1897 – 1987
Farmer, teacher, social reformer, peace activist, writer
Rewi Alley was born in Springfield, in the South Island of New Zealand in 1897. He attended Amberley Primary School, where his father was Headmaster and which has a Hall named after him. There is also a commemorative plaque in Chamberlain Park, Amberley , which was laid by the Rewi Alley Centennial Committee in December 1997.
The plaque reads:
REWI ALLEY 1897 – 1987
A NOTED NEW ZEALANDER
HE SERVED THE PEOPLE OF CHINA FOR 60 YEARS
The son of the Principal Mr F.J.Alley, Headmaster of
the Amberley School from 1898 to 1907. Rewi Alley
and family lived in the school house on this site.
Unveiled by His Excellency the Governor General
Sir Michael Hardie Boys
Hurunui District Council
Rewi Alley Centennial Committee
2 December 1997
In 1927 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.