The Launch of the Rewi Alley Biography Held at Christchurch City Council
On 2nd of August, the Rewi Alley Biography book launch was held at Christchurch City Council. Christchurch City Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Chinese Consul General in Christchurch Jin Zhijian, Chair of the Rewi Alley 120th Anniversary Commemorations Committee in Canterbury Eric Livingstone, and representatives of the organisations and groups who supported the reprint of the biography attended the event.
Lianne Dalziel gave a speech, commenting on Rewi as the most well-known New Zealander in China and he is also a great son of Canterbury. “Today we come together to commemorate the man who brought two countries together and it’s the right time to reflect on his life’s work. The reprint of the biography with the Chinese translation puts this book within the reach of more people.”
Consul General Jin Zhijian remarked that Rewi was one of the most influential foreigners in China in the 20th century and has been recognised as one of China’s top foreign friends. “We should carry on Rewi’s spirits of peace, justice, selflessness and broadmindedness. The reprint of his biography is a joint effort between the two countries to pass his legacy to the younger generations.”
Written by his niece Philipa Reynolds in 1997, the biography details the life of a man who dedicated 60 years to humanitarian causes in China. Last year, in order to introduce Rewi and his achievements to younger people in New Zealand and China, Christchurch China Sister Cities Committee and Commemoration Committee decided to print a new edition of the book in both English and Chinese. The Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury (CIUC) supported and coordinated the translation of the biography. The director of CIUC, Assoc Prof Adam Lam, along with two professional translators from Huazhong University of Science and Technology undertook the translation work, completing it within the short time frame available.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Chinese President XI Jinping wrote messages for the preface of the book to acknowledge the great achievements of Rewi and the long-lasting friendship between the two nations.
The launch of the biography is one of a series of commemorative events to celebrate the 120th Birthday of Rewi Alley. On 2nd December this year, CIUC and the Commemoration Committee will co-organise a Rewi Alley Symposium in Christchurch featuring guest speakers from China.