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Nelson Branch Newsletter No.7 – August 2017


The full pdf version of this newsletter is at Nelson Branch Newsletter August 2017.

August Meeting

Show and Tell

Friday, August 25, 5:30 p.m.

At this meeting we would like to see some of the interesting items that members have and hear the stories that make them personally valuable. Stories could be cautionary tales, strange or interesting situations, or just memories of a particular place and time.

If you have a Chinese treasure to show and are willing to tell the story of why it is a treasure to you, we invite you to bring it along, share it with us, and hear the stories of other people’s treasures. Please inform Ferry (546 6574 ) if you wish to bring your treasure.

We will also get a fascinating look, from the past, at China before it was as open to tourists as now.

Our picture shows a personal Chinese treasure of Rewi Alley’s, with a back story. The hat is now in the Rewi Alley collection at the Canterbury Museum.

It will be interesting to find out about personal treasures of our members and the stories behind them.

On August 25th, we will begin with the usual business meeting before breaking for a meal which will be followed by the ‘Show and Tell’.

The meeting will be at Hearing House, 354 Trafalgar Square (next to Synagogue Lane). Visitors are welcome. Meals are $12, payable at the door or by direct credit, and must be booked with names with Barbara Markland.

From Nelson Executive, August

  • Yangjiang Friendly City: Bill Findlater is to be responsible for liaison. Delegations are to visit Huangshi and Yangjiang, probably in November 2017 and April 2018. It was decided that, if the opportunity arose for a branch representative, Royden should be that representative with the branch paying for flights. Further funding to allow branch contact with Yangjiang will be requested in 2018.
  • A message of congratulation was sent to Christchurch Branch on their 60th anniversary.
  • Royden advised the branch now has 72 official members. 37 have given approval for their email address to be given to National Executive.
  • $240 has been received from the sale of Appo Hocton books to the Auckland Memorial Museum. There is the possibility of further sales to other museums.
  • Ferry and Bill had attended a business meeting to discuss trade with China. Bill advised there is good interest shown by the Nelson business community. Workshops will be held during China Week.
  • Branch meetings:
    • Book Club September 23.
    • Branch meeting Focus on Youth September 29: Because of the unavailability of the Jaycee Room in October it was decided to invite students in September. NMIT students will be invited and the NCC Youth Councillors. There will be the usual meeting followed by a pot luck dinner and then activities such as Mahjong, Chinese board games, exchange of English/Chinese conversation.
    • October 29: Garden party in the Chinese Garden.
  • Chinese Language Week 16-22 October.
  • Nigel Hucklesby was formally co-opted on to the committee.
  • The International Film Festival includes a documentary on some Chinese wildlife.

Chinese wildlife film – ‘Born in China’ follows a panda family, a golden snub-nosed monkey family, and a snow leopard mother and cubs. It is in the International Film Festival and will be shown in Nelson on Sunday, August 20, at the Suter Cinema (11:15 a.m.).

Bookclub – Being Chinese by Helene Wong

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.

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?

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?

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.

Yangjiang (阳江, yáng jiāng)

In the near future we are going to hear more about Yangjiang, the second Chinese city with which Nelson has links. A ‘Friendly City Relationship’ was formalised 3 years ago, and there are increasing business and educational links developing. Bill Findlater is involved with this in his role with the Regional Development Agency.

Yangjiang is smaller than Huangshi but, with its population nearing 3 million, it is still considerably larger than Nelson. In many ways it is more like Nelson in that it is a coastal city with a thriving port and fishing industry, and is a popular holiday destination with beaches among the main attractions.

The ‘city’ has 4 administrative divisions, is situated about 250km south-west of Guangzhou and west of Macau, and covers about 7800 sq. km. Jiangcheng District, which includes tourist destination Hailing Island, is the most densely populated area. Yangjiang is important in China for production of knives and scissors and claims 60% of Chinese production of these.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food Colours – Perfect colour, flavour and texture are usually the highest compliments for a chef. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the colour of food also acts as a guide to the ways of health reinforcement.

Ancient Chinese divided all things on the Earth into the five elements – fire, wood, earth, metal and water – to describe their characteristics.

The fundamental TCM book “Huang Di Nei Jing,” or “The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor,” states five colours, five organs, five seasons, five moods and five flavours correspond with the five elements:

Five colours – green, red, yellow, white and black;

Five organs – liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys;

Five seasons – spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter;

Five moods – anger, happiness, thinking, sad and fear;

Five flavours – sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty.

“The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor” says that the corresponding relationship among all the “fives” provides us hints about maintaining health in different seasons. Black foods are the best for winter, green foods for spring, red foods for summer, yellow foods for late summer and white foods for autumn.

Black foods including sesame, champignon, black beans and longan, correspond with water, which is linked to winter (season), fear (mood), saltiness (flavor), kidneys (organ) and bladder.

Yellow foods including the potato, corn and soybeans, correspond with earth in the five elements. Earth is linked with late summer, thinking, sweetness, as well as the spleen and stomach. Thus, eating yellow foods is believed to be an effective way to help reinforce and protect the digestive system.

White foods including white fungus, turnip, lily root and pear, correspond with metal in the five elements. Metal is also connected with autumn, sadness, spiciness, as well as the lungs and large intestine.

Red foods including red beans, jujube, carrots, hawthorn and tomatoes, are connected with fire. Fire is also linked with summer, happiness, bitterness, the heart and small intestine.

Green foods including green vegetables and beans correspond with wood in the five elements. Wood is also linked with spring, anger, sourness, as well as the liver and gallbladder. Green foods are usually rich in fibre, vitamins and chlorophyll according to modern research, which are all helpful in dispelling toxins from the body.

(from http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/wine_msg.php?titleid=440)

Nanchang visit by Tauranga students – The NZCFS web-site has a report by one of the Tauranga students after visiting Nanchang as part of a graphic arts exchange partially funded by the NZCFS Simon Deng Li Fund. The heart-warming report is at https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/30493/.

The National President Visits Nelson

Dave Bromwich was the speaker the July meeting. He arrived on Thursday afternoon, met with our executive for a pot luck meal in the evening, had a tiki tour of the area on Friday and addressed the Branch in the evening.

Dave spoke on ‘Rewi Alley’s Continuing Legacy, NZCFS and NZ-China Relations Today’. Dave reminded us that Rewi Alley was a great example of the major Confucian concepts:

rén (仁) compassion for others
lǐ (礼) order, propriety
yì (义) moral sense, ability to do the right thing
xiào (孝) filial piety, reverence

Dave explained how he sees the Alley legacy living on through

  1. Bailie Education – at the Shandan Bailie School and in the Vocational Training Schools that now form a whole essential layer of the Chinese education system.
  2. Gung Ho Cooperatives – which remain a strong component of the rural Chinese economy and social structure.
  3. Internationalism – peaceful connections to the outside world were established by Rewi Alley throughout his time in China and could be considered as the forerunner of today’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.

NZCFS contributes to these three legacies by being involved in teaching and educational exchanges, supporting cooperatives in various ways, and contributing to world peace by enhancing mutual understanding. The Society also maintains the Rewi Alley spirit by arranging cultural exchanges with a focus on youth, development projects, and society tours.

Of special interest to Nelsonians in Dave’s slide show was this photo of the presentation of Philippa Reynolds’ book about her famous uncle. ‘Rewi Alley from Canterbury to China’ has been republished in both languages and some colour photos have been added by the Christchurch Sister Cities Committee. Philippa was a member of our branch when she lived at Ernest Rutherford on her return to NZ from UK.. The handsome book is available in the Nelson Library.

 Dave Bromwich brought to Nelson copies of the ‘Collected Papers on Rewi Alley’s Internationalist Spirit’. These papers, edited by Dave Bromwich, were specially invited to form part of the September 2016 Dunhuang forum to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Rewi Alley’s birth. Contributors from New Zealand include Dave Bromwich, Maurice Alley, Christine Ward, Miles Barker, Dorothy Alley, and Pauline Keating. A number of these books were given out at the branch meeting, and more will be arriving soon from Christchurch for further distribution to Society members. The published papers give interesting oversights of the many ways the inspiration of Rewi Alley lives on within China and also in ways that continue to forge links through China to the rest of the world.