On Wednesday 19 August 2015, Michael Powles, the President of the NZCFS Wellington Branch welcomed attendees to the monthly meeting. The speaker for the night was Madeleine Slavick, who lived in Hong Kong for 24 years as a teacher, fundraiser, campaigner, photo-journalist and editor. She has published several books of photography, poetry, and non-fiction, and travelled to Mainland China to document various anti-poverty projects. Madeleine has had two recent exhibitions in Wellington and Auckland: RED (photographic images of China) and Hong Kong Song (a retrospective of 25 years of living in Hong Kong). Her presentation focused on both her personal artistic work and professional work with Oxfam.
Monday 10 August 2015 marked the beginning of the Shenzhen Cultural Week, which was organised by the Wellington City Council and was launched at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. The night began with a reception to welcome guests to the Cultural Week. Political Counsellor Fang Qiu, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Vice President of the Shenzhen Association for International Cultural Exchanges Liu Jiachen, Chairman of the Asia – New Zealand Foundation John Luxton and other guests including a number of Mandarin Language Assistants based in Wellington attended the ceremony.
In July 2015, an International Friendship Day was held at Victoria University of Wellington. This was organised by the Victoria University International Student Association, and a number of cultural clubs contributing to the event by showcasing their culture through food and performance.
The focus of this meeting was the NZCFS National Conference which was hosted by the Nelson Branch in May. The theme chosen was “有办法 YO BANFA: There is a way!” based on the title of a book from Rewi Alley, and there was a strong focus on the initiatives in progress to pursue the society goals in new ways, especially in relation to youth work. Seven Wellington Branch members attended the conference, and Christine Strickland, Branch Vice-President, and Kirk McDowall, Local Committee Member, gave a PowerPoint presentation of the conference during the monthly meeting.
The New Zealand China Friendship Society meeting on 15 April began with Michael Powles, President of the Wellington Branch, welcoming all those in attendance. After informing the audience of general matters with the Society, and also reminding that member subscriptions were due, Michael began his speech. In February, Michael organised a conference, China and the Pacific: The View from Oceania, which attracted over 150 participants, including many academics, politicians, and officials from the Pacific, China, New Zealand and elsewhere. The Conference was sponsored by Victoria University, National University of Samoa and Sun Yat-sen University of Guangzhou and was held on the campus of the National University of Samoa.
Sister Cities New Zealand (SCNZ) recently held their Annual Conference in Wellington on 10 – 11 April, and the New Zealand Friendship Society (NZCFS) were lucky enough to attend the conference. SCNZ was established in 1981 as a non-profit organisation, with the aim of supporting New Zealand cities, towns, districts and ports that have entered into a sister-city, twinning or friendship relationship with an overseas counterpart. These relationships often start at the local level, and may be economically, socially or culturally based, such as business-to-business or school-to-school.
Part of the role of SCNZ, is to help facilitate these intercity links and highlight the amazing stories and achievements of those around the country, who are working to foster such relationships. This includes business groups, grass-root community organisations, local councils and government groups, schools and education providers, who are all promoting people-to-people relations with international counterparts around the world.
To celebrate the Chinese National Day on 1 October, the weekend of 27 & 28 September was abuzz with Chinese related activities. The weekend started with the Confucius Institute Day at 11am on the Wellington Waterfront.
Confucius Institutes around the world held events to celebrate Confucius Institute Day and the 10th anniversary of the first institute. Activities included sessions focused on Chinese culture and exhibitions of Chinese painting, music and martial arts. Nearly 1,200 Confucius Institutes have been established in more than 120 countries since 2004. The institutes aim to teach the Chinese language and teach people overseas about Chinese culture.
On the 17th September 2014, the Wellington branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society (NZCFS) welcomed Councillor Jo Coughlan to give a speech on her perspective on building relationships with China. For the last five years she has been a Director of Silvereye Communications and has worked with an extensive range of public and private sector clients and industry organisations both in New Zealand and globally. Jo is in her third term as a Wellington City Councillor, having been originally elected in October 2007.