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Timaru Branch Newsletter February 2012


Chinese New Year Banquet

Front: Michael Fransch and Rhambhai Carr of Zimbabwe with daughter Cheryl Fransch of Timaru. Back left: Timaru Branch President Jim Hunter and Secretary Ann White



From left: Margaret Hunter, Jim Hunter and Rosemary Lamb

A smaller but enthusiastic group celebrated the beginning of the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dragon. With school holidays still in progress, most of the Chinese families returned to China and Hong Kong to celebrate with their relatives. As a consequence there were no children present. Nevertheless all present enjoyed the wonderful banquet present by Wing and Xuan, and Eddie their nephew – now their manager spoke after our President’s welcome. We also welcomed two new members – Simeng Lee and James Hughes who were members of the Christchurch Branch and are now resident in Timaru. Many thanks to Cecilia for her assistance and to Derek Hughes for taking some photos for the article Margaret Hunter kindly wrote for the Courier. The He Mingqing ( Kathleen Hall) Scholarship will benefit from the profit made from this event and the total donation to this worthy cause will be decided at:

For those members who are not familiar with the origins of the Chinese Dragon – you may be interested in Margaret Hunter’s article below.

A Chinese dragon is made up of several other revered animals – snake body, deer horns, bull’s ears,

hawk claws,fish scales. It has magical qualities – it can fly, change into another animal, swim, bring rain and ward off evil spirits.

The five clawed dragon represented the power of the Emperor. A dragon is often seen on bridges – it offers protection. It has a controlling position in the yang element.

The year of the dragon begins as a home based family festival, clearing out houses and being ready to start a new year.

Who was Kathleen Hall?

She was a New Zealand missionary/nurse who worked in China in the 1920s and 1930s.

After some years of language and professional training at Peking Union medical College [a very reputable institution funded by Rockefellers and staffed by British and American missionaries,] She was appointed in charge of three different hospitals, the last being Anguo in Hebei province.

Disturbed by living conditions in the mountains of Hebei, she was permitted to establish a cottage hospital there, but was on a visit to Anguo when the Japanese invaded in 1937. With great difficulty Kathleen made several trips to Beijing for essential medical supplies. Much of these were for the Chinese army. Captured by the Japanese, she was placed on an outward bound ship, but she disembarked at Hong Kong, and joined the Red Cross.

After the war Kathleen worked to establish a leper colony in Hong Kong.

Some of our members will remember the Youxie tour guide, Linda, who visited our branch in 2008, led tours, and won a scholarship to study at Canterbury University last autumn. Linda was married last month to a man from Inner Mongolia.

Best wishes have been sent from our Branch to the happy couple.