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Nelson Branch Newsletter No. 6 – July 2017


The full pdf version of this newsletter is at Nelson branch Newsletter July 2017

July Meeting

NZCFS – Our Projects and Our Future

Friday, July 28, 5:30 p.m.

NZCFS National President, Dave Bromwich, will be here to inform us about the Chinese projects he works on and the current and future directions of our society.

Since 2002, his main work activity has been in rural poverty reduction development projects. This has been in a private capacity in Guangxi and Guizhou provinces, and extensively in representing NZCFS in its project work, especially in NW China. A programme of rural economic development focusing on establishing cooperatives has been operating there since 2006.

Many of us will have met Dave in his capacity as leader for many NZCFS tours to China. He has been very involved in organising NZCFS tours to China, particularly ‘projects’ tours, which have a focus on rural communities and NZCFS projects. They provide opportunity for tour members to learn about NZCFS project work, to meet project partners from provincial to village level, and to glimpse life in rural communities in general.

The meeting will be at the usual place, Hearing House, 354 Trafalgar Square (next to Synagogue Lane). Visitors are welcome.

Last meeting – Tours for Rewi

Our June Branch meeting was devoted to recent travellers who were in China to celebrate 120-90-30 year Rewi Alley anniversaries. He first arrived in China 90 years ago, in April 1927.

Nelson couple, Alison Horn and David Ayre joined the Alley Family Tour for their first trip to China. Alison has cousinly connections with Rewi, and was meeting many previously unknown relatives. Their two-week trip, under the guidance of National President, Dave Bromwich, took them to many of the famous sites connected with Rewi’s 60 years in China, including Shandan, Lanzhou, Fengxian, Beijing and Shanghai. They also visited some of the famous historical sites such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Xi’an. In several places they met people who have been to Nelson and who are known here. They were astounded by the warmth and sincerity of the local welcomes at the Rewi Alley memorial sites, and also the diplomatic attention afforded their delegation. Their excellent slide show brought back many memories for our members who had travelled those same routes on previous NZCFS tours. Our picture shows Alison and David with Michelle Elia, the present New Zealand teacher at Shandan Bailie school.

Richard Brudvik Lindner was Nelson’s representative on this year’s PP&L tour, along with National Executive members who were the official delegation for celebrations in Beijing. Although Richard has been to China several times, this was his first trip to Beijing. He was enormously impressed by the grandeur of the welcome to the NZCFS delegation, and the way in which the Chinese were celebrating the Rewi Alley anniversaries. One highlight was a huge event in the Great Hall of the People, led by China’s Vice President. Rewi Alley commemorations were widely reported in the Chinese media. Richard’s fascinating descriptions and reflections were presented under the heading below:


A rather different tour is currently being planned; a tour concentrating on handcrafts. It is intended to visit workshops in embroidery, weaving, clay figurines, farmers’ painting (folk art), cloisonné, tie-dying, Dongba characters (ancient ‘hieroglyphic’ writing), paper cutting, and straw pictures; with the opportunity to meet the workers. There will also be visits to the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Suzhou, and other tourist highlights. This will be led by Dave Adamson (South Island vice-president and is scheduled for April 2018.

The tour will travel to the south-west (Dali, Lijiang), north-west (Lanzhou, Shandan, Zhangye), and central (Xi’an) China, as well as visiting Beijing and Shanghai. The flyer is not yet readily visible on the NZCFS web-site but can be viewed here.

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in this, you can get updates by contacting [email protected].

Book Club ‘Being Chinese’

Our first branch bookclub meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2 p.m. at Volume Books. Volume Books is located at 15 Church Street, just down the street from Kush Coffee. The venue can comfortably accommodate 10-12 people. If you are planning on participating, or if you have any questions, please RSVP/call Lori at 021 027 93563.

Our bookclub time will focus on Helene Wong’s book, ‘Being Chinese’. For discussion purposes Helene has offered us three questions, in relation to her story. You may find these questions insightful and helpful as you read the book.

1. Before you read the book, how much did you know about the lives of the Chinese who first settled in New Zealand, and what did you learn that was new?

2. How much did you know about the official treatment and society’s attitudes toward the Chinese from the late 19th century through to the 1980s, and did the reaction to the ‘Asian Invasion’ in the 1990s take you by surprise?

3. What are the pros and cons of (1) a multicultural society; and (2) being a person with multiple cultural identities?

We hope you will join us for an intriguing Chinese/Kiwi conversation.

From Nelson Executive – July

  • October meeting: Focus on students. The suggestion was made that a larger venue be used, eg Jaycee Room, and a pot luck dinner held to connect with youth. NMIT staff and Chinese students to be invited and possibly secondary school students and Youth Council. Tables could be set up to allow board games, Mahjong, a Mandarin/English corner.
  • New MLAs arriving around July 20.
  • China Week: re the possibility of a Rewi Alley exhibition at the museum. The Museum has expressed a desire to connect with China Week, Appo Hocton information, and also with the local Chinese community.
    Art Exhibition: Ferry and Lori have met with NMIT and there is enthusiasm for the project. 20 students are likely to be involved. Venue still to be decided. Further suggestions: shops windows, empty shop space, Trafalgar Centre, Museum. NCC to be approached.
    Street Parade: May be able to combine Nelson’s Mask parade with China Week in the future. The Tai Chi group has a dragon that could be used.
    School visit: A group is coming to visit Nelson hosted by St Paul’s School. The group has offered to send a performance group for China Week.

Shandan Bailie School news

Michelle Elia, the current NZ teacher of English at Shandan Bailie School has enjoyed the experience so much that she has decided to extend her time there. She has been very popular at the school. In her latest report she says that she was co-host of the Shandan County Rewi Alley celebrations. Read her reports at https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/30506/.

Engineering Delegation

A recent tour to China of seven professional engineers, funded by the Rewi Alley Fund, is reported at https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/30593/. Of particular interest is the impression these engineers got of the world-class Chinese expertise and technology they saw and also the potential for Chinese firms to assist with the capacity issues apparent in New Zealand’s construction industry.

From other branches

Canterbury branch June newsletter has a full report of the NZCFS conference recently held there. Mention is made in the conference report of the new Life and Legacy of Rewi Alley web-site; more about this below.

The Canterbury newsletter also has updates on the Ross Chinese Gold Miners Memorial Gardens and the Kumara Chinese Miners Memorial Reserve projects. At this time the newsletter is not available on the NZCFS web-site, it will be an interesting read when it appears.

Wellington branch newsletter, https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/30604/, reports on a meeting addressed by the NZ Consul-General to West China, Alistair Crozier, entitled ‘Catching Up With Western China: New Zealand’s Newest Diplomatic Challenge’ in which the ‘Western China’ is Sichuan rather than the far west Xinjiang or Tibet.

There is also a report on their recent meeting on Chinese Acupuncture addressed by Heiko Lade and Helen Gao, both are registered acupuncturists.

Hamilton branch has a newsletter largely reporting on a number of events over the previous few months. It can be viewed or downloaded from https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/30655/

New Members

We welcome Clifton Terrace School which is now a School member of this branch. James Hebberd is a teacher at Clifton Terrace, and many will have met him at our meetings.

Rewi Alley Commemoration

Life and Legacy of Rewi Alley, the web-site mentioned above, is one of the projects of the ‘Rewi Alley 120th Anniversary Commemoration Committee Canterbury’. This is an organising body formed from representatives of twelve organisations to highlight the work and legacy of Rewi Alley and to hold commemorations during 2017 for the 120th anniversary of his birth on December 2, 1897.

The web-site, http://www.rewialley.kiwi.nz, is now ‘live’ and is well worth a look. As well as information about Rewi and his life history, there is a tentative programme of celebration events in Canterbury for the weekend of December 1 – 3 this year. The programme includes a Civic reception for visiting delegations, touring to Springfield and Amberley, visiting the Rewi Alley Chinese School, and, of course, a banquet for invited guests.