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Timaru Branch President’s 2014 Annual Report

The opening sentence of the 2013 President’s report described a ‘rough start to the year’, but commended the committee who had worked hard [often supported by partners] to make the year 2012 – 2013 a successful one, at times going out beyond their particular responsibility to keep the show on the road.

We faced the same situation at the commencement of this last year, Rosemary Lamb was elected treasurer, no secretary was appointed at the AGM, and again Ann White and Margaret Hughes very competently shared the role between them. Rosemary has had a difficult year of poor health, and again Ann and Richard White assisted at times. Richard is to be thanked for producing the Financial Statement for our AGM. Cecilia Davis has provided the hospitality of a comfortable meeting venue. Derek Hughes is to be thanked for keeping our website entries udpdated.

I am aware that it is customary in an Annual Report to thank people in the last paragraph, but in this case it seemed necessary to state their involvement on behalf of the organization, before we examined what has been done for the year.

We have had a splendid selection of programmes this year:

Mrs Noel Turnbull [nee Meechang] spoke very movingly of the story of her grandfather who came out of warfare and poverty as an assisted miner, lived in a community of some 700 Chinese miners, and later established businesses, raised a family, and returned to China to die in his homeland.

Colleen and Russell Winnington of the Geraldine Tramping Club shared with us the experiences and commitment of a group of local people who have assisted the remote village of Damar in Nepal to achieve a reliable and safe water supply. The Club have made several working trips to this locality.

Alan Laurie of Waimate explained to a wider audience the nature and future of timber trade with China. The local branch of NZIIA and our South Island vice president were invited.

As a close of year function we were invited to share a pot luck meal at Richard and Ann’s home out on the Rolling Ridges. Our speaker on train journeying in China and Tibet was Pat Graham of Dunedin, former geography teacher and tour leader who has travelled widely in China.

This last year we have held two banquets, thanks to the Golden Palace Restaurant. Our New Year Banquet was also a fund raiser and from this we were able to send $500 to the He Ming Qing Scholarship Fund. Ann is on the committee for this and last year met the two students. She is also on the Tours Committee.

The hope of our previous president, Jim Hunter, was that we would establish a Moon Festival here in Timaru, [having experienced these in other Asian countries], and so we held a Moon Festival banquet, with special menu, mooncakes, musical items supplied by the Confucius Institute, raffles organised by Cecilia, and an invitation to the consulate.

Plans in support of the Confucius Institute supporting Chinese language in schools are a work in progress. We have been grateful for the friendship and support of the consulate staff, who also keep us supplied with books and magazines.

Our president Jim Hunter died mid August and technically I became Acting President. This seemed to involve all the committee doing a great deal more, as well as giving me all possible support on a personal level. I am immensely grateful and humbled at their generosity of spirit.

Margaret Hunter, Acting President