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Report on Prominent Persons and Leaders Delegation 2014

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Barbara Markland from Nelson branch filed the following comprehensive report on the recent Prominent Persons and Leaders Delegation of 2014. She gives an interesting account of their activities and the objectives they pursued. Two of the young ambassadors on the tour, Carla Lindley and Kristina Eddy, also filed their reports and their thanks for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they were given to represent New Zealand’s youth and to give their perspective on what is needed for the future of the youth today.

All the reports are interesting to read and comprehensive in their thoughts so that it is unnecessary for your reporter to comment further on them, except to say that all our delegates enjoyed themselves in furthering the future friendships between our two countries – one the biggest in the world, the other one of the smallest! Barbara’s report follows and see the links to Carla and Kristina’s reports below.

Carla and
Kristina and Carla ‘flying the flag’ in Chensi tea garden

The focus of the 2014 Prominent Peoples and Leaders Tour was the International Friendship Forum in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, followed by the unveiling of a Rewi Alley statue at Liuxia Park of Fu Shou Yuan Humanism Memorial Museum Park in Shanghai.

The delegation included 5 people from Nelson – NZCFS Nelson Branch Executive committee members, June Wild, Jeanette Jones and Barbara Markland, and two 18 year old students, Carla Lindley of Nayland College and Kristina Eddy of Nelson College for Girls. Carla and Kristina were supported by Nelson City Council. Other delegates were Kevin O’Halloran from Amberley, Craig Ashby from Christchurch, Matt Stuart from Dunedin and Suzanne Billington from Tauranga. The delegation was led by National President Dave Bromwich.

Carla and Kristina proved to be worthy Ambassadors for their schools, Nelson, and for New Zealand Youth. The youngest delegates to ever attend a Friendship Forum, they contributed much to the forum and to the tour generally. Carla made an excellent speech entitled ‘The Importance of Friendships with Other Countries‘ and was congratulated by several dignitaries. Preparation for the tour had included a lesson in Te Reo [Maori language] at Nelson City Council and Mandarin lessons for the girls with Jeanette Jones and Carla was impressive as she introduced herself at the Forum in both Maori and Chinese.

Matt Stuart, a Rewi Alley descendant, impressed with his speech at the unveiling and then assisted with the actual unveiling. On behalf of the Nelson Branch NZCFS Jeanette Jones presented a CD – a copy of an interview of Rewi Alley with Sharon Crosby, a former national broadcaster, in Auckland in 1982 – to be added to the memorabilia at the museum. The New Zealand group then performed a waiata which was very well received.

The inclusion of young New Zealanders in this tour was a great success, appreciated by the hosts Youxie and Gung Ho. The recommendation has been made to Nelson’s Mayor and City Council that a Youth Ambassador accompany the Mayor on future delegation visits to Nelson’s sister cities in China and Japan. This was favourably received.

The forum, themed ‘Green Life, Evergreen Friendship‘, proved to be very interesting with speakers from several countries and the New Zealand contingent making a significant contribution with speeches from President Dave Bromwich, Suzanne Billington, Principal of Tauriko School (Tauranga), Bernard Duncan of Sister Cities New Zealand, and Carla Lindley from our group.

Youxie and Gung Ho were again generous hosts providing accommodation, banquets, and sightseeing. The sightseeing included a range of activities that encompassed political history and Chinese culture both modern and ancient. Visits to the Moutai factory, Chensi Tea House and Garden, a mushroom factory, and Yong Cheng Private School [in Shanghai] were particularly interesting with the drive from Zunyi to Chensi providing some insight into the agriculture of the region. A visit to the Bird and Fish market in Guiyang, arranged by Dave Bromwich, was a really interesting experience.

The outcomes of the 2014 Prominent Peoples and Leaders Tour are many varied: personal and international friendships; school and individual exchanges; improved cross-cultural understanding.

Barbara Markland, Nelson Branch NZCFS, November 2014

Report by Carla Lindley

Report by Kristina Eddy

See also, National President Dave Bromwich’s report