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Wellington Branch Newsletter – November 2010

Wellington Branch President Michael Powles
Michael Powles
Michael Powles

At our November branch meeting Michael Powles will speak on “Perspectives on Human Rights in China”

Michael Powles was New Zealand’s ambassador to China from 1990 to 1993. Before then he had been high commissioner to Fiji (and Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu) and ambassador to Indonesia. In 1993 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and from 1996 to 2001 was New Zealand’s ambassador to the United Nations.

He served as a Human Rights Commissioner from 2002 to 2005. In 2002 he also became Founding Chairman of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation. He lived in China from 2005 to 2008 while his wife was New Zealand Consul-General in Shanghai.

He writes and lectures on Pacific and Asian affairs, on international legal and human rights issues and on aspects of New Zealand foreign policy. He edited Pacific Futures (Pandanus Books, 2006) which brought together predominantly Pacific Island viewpoints on options for the Pacific’s future – political, economic and social. He wrote China’s Rise: A Pacific View (Fudan University, Shanghai, 2008) while Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai. The book discusses the challenges and opportunities for Pacific Island countries brought by China’s dramatic global and regional rise.

Currently he is Senior Fellow of the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. In 2010 he was elected President of the United Nations Association of New Zealand.

Next Branch Meeting: Wednesday, 17 November 2010, at 5.45 pm

Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace (off Hill Street) Thorndon, Wellington. (Car park up Guildford Tce beside Hall)

An optional Chinese buffet meal, supplied by the Fujiyama Café, will follow the meeting at 7 pm. Orders for the $10.00 meal (please pay at the door) will be taken up till 6 pm. If you think you may be arriving late, please let the Secretary know in advance.


As this is the final Letter for 2010, the Executive Committee and Editorial Group wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Have a safe and pleasant holiday season until the New Year Dinner in February 2011.


Misconceptions on trading with China (Dispelling myths)

Stuart Ferguson has spent the past 36 years in a wide variety of roles in the transportation sector. He is veteran of more than 70 visits to China, several as leader of trade delegations sponsored by the New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA), of which he has been elected Chairman for 7 consecutive 2-year terms.

Mr Ferguson began by stating that there is not much truth to myths about difficulties in doing business in China, that is to say, no more than in any other environment with a different language and culture. Even when doing business in the USA, one may come up against trouble with the language, culture and traditions of business practice.

In Feb 1988 COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) came to NZ looking for a representative. On the advice of his friend, Mr. Ferguson “Grabbed it with both hands”. Within 15 months “The COSCO tail was wagging the NZ Shipping Company dog” finally opening their own NZ branch. COSCO NZ is now run by Chinese nationals; they understand the NZ business environment and practices, working and flourishing within them.

Western business people often see their Chinese counterparts as somewhat inefficient, dishonest and insular, whereas they may see western business people as impetuous, aggressive and impersonal. These cultural differences have deep roots. As Mr. Ferguson attests: “The root of Chinese culture is in agrarianism, social behaviors reflect this clearly, people frown on frivolity, can be stalwart, closed and suspicious.” There is an emphasis on morality, following and family harmony. Almost all relationships, barring friendship, are hierarchical. Western culture by comparison is historically based on individuality, expression and social equality. Where western business people may try to find ‘the objective’, breaking a task into discrete parts to be dealt with sequentially, a Chinese business person may try to find ‘the way’, seeing the problem holistically and working towards a harmonious result.

Guanxi is often mentioned, and has a place, but one also needs to be sure that their partner/intermediary has the capacity and contacts to deliver. As with any business deal, “If you don’t know someone, you need to especially take care.”

When sending representatives, it is important to match seniority with seniority, if you send a junior assistant, there will likely be a loss of face, and quite possibly a loss of business.

Haggling and bartering are very important, and lead to a leveling of the business relationship. This can be seen as a way to ‘level the business relationship, and size up the partner’. One would be ill advised to fold as soon as pressure is met.

It is very important to send proposals or new ideas ahead of time so that your business partner has time to research them. If you put a proposal on the table and expect an immediate decision, you may be met with a wall of silence.

To be prepared for business in China, people need to think in advance and on their feet. The hard part is finding a product people want, a market and a business partner. This would be the same even when conducting a deal between Christchurch and Auckland. There are no myths, it’s just a bigger and more complicated problem.


The presentation was preceded by a brief farewell for Yanhang Wang from the Culture Section of the China Embassy (at right with President Bernie Richmond).






February 13, Sunday, 6.30 pm Chinese New Year Dinner at Dragons Restaurant, Tory Street, Wellington. We celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

March 16, Wednesday, 5.45pm AGM with US Ambassador David Huebner as Guest Speaker.

April 20, Wednesday, 5.45pm Associate Professor Val Lindsay, School of Marketing and International Business, Victoria University of Wellington, “Service Success in Asia: Spotlight on China”.

May 18, Wednesday, 5.45pm Dr Paul McDonald, Senior Lecturer, Victoria Management School and former Victoria MBA Director, “Contrasting Leadership Styles In China”

June19, Sunday, 2.30pm The Aroha String Quartet, “Our Story And Our Music”

(The full programme for 2011 will be published in January 2011)

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

Victoria University of Wellington, Seminar Room, 20 Kelburn Parade. Gold coin donation.

Open to all ages, all levels. One-to-one or small group conversations to improve communication skills in Chinese. For more information phone Ellen Yang (04) 473-7558 or email to [email protected]

Also note the end of year Mandarin Corner Dinner will take place on Saturday 27 November at Shanghai Restaurant, 121 Manners Street. $25.00 per person (BYO wine, juice). Reserve a place with Ray Brownrigg.

CHINESE FEATURE FILM 中国电影 – Thursday 11 November, 7.30pm at Committee Room No. 1, Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield St. Free entry.

(Please note the documentary 纪录片The Mountain Veterinarian 山村兽医will be screening from 7.00pm and the door closes at 7.15pm)

The Xiao Yao Valley in Song Mountains 嵩山逍遥谷

At the end of the Qing dynasty, the master of the Xiaoyao School, prior to his death, handed over the Xiaoyao Sword and the Board of Morals First to his principal disciple Laoquan. The second disciple, Zhao Bantian, was driven away from Xiaoyao Valley. But 30 years later Zhao Bantian returns, planning to forcibly take over the Xiaoyao School. There ensures a series of breath-taking struggles between justice and evil, love and hatred.

Directors: Jin Zuoxin, Chen Kaiming. Starring: Guan Dejun, Chen Jianjun, Sun Chenxi, Weijian

DVD 85 minutes; in Modern Standard Chinese with English subtitles.


A school for promising players is the first step in a campaign to sell baseball in China. A group of major league executives set up a programme in the city of Wuxi last year where the 13-year old players represent an entire generation of future coaches, sports ministers and players in China’s nascent national league.

An estimated 300 million Chinese now play basketball – roughly the size of the entire US population. Football has established a foothold and golf is making its mark. Now it is the time for baseball.

According to the Chinese Baseball Association, 4 million Chinese currently play the game.

Executives declined to go into details about cost but said the annual budget for operations in China is at the million-dollar level.

At the forefront of the strategy is the development centre at Wuxi, where 16 handpicked boys spent the last year living and breathing baseball. (from “The Washington Post”)

MY DREAM – St James Theatre, Sunday 28 November, 6.30pm

NZ Charitable Association is proud to bring you a night of mesmerizing performance of Chinese dance, music and poetry presented by 50 physically impaired entertainers from throughout China.

“My Dream” performed by the Chinese Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe has performed in 40 countries since its creation in 1987, including such world-class theatres as Carnegie Hall in the United States and La Scala Theatre in Italy.

The performance looks beyond the disability to recognize each artist’s individual talent, then bringing these individuals together in performances that celebrate the inspiring, universal language of art, showcasing their talents – talents that have overcome considerable difficulties and hardships to capture the hearts of thousands.

Their determination has inspired millions at home and now they hope to bring their ‘Dream’ to you.

Tickets on sale from Ticketek starting 3 November; Premium $80, A Reserve $60, 16 and under/seniors $46



From $6399 per person share twin. Contact Andrew Kemp on 03 687 9900, email a[email protected] Flyer attached (email copies only) and available at the next branch meeting.


During Mme Li Xiaolin’s visit to Wellington, National Executive will be hosting her to lunch on Friday, November 19 at 12 noon at the Grand Century Restaurant, 84 Tory St (in a private room upstairs).

Mme Li is Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and a member of the Board of Honorary Advisers of Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Guests attending include Ambassador Xu Jianguo and his wife Mme Ni Li, and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown (to be confirmed).

Wellington branch members are cordially invited to attend the lunch. Cost is $30 per person including wine and juice. If you would like to join in the lunch please let President Bernie know.


Wellington Branch will be hosting the National Conference of NZCFS Inc over the weekend of May 27-29, 2011. The Venue will be the Wellington City Council Chambers. There will be the Opening on Friday evening, the Conference itself on Saturday, and the AGM on Sunday.

More details will follow.


The new port at Acu is one of China’s many Latin investments. Reputedly the largest industrial port complex of its type in the world, Superporto do Acu, is also one of the most visible symbols of China’s rapidly accelerating drive into Brazil and South America as it looks to guarantee access to much-needed natural resources and to bolster its support base in the developing world.

“This project marks a new phase in relations between Brazil and China”, Rio’s economic development secretary, Julio Bueno, said during the recent visit of about 100 Chinese businessmen to the port complex which will ferry iron ore, grain, soy and millions of barrels of oil to alleviate China’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for raw materials. (from “The Guardian Weekly”)

PHOTO EXHIBITION – 2-15 November. Free Entry. Wellington Central Library, First floor.

In 2010, a Chinese city on the banks of the Huangpu River embraces the cities of the world. Shanghai Expo, built around the theme “Better City, Better Life” offers a window from Shanghai into China, from China into the world, and from today into the future.

‘Experience Shanghai, Embrace The World’ Exhibition will bring you over 60 charming photos to reveal Expo’s success and Shanghai’s beauty and prosperity.

BOOK CORNER ( from Douglas Day)


“Country Driving: Three Journeys Across A Changing China”, by Peter Hessler, Text Publishing Melbourne, 2010.

This is an engaging account of the travels of Peter Hessler (staff writer for the “New Yorker”, where he served as the Beijing correspondent from 2001-2007) through China over the past decade. It is a story of a nation modernising at great pace, and of ordinary Chinese caught up in that modernisation.


“Message From An Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss And Love”, by Xinran, Chatto & Windus, 2010

Xinran (author of The Good Women of China) brings us the untold stories of Chinese mothers who have lost their daughters. These are stories which Xinran could not bring herself to tell previously – they were too painful and too close to home.

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