NZCFS National Newsletter


February 2022


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Commemoration of Rewi Alley's 124th Birthday

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Society News

The Story of the New Zealand China Friendship Society

The Story of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (as at 15 February 2022)

NZCFS has a 70 year history. As older members drift away, and new and younger people are drawn to us, we are in danger of losing our past activity, and new members are not well informed about what we have achieved. Here is an initial attempt to capture some of the more significant activity and achievement, and in particular that of the years from 2000 on.  

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Memorial Service for Christine Ward

Christine was a very well known and highly respected member of our society. At the time of her passing, she was secretary of the Nelson branch and Vice President South Island.

With husband Bruce she was very active in the society for many years. Christine was the sort of person that when she said something, everyone listened because they knew whatever she said was always balanced, sensible and erudite.

On 5 February a memorial service for her was held in Nelson. Covid meant our national president was unable to attend in person, but he gave the following address via Zoom:

I made the hard decision to cancel my travel. I do not want to risk being a spreader of Omicron.

But my spirit is here. I wish to be present to acknowledge Christine. Both personally and as the National President of NZCFS.

Personally, I wish to state that Christine was special. It is infrequent to know and have the honour of spending time with someone as sincere, genuine and open as Christine. She was a rare Kiwi, who really got it. Deep understanding, compassion and courage. In her relationships with China, and Chinese people. And she gave generously of herself, committed fully to promoting that. Thank you Christine.

On behalf of NZCFS, I know that ALL members had full respect for these attributes. We are all grateful for her friendship, support and wisdom. It is perhaps best expressed in a statement a colleague said: “Christine is the epitome of why NZCFS exists, of why I am a member.” When Christine spoke, people listened.
So, Christine, I hope you knew that. You will remain in our hearts and memories for all the good you gave to us all, and to the world.

For those unable to attend, the livestream archive is available at:

NOTE It is uncertain as to how long this link will remain available.


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At the moment the national executive is working on creating an archive facility in Whanganui where all records relating to our society’s activities, past and future, can be held.

It is early days yet, but once the location has been set up, and processes put in place, we will come back to you. In the meantime though, please advise your branch members of this, and ask them to think of any books, documents, videos etc and in fact anything at all they may have relating to the history and activity of our society which they would be willing to donate and have stored in this facility. The long term aim is to have a valuable information resource available.

China and international friends

During the celebrations commemorating 100 years of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last year there was a lot of acknowledgement given to foreign friends. Prominent among those were Rewi Alley, Edgar Snow and Helen Foster Snow. Much of the events of these celebrations can be found by scrolling down in our end of year address

An important reminder of the high value placed on these international friends of China to us in friendship organisations. 

This year, President Xi Jinping has continued this. After Adam Foster, president of the Helen Foster Snow Foundation, wrote recently to President Xi Jinping, Xi replied and encouraged him and the foundation to continue to serve as a bridge promoting friendship between the two nations.

This was reported widely in China, including a news bulletin of more than one minute on CCTV 13 national news in which he acknowledges Gung Ho and Shandan Bailie School. Read more in the China Daily report

Looking back, Xi Jinping visited Shandan in August 2019. There is a video of this visit on Facebook and a report of this visit can be found on NZCFS website.

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New Zealanders in China

We have detailed articles about Rewi Alley and Kathleen Hall. Now, a new series of articles has been introduced to the NZCFS website featuring New Zealanders who played significant roles in China, both famous and less well known. Some will have direct connection to NZCFS, others will have established a profile outside of NZCFS.

Robin Hyde

In the first article, Miles Barker profiles Robin Hyde. Those who attended the Hamilton National Conference will recall the highlight of that conference: Miles’ presentation titled Robin Hyde, Rewi Alley and varieties of Mahi Tahi. The Robin Hyde story starts here with Robin Hyde: A Godwits Late Flight to China.

Robin Hyde: A Godwit’s Late Flight to China

Many people today recognize Robin Hyde (1906-1939) as ranking with Katherine Mansefield and Frank Sargeson among New Zealand’s greatest writers and poets. In her brief life Hyde produced an enormous volume of poetry, diaries, articles and ten books.

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The New Zealand China Friendship Society is a membership group with over 60 years of experience in promoting goodwill, understanding and friendship between our countries. Keep up to date with what's been happening in our community and two nations here in this monthly newsletter. 
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