NZCFS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
This year’s national conference of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS) held last weekend in Havelock North was declared the best ever by the 92 delegates attending from all over the country.
A warm welcome to His Excellency WANG Lutong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China (see his speech here); Yuan Yuan, Cultural Attache from the Chinese Embassy, Simon Deng Li, NZCFS Honorary Patron (Cultural) and all other participants enhanced by the Chinese flag flying in the middle of Havelock North village;
A magnificant display of artwork at the Havelock North Function Centre of Chinese paintings and sculptures by artists Jim Lin, Dan Zeng, Deng Bangzhen and Lu Bo from Auckland;
A memorable performance by impressive young women of the Maori Kapa Haka group from Hastings Girls’ High School who welcomed visitors last Friday evening;
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton then spoke of the importance of China and our Chinese friends to all New Zealanders and then sat for a portrait by Deng Bangzhen;
On Saturday morning, Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chairperson of Te Runanga o Ngati Kahungunu Trust in hiswhai korero extended a welcome from the six Iwi Taiwhenua in his rohe to all manuhiri present, who then sang the love song Pokarekareana composed by his grandfather Paraire Tomoana in 1917;
Lawrence Yule, Hastings Mayor and President of Local Government New Zealand, formally opened the Conference and stressed the importance of people-to-people contacts between China and New Zealand and the role of the NZCFS in assisting Hastings District Council in its ongoing Sister-City relationships with Guilin over the last 33 years;
His Excellency WANG Lutong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, warmly commended the Society on initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation and the importance of young people in both China and New Zealand developing friendships for the future;
National President Dave Bromwich welcomed everyone to the conference on behalf of our Society and said that we were proud that on the 14 -16 May two youth members, Charles and Jessica Rowe (no relation), represented NZCFS in Beijing at the 60th anniversary of Youxie (Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries);
Raymond Huo, Labour MP, launched the New Zealand Chinese Language Week to be held for the first time in September this year; (See the separate press release with more details and photos)
Sally Russell, Hawke’s Bay NZCFS Branch President and Conference organiser said that: “The Conference theme ‘Voices for Youth’ invited youth members to meet each other and discuss exciting new initiatives for our Society”. These included Tony Tian (Christchurch), Faye Zhang, Jack Irvine and Kirk McDowall (Wellington), Sheila Liu (Tauranga) and Ken Liu and Hamish Young (Auckland ). The Society’s first Youth Ambassador Charles Rowe joined the Conference via Skype from Beijing;
To complete Saturday’s afternoon activities, the Hawke’s Bay Youth and training orchestras under the leadership of Sue Melville and Charlotte Van Asch, presented a marvellous concert at St Columba Church, Havelock North. A feature of the concert was the splendid solo performance on the traditional Chinese instrument, the gu zheng, by Chen Xi Yao, a very talented young musician from China. He composed a beautiful piece called The River for this occasion and he and the orchestra combined to play it.