New Zealand China Friendship Society

The New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc which was founded in 1952, has always aimed to build friendship with the people of China, raise the awareness in New Zealand of China, its people and culture, and continue the works of Rewi Alley based on his philosophies.

The New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc has been proactive in ensuring Rewi Alley's life and works are remembered both in China and New Zealand over the last six decades by being actively engaged in projects dear to his heart.

The Rewi Alley Centennial Anniversary Committee in 1997, headed by Professor Bill Willmott, and the Christchurch Gansu Sister City Committee headed by Eric Livingstone, as part of the centenary commemorations of Rewi Alley’s life and legacy, organised for the planting of a tree in Chamberlain Park in recognition of Rewi Alley’s time living in the former school house on this site. On 2nd December 1997, the then Governor General His Excellency Sir Michael Hardie Boys, planted the tree and unveiled a plaque commemorating the event.

In 2017, the New Zealand China Friendship Society granted funding from the Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange Fund, which had been created by the Chinese Government in recognition of the Society’s 60 years contribution to friendship with China, to the Hurunui Youth Council to assist with the purchasing of plants for the Chinese Garden of Reflection.

The selection of suitable plantings from this funding grant was made by the Hurunui District Council Head Gardener and the renowned Chinese garden specialist Ms Di Madgin, wife of Professor Bill Willmott and a former Christchurch Branch President of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.Local residents and former New Zealand China Friendship Society members Mr and Mrs Merrick and Delia Ma, who have several Chinese styled bridges on their North Canterbury property, provided the Amberley Lions with the opportunity to study the architecture and structure of Chinese style bridges first hand and so assist in the design of the bridge built in the Garden of Reflection.

Mr Eric Livingstone, chair of the Rewi Alley 120th Anniversary Commemorations Committee and Past National President of the New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc took the lead role in the coordination and synchronisation of all the activities for the 120th Anniversary Commemoration on 2nd December 2017 (Rewi Alley’s birthday) the day on which the Garden of Reflection was unveiled.


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