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NZCFS Wellington Branch June 2013 Newsletter

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Dave BromwichNEXT BRANCH MEETING

Sunday, 23 June 2013, at 2:30 pm

Dave Bromwich, NZCFS National President

Dynamic NZCFS

In our second 60 years, where does NZCFS fit today in the NZ-China relationship?  With the breadth of contact that exists between NZ and China, can NZCFS continue to play a significant role?  Dave would like to consider whether we need to regenerate, what direction might this take, and what changes we may need to make.

Dave Bromwich was elected as NZCFS President in May 2013, having served on National Exec since 2000, including 7 years as North Island Vice-President.

Dave has had active involvement in China since 1990, with over four years total spent in China through 25 visits.  Since 2002, his main 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.

Beginning 2008, he has played a major role in organising NZCFS educational tours to China, including five ‘projects’ tours which he led.  These 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.  In 2009, he was leader of the Prominent Persons and NZCFS Leaders Delegation.  Dave has been the main contact person for Shandan Bailie School, where he has facilitated placement of New Zealanders as English teachers since 2002.  He has been an executive member of ICCIC (Gungho) since 2006, and was elected as International Vice-Chair in 2010.  He has also served on Hastings – Guilin Sister City Board since its inception in 1997.  In 2012, he was appointed to the NZ China Council Advisory Board as NZCFS representative.

Dave has a Graduate Diploma in Chinese language and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Development Studies.  He has received Foreign Expert Awards from Guangxi and Gansu provinces.

Connolly Hall

Guildford Terrace, off Hill Street, Thorndon, Wellington (see map)

 (Car park up Guildford Tce beside Hall)

Followed by Afternoon Tea, gold coin donation appreciated

ALSO COMING UP THIS MONTH (see below for details)

8, 15, 22 June                Mandarin Corner, 20 Kelburn Parade

27 June, 7:15pm            Chinese Film, 101 Wakefield St

29 June                         Mandarin Corner, 20 Kelburn Parade

IDIOM OF THE MONTH (from Ellen Yang)

己所不欲,勿施于人  jǐ suǒ bù yù ,wù shī yú rén

What one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else

REPORT ON LAST MEETING (by Christine Strickland)Awhina Tamarapa

“Chairman Mao Maori Feather Cloak, Kahu Huruhuru”

A good attendance welcomed Awhina Tamarapa,  Curator Maori at Te Papa, who firstly expressed her appreciation of NZCFS’s sponsorship of her trip to the National Museum of China (NMC), and the Society’s partnership with Te Papa in their cooperation with the NMC to loan the historic Chairman Mao cloak for research and display in Te Papa (13 June-20 October 2013.)

The cloak was a gift to Chairman Mao by King Koroki, the 5th Maori King.  Gifting significant taonga such as cloaks was a custom that marked alliances, honoured relationships and celebrated achievements.

The involvement of NZCFS in the cloak’s story was pivotal, Awhina said.  In 1957 five NZCFS members were invited by the Chinese Peoples’ Association for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries to visit China.  These included Rudall and Ramai Hayward, film-makers.  The cloak was presented to Chairman Mao by Ramai on behalf of King Koroki, on the top of Tiananmen building on China National Day.  This tour was ground breaking because it was the first time that an English speaking film crew had been invited to post-Communist China since 1949.

The cloak became a state gift and transferred to the NMC collection.  Present at the branch meeting, John McKinnon spoke of how in 2004, when he was NZ Ambassador to China, he and the Embassy staff, after a year-long search, finally found the cloak categorized under Ceylon.  The similarity in the Chinese names of Ceylon and NZ led to the confusion.

Awhina’s own background features significant links with tribes throughout Aotearoa, her parents being both from different Maori tribes, and she thus has a significant background in traditional arts, particularly weaving.  She did a B.A. majoring in Maori and anthropology, and later a training course at the National Museum in Wellington.  Awhina has now worked in museums for more than 20 years, and it was enormously interesting to share her plans and ambitions with her.

In her very informative address, Awhina also talked about her experience in Beijing and at the NMC, the largest national museum in the world.  She attended the cloak loan and handover ceremony where Prime Minister John Key was present.  Awhina, Mr Chen and Mr Tan from the NMC accompanied the cloak back to NZ on 21 April.   A powhiri for the cloak was held at Te Papa two days later.

Awhina said the personal outcome of this project had been “life changing”.  She had learnt a lot about Chinese culture and history, experienced with her own eyes, and is now a member of the NZCFS.

Future opportunities include closer relations between Te Papa and NZCFS – the partnership continues in March 2014 with two exhibitions from the NMC; and the potential for young New Zealanders, particularly Maori youth, to be shown the benefits of cross cultural understanding, and to be encouraged to explore exciting career pathways that they might never have had an opportunity to develop.  Awhina grasped the significance of the potential for Maori youth in China because she took her 16 year old son Eruera with her on the trip.

NEW MEMBERS – A warm welcome to Philip & Eugenie McCabe.

MEMBERS’ DISCOUNT AVAILABLE FOR CHRIS ELDER’S BOOK

To qualify for the 20% discount for New Zealand’s China Experience as a member of NZCFS, please go to the Victoria University Press website vup.victoria.ac.nz/recent-books/, add the book to your cart and enter the coupon code “NZChina” (case sensitive).  Postage is normally additional, but free within New Zealand

CHINESE FILM 中国电影
Date: Thursday 27 June Time: 7.15pm
Venue: Committee Room One, Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. Gold coin donation.
7.15pm: Lost on Journey, 人在囧途 [2010] 95 minutes
Director: 叶伟民Wan Man Yip    Starring: 徐峥Xu Zheng, 王宝强Wang Baoqiang, 李小璐Li Xiaolu

With a small budget, this movie made a surprise hit at China’s box office. Good chemistry between the two leads makes for an enjoyable, odd-couple road movie.  A boss of a toy corporation, Chenggong Li, tries to head back to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his family.  However, plans don’t go as smoothly after he crosses paths with a stranger, Geng Niu.

Note: This is the same film as was due to be shown last month, but suffered technical difficulties.

Film sponsored by Cultural Section, Chinese Embassy in NZ 感谢中国驻新西兰使馆文化处提供影片

MANDARIN CORNER 汉语角 3.15pm – 4.30pm Saturdays during school terms

Seminar Room, 20 Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington. 

Open to all ages, all levels.  One to one, or small groups.

Gold coin donation. 4 sessions in June 2013:

8 June – Friendship (learn new words and make new friends 学新词,交新朋友

15 June – My Favourite Chinese Film 我最喜欢的中国电影

22 June – Learn A Classic Song – EDELWEISS 学唱经典歌曲《雪绒花》

29 June – Places In China I Want To Visit Most  我最想去中国参观的地方

Contact: Ellen Yang (04) 473-7558, [email protected]

REPORT ON 2013 NATIONAL CONFERENCE (by Ray Brownrigg)

The 2013 National Conference, held in Christchurch at Canterbury University 24-26 May, was attended by about 75 delegates, approximately half of whom were from Christchurch, and the rest from around the country.  In addition there were a few special guests from China.  The conference was preceded on Friday lunchtime by an address by Peter Chin, a former mayor of Dunedin on “The Importance of Sister Cities in China for New Zealand: Dunedin-Shanghai Sister – Cityhood as an Example”.  The important message to take on board is that the benefits to the city, and indeed to the country, arising from Dunedin’s relationship with Shanghai are very much unquantifiable, but very visible to any visitor.

The gathering delegates were treated to two traditional dance routines to set the scene for the theme of the Conference “Chinese Culture”.  After the official opening speeches by Conference Committee Chair Dave Adamson, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and National President Eric Livingstone, the gathering of delegates was addressed by Mr Garry Moore, a former Mayor of Christchurch, presiding at the time of the formation of the sister city relationship with Wuhan in 2006.  This was followed by the official opening of The Chinese Traditional Painting and Art Exhibition, which included live painting demonstrations by 3 artists of the genre.

On Saturday morning the Conference proper started with an opening address from Eric Livingstone, essentially summarising his President’s Report.  This was followed by Consul-General Mme Tan Xiutian from the Christchurch Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China whose presentation “Building a Stronger China-NZ Relationship through Culture” analysed the impact of cultural relations between the two countries.  Dr Adam Lam of the Confucius Institute at University of Canterbury presented “Confucius Institute as a Bridge for New Zealand-China Friendship”.  One important thing to take away from this presentation was his comment that the Confucius Institutes are not promoting Chinese culture per se, but they are promoting the understanding of Chinese culture.  Dr Lam indicated that to some extent the setting up of 3 Confucius Institutes in NZ is in some way a “gift” to NZ in exchange for NZ’s “gift” to China of Rewi Alley.  He commented that there has been a 6-fold increase in the numbers of South Island students learning Chinese since the establishment of the Institute.  Eric Livingstone then read a short message from Simon Deng Li, our Honorary Patron.

After morning tea, George Andrews from Auckland Branch described the current projects under way that have been funded either from the Rewi Alley Friendship Exchange (RAFE) Fund or the Simon Deng Li Arts and Culture Fund (commonly referred to as the Deng Fund).  He described in some detail the Media Tour to China, in which he took part and from which he had just returned to NZ.  Next, Janine Morrell-Gunn (Jason Gunn’s partner) presented a personal view of her participation in the 2012 China International Friendship Cities Conference in Chengdu last September, as part of the 2012 Prominent Persons and Society Leaders Tour, led by Dave Bromwich.  The last item before lunch was the launch of a new book of poetry from Jayson Zhang, partner of Consul-General Mme Tan Xiutian.  His book “The Beauty of New Zealand” combines photography and poetry, in both Chinese and English, has just been published and will be available from [email protected] when copies have been shipped from China.

After lunch Dave Bromwich introduced several participants related to the Shandan Bailie School and Kathleen Hall Projects.  These were Becky Li Jing, a sister city exchange scholar from Lanzhou, Deborah Rowe, who spoke about the He Ming Qing scholars, and Marty Gameson from the Board of Trustees of Darfield High School, which is a sister school to Shandan Bailie School.  Dave then rounded off the session with a summary of all the projects related to Shandan Bailie School, culminating in a call for a new teacher to start in September 2013.

The conference presentations proper were wrapped up by a discussion led by retiring President Eric Livingstone on the Society’s focus and goals for the medium term future.  This introduced a few minor changes to the Society’s stated Goals and Activities which would be formally voted upon at the AGM to follow the next day.  Delegates then dispersed to prepare for the evening Conference Banquet.

Overall the conference did stay true to its theme of Chinese Culture, with many brief interludes of traditional dance, song, painting, Tai Chi, paper cutting and calligraphy.  There were also the more formal aspects of National Executive Meetings and the Society AGM, but those reports are more easily covered by the appropriate minutes.

CLEAN ENERGY IN CHINA (from George Mills)china polution

Dead pigs in rivers, Beijing skyscrapers lost in the smog, and more than a million premature deaths linked to poor air: everywhere, it seems, are signs of an urgent need to reduce pollution in China. The country is facing nearly disastrous environmental degradation, yet still sees economic growth as imperative. Clean technology has emerged as both a potential saviour for the environment, and an economic boon. Clean energy development trends have been positive. China’s investment in this sector has grown 37 percent from 2006 to 2011. Analysts believe the market will only keep growing, and will be worth more than $470 billion by 2015. Official government statements have backed this growth in green technology, in both China’s 11th and 12th Five-Year Plans.  China is loath to rely on the outside world for energy and craves energy independence.  Developing more efficient, home-grown clean energy would further this goal. Xi Jinping, China’s new president, is known for being an advocate of free markets, but he has also supported China’s energy-related State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).  Li Keqiang, the populist new Prime Minister, has discussed innovation in clean energy technology, and will become head of the National Energy Administration.  That said, there are massive challenges that confront the development of clean technology, including competing interests.  Major SOEs in the oil and coal industries are reluctant to implement expensive environmental upgrades, and they have significant influence in policy making.  Coal still has an overwhelming presence. China builds one new coal-fired plant a week, and as in other sectors of China’s economy, inefficiencies exist; half of the wind turbines in northeast China are not connected to the energy grid.                (by Eve Cary, Context China, edited, April 2013)

QUAKE, CALM AND COLLECTED (by Luke Qin 秦瞳)

The Ya’an earthquake last month admittedly was a lot smaller in scale compared with the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in the same province when hundreds of thousands of buildings collapsed and more than 80000 people perished.  However, amid controversies on parts of the quake-stricken area being starved of essential supplies mainly due to road blocks, at times by boulders the size of blue whales, and allegations against the Red Cross for misappropriating donations dating back to the Wenchuan quake, there was a prevailing sense of calmness and maturity in how this latest natural disaster of a significant scale was handled by a nation that has invariably proved its mettle throughout history in the face of adversity.

Quake articleThe media no longer floods the news channels and internet with graphic photos and footages of badly injured victims being rescued with blatant disregard for their privacy, and fake stories such as a search and rescue dog died of exhaustion after saving 32 lives, when apparently the same dog died in 2008, were quickly pounced upon.  Well-meaning but perhaps over-zealous volunteers who often lacked experience and contributed to traffic congestion were turned away.  The rescue effort was swift and coordination on treating the injured and housing the displaced improved markedly.  Instead of trumpeting on “多难兴邦”, (much hardship may awaken a nation) as was often the case in the past, more emphasis was now placed on pragmatic disaster management measures and how best to restore normality to people’s lives.

When the aftershocks were still rumbling in, this little girl with her head heavily bandaged and bloodstains all over her clothes told the journo who took this famous photo: “I’m OK, I won’t cry, I am strong.”

MEETING DATES FOR 2013

Your committee has organised the following meeting dates for 2013.  Please mark these dates in your diary:

Sun 21 July (Luo Hui, Confucius Institute), Wed 21 August, Wed 18 September, Wed 16 October, Wed 20 November.