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Rotorua Branch Newsletter May 2011

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GREETINGS TO ALL                                                       

Bob, John and Cliff enjoying lunch before the AGM

OUR MAY MEETING WILL BE:

DATE: Sunday 22 MAY 2011

TIME: 12:30 PM – Start time for a shared lunch

VENUE: ARTS VILLAGE (RAVE) – Eric Bridgman Lounge

This month our Guest Speaker is Su Ellis and Family. They lived in China from 1998 to early 2008. Their four children were aged 2 – 12 when they left New Zealand. Su and Chris initially lived in Hubei province in Jingmen, Zhongxiang and Wenquan/Xianning – all relatively small cities.  They then moved to Tianjin for a few years, and finally to Tianshui in Gansu Province.  Their eldest son is still in China, studying Law at Wuhan University.  Chris and Su taught English at numerous schools and universities.  In some cases they were the first foreign teachers in the school (and once, in the city).  Su and Chris also ran an educational organisation, originally called “Kiwis in China” and later “One World Development Consultancy”, through which they introduced over 100 international teachers to Chinese schools and universities, training both international and Chinese teachers, and ran regular provincial professional development conferences.  They returned to New Zealand due to health problems.  China is in their blood, and their children have a great affinity for China and are likely to return when they can. The middle son attended a local Chinese school through to middle school and plans to return to China for university study.  Sue continues to serve the Chinese community in New Zealand by teaching English to recent immigrants.

As you can see Su and her family will be able to give a perspective of family life in China. Guarantied to be a very interesting Sunday afternoon. Bring a friend and something to share for lunch.

COMING MEETINGS

On 26 June Barbara Gatley will tell us about her walking tour of China and 24 July Alexis LewGor, President of the Multicultural Council will speak to us about this organisation and how it helps the Chinese nationals in Rotorua as well as many other immigrants in Rotorua.

If you have any suggestions for guest speakers do not hesitate to let us know and we will be happy to schedule them into our programme.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: are now due. They remain unchanged.

Name:___________________________________________

Address: _________________________________________ Phone No._______________

E-Mail:___________________________________________

Single: $ 15.00 ______ Couple: $ 25.00 _______

Joy and John discussing high finances!

 

NATIONAL EVENTS

The conference is being held in Wellington 27-29 May. Bob Okell will be our representative to express our views on the issues regarding the changes that have been proposed by the National Executive. These were discussed at our AGM.

 

Also the projects tour is also taking place in October check the itinerary on the New Zealand China Friendship Society’s website. Dave Bromwich is organising and leading this tour. They spend 7 days in Tibet. It will be an excellent tour. Also Rotorua features on the home page at the moment about the delegation we hosted before Easter week-end. Thanks to John Chang Wong for the photos.

President’s Notebook March/April 2011

Website: www.nzchinasociety.org.nz

CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE

On behalf of all Christchurch Branch members of the Society and its President Judy, thank you for all the messages of concern and encouragement from other branches, individual members and also from our friends in China. We have been in shock supporting each other and endeavouring to normalize our lives, not wanting to even visit the centre of our city that has been decimated.

We were warned to expect a large aftershock at some stage but never to my knowledge did we think its force would be much greater than that of the main earthquake last September. The closeness of the epi centre to the Central Business District, its shallowness and its acceleration of its very jolty shakes, spelt the end of most of our oldest buildings.

CHRISTCHURCH MOURNS

The shocking deaths in the Christchurch earthquake of 22 February of so many local people and visitors to our city has stunned us all. We grieve with those who lost loved ones, work mates, friends and neighbours.

All of us have stories of where we were, who we knew that were in the CBD and what we did when it happened. I had spent an hour and half just 45 minutes before the quake in the Central Business District, but did not think about this until days afterwards. The feeling of helplessness and stunned shock at the time of the earthquake was only relieved by urgent actions to check on neighbours, family and friends. Phones were largely down and some cell phone towers lost power, with the remainder overloaded as everyone frantically located children and family members.

For us after an hour an half all but one family member was located safe, she being in the CBD, later found okay as she struggled home in one of the worst hit areas having had to leave her car behind.

Our Society members as far as we have been able to establish have been hit much the same way as the rest of the population. Many of our members are older living in the older areas that were hit hard. Some had not returned home or had been living in uncertain conditions for six months while they waited for their houses to be fixed or rebuilt from the September earthquake.

A small number of members have been hit hard in a double whammy and this so called after shock has been just too much. While we can see the damage to buildings and contents, of even greater concern has been the impact on people’s lives, of their security and their financial ability to cope with the future.

EARTHQUAKE SUPPORT FROM CHINA

The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Youxie) has made a very generous donation of RMB 100,000 (NZ $20,000) for our Christchurch earthquake victims. The President of Youxie presented the money to the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing the day after the earthquake and we were advised by Vice President Madame Li Xiaolin who also sent her personal heart felt sympathy and condolences.

Also, the Chinese Government gave US $500,000 to the Christchurch earthquake Appeal when Premier Wen Jiabao expressed his deep condolences to NZ. A ten person specialist rescue team was sent to Christchurch and stayed in Branch member, Kaiwan Gan’s accommodation premises at the former air base, Wigram. The Chinese Ambassador and some Embassy staff from Wellington were also based there. Twenty three Chinese students died in the earthquake in the CTV building. Some fifty family members of those students travelled to Christchurch and their welfare centre was based at the Rewi Alley Chinese School (our branch meeting place) where the Ambassador and others met them. The school was also an area community welfare centre as well as the main support centre for Chinese immigrants. Their work load was huge.

NATIONAL APPEAL

Thank you for all your efforts in raising funds for earthquake victims. It is very much appreciated and one Christchurch Branch Member emailed, “It makes you proud to be a member of the Society” on efforts to support us. Moneys raised will go the Rewi Alley Chinese School for distribution to earthquake affected members.

BEIJING YOUXIE INVITATION

Two members of our Society (as well as two Christchurch Branch members on a separate invitation) have been invited to be guests of the Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for five days early September to attend the Beijing International Forum on People To People Friendship.

MARGOT CORNWALL SCHOLAR

Linda Wang arrived in New Zealand early February to commence her studies at Canterbury University and was in the middle of her first day when the earthquake struck. She was able to back track on the bus route she had taken to three quarters of the way back to our home before our cell phones could connect and we were able to drive and collect her safe but foot sore.

Linda then went to Nelson for a pleasant time with Branch President Christine Ward and local Branch members before travelling to Tauranga to see Peter Cornwall who arranged the scholarship, Past National President Margaret Cooper and local Branch members. There she also met National Vice President Dave Bromwich who gave a talk to the Branch and then Linda travelled via Taupo to Hastings to stay with him and his wife Gaye.

Linda came back to Christchurch when the University of Canterbury resumed its courses and is now staying with Christchurch Branch member Natasha Bartlett and her husband. What a delight to have this popular friend from Youxie in our country and a privilege to have her stay in with us. We did promise her some aftershocks but not as bad as what happened.

EARTHQUAKE & TSUNAMI IN JAPAN

What shocking news from Japan of the devastation following a terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami in the Northern part of Honshu. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

PROJECTS AND TIBETAN COMMUNITIES TOUR

The Projects committee has organized a fantastic 21 days tour in October this year, visiting the Society’s projects in Baoji district of Shaanxi province, then travelling through Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan provinces with a focus on Tibetan communities, including seven days in Tibet.

In Shaanxi, the group will meet NZCFS project partners Shaanxi Women’s federation, and in Lanzhou will dine with two NZCFS Kathleen Hall scholars, while in Yunnan the group will visit a NZ venture growing red pears.

The estimated price is $7100 twin share all up including travel from NZ home town and return. The only extras are the Chinese visa and travel insurance. Proposed dates are October 10 to October 31, and a draft itinerary is available on the NZCFS website, or contact Dave Bromwich, [email protected] for further information and expressions of interest.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE

It is not long to our annual conference which this year is to be held in Wellington from Friday 27 May to Sunday 29 May. Registrations are steadily coming in for what will be an interesting and full programme. Do come and share in your interest & experiences in China and renew friendships. We are delighted to learn a four person delegation from Youxie in Beijing led by Qing Boming will be present for our conference.

Best wishes

Eric Livingstone

National President