 

As usual, we will begin at 5.30 p.m. and then enjoy our buffet meal (cost $12), at 6 o’clock. Our speakers’ presentation will begin about 7 o’clock. Friends and visitors are most welcome but please notify Barbara when you contact her so that we have accurate numbers for the meal.

 

Friday 14 March .. Hearing House .. 5:30 pm

 

HorseLeftTo arrange catering, please ring:HorseRight

Barbara Markland ph. 544 4712 by Tuesday 11 March

text: 021 447 180 e-mail: [email protected]

 

SucySan CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUET: Our local tradition of including our Annual General Meeting with our celebration of the Chinese New Year continued on 9 February at Richmond’s Eastern Cuisine Restaurant, with 68 members and friends thoroughly enjoying the start of the Year of the Horse.

Some of our own decorations added to the occasion, and some of the Huangshi calligraphy was on the doorway for the first time. Pam Frahm added a nice touch with her own Year of the Horse design on bookmarks for everyone.

In her report, President Christine Ward commented on the continued growth in our membership to 85, including 3 Life Members, 5 schools, and 2 corporates with our newsletter going out to an even larger audience of interested people. She noted that attendances at meetings have been averaging over 40 and that we have been truly blessed with the quality and variety of our presenters, all of whom came from within the branch last year. Her full report is available at: https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/15664/nelson-branch-presidents-report-february-2014/

Other significant events during 2013 included: participation at Race Unity Day, selling tea and artefacts; the formation of the Nelson Chinese Society, a great step forward for local Chinese families; celebrating the Mid Autumn Festival with a range of Chinese teas and music in the Chinese Garden; welcoming the first Appo Hocton Scholars, in cooperation with NMIT; completing our financial commitment to the Chinese Garden with the Calligraphy above the moongate and on the rocks at the entrance; gaining a Deng Fund award to reprint the Appo Hocton Story, leading to sponsorship of our first Chinese Culture Children’s Holiday Camp; organising a highly successful friendship delegation to Huangshi; and hosting many Chinese visitors to Nelson, including representatives from the Confucius Institute, the Chinese Embassy in Wellington and the Chinese Consulate in Christchurch, including Consul General Madam Tan.

LifeMembersIt was a particularly special evening as Life Membership was awarded to Immediate Past President, June Clark, with her citation (see below) read by Treasurer, Royden Smith. National Past President Eric Livingstone and his wife, Judy, were celebrating with us while on holiday in Nelson. Sucy Sun, one of our first Appo Hocton scholars from Huangshi, sang some Chinese songs, accompanied by her cellphone (to the wonderment of the older generation). The evening ended with Sucy singing ‘The Friendship Song’ in Chinese, with the rest of us joining in with the Scottish version – ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2014: The following were elected at the AGM:

President: Christine Ward                                   Vice President: Lori Brudvik Lindner

Secretary: Barbara Markland                              Treasurer: Royden Smith

Immediate Past President: June Clark

Committee: Kathy Beatson, Bruce Ward, Sally Warren, June Wild, Lillian Li, Bill Findlater and Jeanette Jones.

Ferry van Mansum and Aukje Both return to Nelson in the middle of the year and it was agreed that they could be co-opted on to the committee then.

 

2014 SUBSCRIPTIONS: It was confirmed at the AGM that our subscriptions should remain unchanged and these are now due. Payment can be made at our next meeting, by a cheque in the mail, or via internet banking. Details are on the subscription form (click here). Please make sure you let us know if any of your details have changed when you return the form so that we can keep our records up to date.

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

 

2014 BRANCH MEETINGS and EVENTS: If you haven’t already, please mark these dates on your calendar and keep them free for our Branch Meetings during 2014:

14 March          2 May          20 June          8 August          10 October          5 December (TBC)

23 – 25 May (National Conference)        28 September (Chinese Garden Spring Festival)

 

RaceUnityDayRACE UNITY DAY – Sunday 9 March, 11am – 4pm, Victory Square: Once again, Nelson Branch will be putting up a gazebo at Race Unity Day to provide some wonderful tea-tasting, in conjunction with Mr Tea, Mark Soper, and to sell some Chinese artefacts for our scholarship funds.

Some local Chinese families will be running a food stall nearby. The last two years have been dominated by heavy rain, but that can’t happen again! Watch out for the red balloons and Chinese lanterns at Victory Park on Sunday.

Members might like to contribute some Chinese mementos for sale or join the tea-pouring roster – any assistance is much appreciated. Please call Kathy Beatson (ph 547 9940) right away if you can help.

 

NZCFS WEBSITE: Among many other interesting things on our Society’s website, look out for some regular articles from Henry Acland, a business news editor in Beijing. A Kiwi who has lived in China since 2008, Henry has begun his correspondence by describing China’s weather and the equally cold subject of China’s current affairs. He says some parts of the economy are reeling from a drop in luxury goods and services sales and goes on to explain that this is because of a huge crackdown by the Government on corrupt officials spending their ‘easy-earned’ cash on luxuries:

https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/15631/snow-and-frugality-in-beijing-henry-aclands-1st-letter-from-beijing

 

NZ INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS – NELSON: The NZIIA bring interesting speakers to Nelson on a regular basis. The next two may well be of interest to members:

Thursday 13 March – Taiwan’s representative in Wellington, Ambassador Elliott Charng, will speak on Taiwan’s relations with mainland China and New Zealand.

Thursday 3 April – Professor Rosemary Foot of St Anthony’s College, Oxford, will be speaking on China.

Meetings are usually held at 5.30pm in the Media Centre, Nile Street, NMIT. Please contact Royden ([email protected]) or Christine ([email protected]) if you would like more information about the meeting or how to contact the NZIIA.

 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014: The 2014 National Conference and AGM will be hosted by Hawkes Bay Branch at the Havelock North Function Centre from 23 – 25 May. The theme of the Conference is “Voices for Youth”, and Hawkes Bay President, Sally Russell, and her dedicated team have been working hard preparing a very interesting and entertaining programme. For example, some young Hawkes Bay musicians will perform a number of special musical pieces.  Registration forms will be available soon – keep an eye on:

https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/14275/nzcfs-national-conference-2014

 

HUANGSHI: NELSON’S “SISTER CITY” IN CHINA: It came as a surprise to see the Nelson City Council reporting (Live Nelson, 8 February) that Nelson had a ‘Friendly City’ relationship with Huangshi. This appeared to question what we had always believed was a ‘Sister City’ relationship. It seems that the wording of the official documents could be a matter of translation. The English translation of the documents signed in 1994 (Huangshi) and 1995 (Nelson) have identical ‘Friendly City’ wording. Apparently this is the wording that is used in China in the same way that ‘Sister City’ is used in other countries.

It is clear that Huangshi and Nelson are regarded in both China and New Zealand as having ‘Sister City’ status. All previous NCC protocols and press releases have identified Huangshi as Nelson’s Sister City in China, alongside Miyazu (Japan) and Eureka (USA). Some further research is being done by NCC staff and our Sister Cities Coordinating Group to see if there is any need for further clarification.

 

MEMBER NEWS:

• We note, with considerable regret, that Sue Truman has moved to Hamilton to be nearer family. Sue has been a very generous host to many of the Chinese teachers visiting Nelson and been a great contributor to Nelson’s art and music scene. We wish her well for her new life in the Waikato.

 

LIFE MEMBERSHIP AWARD: A very special part of our recent AGM was the presentation of Life Membership of the Nelson Branch to Immediate Past President, June Clark. June’s citation clearly shows how much she has contributed to our Branch and how well-deserved this honour is:

JuneClark“The Nelson Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society has much pleasure in conferring Life Membership on June Clark, in recognition of her outstanding service over many years.

Following a long-time interest in the geography and history of China, June, and husband Arnold, travelled to China on a Society tour in 2000. Soon afterwards, June began her many years of invaluable service as a member of the Nelson Branch Executive Committee, becoming Vice President in 2003, and then President for six years from 2004 to 2009.

Throughout this time, June has been dedicated to the goals of the NZCFS and has done so much to deepen our friendships with people in China and to extend these connections locally. June has been pivotal in graciously hosting many Chinese guests and ably carried the flag for Nelson Branch at many national meetings and conferences.

As our Nelson nominee on the 2004 Prominent Persons and Leaders Delegation, June enjoyed being hosted by the President of China in the Great Hall of the People, followed by a sojourn to Tibet. Always a strong supporter of Nelson’s Sister-City relationship, June was leader of our Women’s Delegation to Huangshi in 2005. Friendly links with schools, hospitals and businesses were greatly strengthened and these links have continued to grow with subsequent exchanges and delegations. She has also been a driving force behind Nelson Branch’s annual commitment to fundraising for the He Ming Qing Scholarships, awarded to trainee nurses in rural China.

Two particular highlights of June’s presidency occurred in 2007. Through her practical approach, her personable, unassuming manner and her highly effective leadership, June was responsible for the organisation of a successful National Conference, highly rated by all who attended. Furthermore, June was always closely involved with the Huangshi Chinese Garden project and her considerable ability identifying possible trusts, and making thoughtful, detailed applications, ensured many successful grants totalling nearly $100,000. The official opening of the garden in November that year was a very special day for Nelson.

Always generous with her time and talents, June was instrumental in arranging many interesting and informative speakers for meetings and in assembling excellent nominees for the Prominent Persons and Leaders Delegations. She says she has always enjoyed calling strangers and asking, “How would you like to go to China?”

Today, June, in making you a Life Member, we acknowledge your wide-ranging commitment to the New Zealand China Friendship Society. We gratefully thank you for your wise and effective leadership and the invaluable contribution you have made to improving our understanding of China and its people, to strengthening our relationship with our Sister City, Huangshi, and to the growth and development of the Nelson Branch.”

 

NZCFS TOUR TO NORTH EAST CHINA 2014: With the Year of the Horse being “an excellent year for travel” at least 3 people from Nelson Branch have booked to join this amazing tour in late May.

VolcanoFollowing our recent pattern of offering new, more compact regions, this will be a fascinating NZCFS tour: exploring the historical influence of the Russians and Japanese in Manchuria, visiting amazing scenery such as the sacred mountain at Taishan, and the Changbaishan volcano, a 3,000 metre mountain and nature reserve on the North Korean border, as well as discovering regional cultures and cuisine as far north as Harbin.

https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/15126/explore-china-the-northeast-tour/

For more information, please contact Ann White:

email: [email protected] or phone: 03 614 8944.

 

EXPECTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS

– from Ferry van Mansum and Aukje Both

FlagpoleSpring Festival is over. Students have returned from their home towns, MarchingTeamalmost wishing to kiss the ground after excruciating long train rides of more than a day, trying to get comfortable on hard seats on overcrowded trains. Early Monday morning the Hexi drill team performed their first official flag raising ceremony of the new semester and classes are now back in full swing.

But something is missing.

When we arrived at Hexi University two years ago we were put in charge of a new project – teaching oral English to non-English major students. A first. Up till then foreign teachers had only been employed to teach the English major students. Now the non-English major students, who all have four hours a week of English in the first two years of their study, would get 50 minutes with us once a fortnight. Not much, but for most of them it was the first time they were face to face with an English speaker and there was an actual need to communicate in English.

AukjeTeachingA challenge. It’s not ideal teaching oral English to classes of up to 75 students. However, they were sharing a computer screen in pairs. That was good, so we could use visuals to make the lessons more interesting. We created PowerPoints around a theme and over the course of two years we could show the students how things work in the West and at the same time we learnt a lot about China and the Chinese way of thinking. So now we know, for example, why there is so much red underwear for sale in China, what it is like to be a guest at a wedding banquet and how to deal with taxi drivers who may want to overcharge.

HappyCouple

Chinese students are shy, that is what they all agree to when you ask, but we found that many will try very hard to improve themselves and it has been great to see students who were too embarrassed to even say their name in English, volunteer to answer a question in class.

During our time in China we taught about 5,000 students between us, more than a third of the campus population. Too many to remember them all, or to know all of them well, but the ones that stay with us, are those who were regular visitors to the English library, where we had more time to talk to individuals. We will keep in touch. We are getting regular emails already and who knows some might fulfil their dream to visit New Zealand one day.

FerryStudentSo what is missing? From our co-teacher, we heard that we have not been replaced. I am sure it is not because we are irreplaceable, but there are not enough foreign teachers on campus this semester to fill all the teaching slots. And since the English major students get priority, the non-English majors will miss out. Such a pity.

When we arrived in China two years ago we were not quite sure what to expect, except that it was going to be an adventure. We never thought our classes would be that large, but they were, and it did not matter. Staying in a hotel room in Lanzhou, our last stop before Zhangye, we wondered if our apartment would look just as dilapidated, but it didn’t. It was great. We had learnt that winters in Zhangye would be terribly cold, often well below -20C. And they were, but with a very warm apartment and the dry atmosphere it did not feel that cold at all.

WithStudentsWe knew about the bad air quality in China, but that is mainly in the East, and we were under the blue skies in the West. People had told us that toilets in China could be very dirty, and yes, some were beyond what you think would be usable, but not everywhere. We were looking forward to eating delicious Chinese food, and we sure did and, especially in Zhangye, it was so cheap! We could have dinner for two with a beer – cold between May and September – for less than $NZ6.

ChinaMapWe hoped we would have the opportunity to travel and boy, we did. With a teaching schedule that was full on one week and often no classes the next, we were able to visit almost every province in China, from Tibet in the west to Shanghai in the east, from Heilongjiang in the north to Hainan in the south and just about everything in between. We clocked up countless days and nights on trains and towards the end, when we had had our fill of train travel, we flew to some of the places a bit further from our base in Zhangye in Gansu Province.

We saw many facets of China, the fast developing East, and the West that is trying to catch up. We met people who work for only a few dollars a day and saw others driving cars the price of a good-sized house. China is changing rapidly and we were glad to be able to see the diversity that is part of this enormous country.

An adventure indeed and a very worthwhile, memorable experience. One we can recommend.