Distinguished Chinese Delegates Celebrate the Life of Rewi Alley

Rewi Alley is one of the most revered foreigners in China and particularly in the Hubei Province where he spent 60 years working for the improvement of life for the Chinese people.

This year marks the 120th anniversary of Rewi Alley’s birth. Rewi Alley is held in the highest high regard for all that he did for the people of China, the Mayor of Honghu City, Hubei Province took the opportunity to attend a celebration in Amberley this evening to honour his life.

Rewi Alley has a strong association with Amberley; although born in Springfield, at aged one year old he moved to the Amberley School house (in what is now Chamberlain Park) with his family. His father was the Headmaster at the Amberley School (also then located at the Park) and Rewi attended school here until his family moved to Christchurch.

At age 30, he left New Zealand for Shanghai. He spent the next 60 years of his life in China, devoting his energies to helping the Chinese people. He became renowned for his work during the war against Japan, in the establishment of industrial co-operatives, technical training schools and for being an advocate and diplomat for China. In China he is used as a role-model for Chinese youth to emulate and learn from. In New Zealand he is remembered as an Ed Hilary-like figure, a man who achieved extraordinary things while remaining a down-to-earth Kiwi. His most significant legacy is that for many he symbolises the friendship between China and New Zealand, and that has served as a bridge, diplomatically, culturally and economically, between the two countries.

The visiting Chinese dignitaries are attending other celebrations of Rewi Alley’s life in Canterbury while they are here, including a formal event that was held yesterday at the Chinese Consulate in Christchurch. The celebration was hosted by Consul General Jin and incorporated the signing of a letter to formally recognise the important "Historical and Cultural Relationship" between Honghu and Amberley. The Hurunui District Council Mayor Winton Dalley, Deputy Mayor Marie Black and Chief Executive Officer all attended this auspicious ceremony.

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