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NZCFS 1952 – 2012 Celebrates Sixty Years


First Society Meeting:

The original handwritten minute book of the Society records:  

Wednesday 27 February 1952 at 8pm saw a group of 4 women and 13 men meeting in room 13, Tabernacle Buildings, Karangahape Road, Auckland, “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.



Wellington Banquet

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 Bernie Richmond,  [email protected]  President of the Wellington Branch, to book your seat.


Annual Conference

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.

The Opening of the Conference

The Opening, on Friday evening, will be at the Samoan Fale, the second largest fale (traditionally-styled Pacific meeting house) in the Southern Hemisphere, on Symonds Street.

After a powhiri [the traditional Maori ceremonial welcome from Ngati Whatua), the event will be officially opened by Mayor Len Brown.   Our theme: “By honouring our past we find our future”.

The evening will conclude with a screening of the 1957 documentary ‘Inside China‘ by Rudall Hayward featuring the gift by his wife Ramai of the feather cloak worn by the Maori King Tawhiao, to Chairman Mao.

We will also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between NZ and China, which was one of the main objectives of those far-seeing Auckland pioneers who founded the Society.  

The Saturday Session

The main venue for the Saturday and Sunday conference will be the Owen G Glenn Building, off Symonds Street (not far from the Samoan Fale), at Auckland University.

Alistair Shaw will open the session with a discussion of the first 15 years of the Society.  The meeting will be attended by several original members of the Society.

Mme Li Xiaolin will head a high-powered delegation from Youxie (CPAFFC – Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries), and we are also inviting three of our honorary members from China including Mabao Ru [of Baoding, the closest city, Municipal Foreign Affairs office and fount of knowledge on Kathleen Hall], and also Rewi Alley’s translator, Lu Wanru.

Mme Li will give a keynote address as will the Trade Minister Tim Groser, who first visited China as a student in 1971.

Also included in the proceedings will be the premiere of a DVD produced for the Society on our activities in China, shot on last year’s Projects’ Tour.  More details later.

The Saturday night banquet will be in the Samoan Fale.

The Sunday Session

The formal AGM, will be in the Owen G Glenn building, Symonds Street.


Birthday Tour in China

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.