The Christchurch-based school was a legacy of Rewi Alley, a New Zealand-born writer, social reformer and educator, Sarah Walters, chairperson of Rewi Alley Chinese School Board, said at a cermony celebrating the newsite.
The school was established in 1998 in Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island to teach Chinese language and culture, the largest of its kind in the South Island. Christchurch was Alley’s hometown.
The school’s former site was located on the campus of Wharenui School, where he had studied when his father was the school’s first principal.
An old friend of the Chinese people, Alley spent 60 years living and working in China. He made important contributions to the Chinese people’s fight against the fascist invasion, the economic development of the new China, and the friendship between China and New Zealand.
Member of Parliament for Christchurch’s Ilam electorate Sarah Pallett stressed “the huge importance of keeping our languages and cultures alive,” saying the Rewi Alley Chinese school was “the focal point for their connection with the Chinese culture.”
“For some, with one English parent and a Chinese parent, English was the language spoken both at home and school and their Chinese language and culture was set aside – and I saw that as some of the children grew up, they lost the ability to communicate with their grandparents still living in China,” she said at a ceremony celebrating the school’s new site.
Pallett said she would strongly encourage Chinese families to persevere and not lose those connections.
By Li Huizi, Photo by Chris Li