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  • New Zealand History and Culture Course Summary 2013

    An Introduction to the Course

    The New Zealand History and Culture program began its sixth year at Peking University. With the classroom already full to the brim and twenty more students queuing up to gain entry, there is no question about the ever-growing popularity of the course. This semester’s class schedule beholds a line-up of diverse and interesting lectures on a range of topics relating to the current situation between China-New Zealand, catering to the different interests of students from Peking University’s numerous faculties. As in previous years, the course will be delivered by various officials and lecturers from New Zealand and China; specialists in the areas of history, trade, agriculture, education, immigration and literature in their own right.

    2013/09/11 - Geography and History of New Zealand

    Week One kicked off with an engaging lecture entitled ‘Geography and History of New Zealand,’ presented by Professor Paul Clark, Head of School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland with his quintessential brand of expertise, humour and incorporation of both Maori and Mandarin phrases. This lecture looked at the history of the Maori, British colonisation of New Zealand, the impact of the Treaty of Waitangi and the arrival of Southern Chinese workers during the Gold Rush of the late 19th century. The idea that New Zealand is part of Asia; yet not culturally Asian and part of the West; yet not part of the alliance with the United States, is one that will underline the teachings of the course and create a dialogue about New Zealand’s unique identity in the world. Professor Clark, who has been coordinating the program since its genesis six years ago, also introduced students to the course requirements, including two assignments and an end of year exam, whilst assuring the class that their English abilities will improve with hard work and participation in group discussions throughout the semester.

    2013/09/26 - Lecture on New Zealand Trade and Economics

    David Evans, Deputy Head of Mission, New Zealand Embassy, shared his knowledge and experience in the fields of trade and economics with the ‘New Zealand-China Relations’ lecture in Week Two. The recent bilateral talks in Beijing between Prime Minister John Key and top Chinese leaders reflects how important a strong relationship with China is to the New Zealand Government, with trade growing from strength to strength since the Free Trade Agreement was founded in 2008. Mr. Evans, who works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) while in New Zealand, spoke about the nature of tourism, education, trade, diplomatic relations and investment between China and New Zealand, as well as important figures in the development of this relationship such as the Kiwi humanitarian Rewi Alley, one of the Top 10 International Friends of China and the New Zealand company Fonterra, the number one exporter of dairy products to China and the world. In the second hour, the students were divided into small groups with six visitors from Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Young Leaders Network to share opinions about the lecture and exchange ideas with these guests from across the Pacific. Representatives from each group articulately presented a summary of these discussions back to the class, touching on topics such as cultural differences, challenges to the NZ Inc China Strategy and even national foods.New Zealand History and Culture program is off to a great start this month and the New Zealand Centre is looking forward to further student engagement with this little group of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

    2013/10/09 - Lecture on the New Zealand Economy and International Trade

    Peking University, Oct 9, 2013: Students and staff alike were excited to receive Rodney Jones, Director, Wigram Capital Partners for the fourth lecture of the course, ‘New Zealand Economy and International Trade.’ With several students from the School of Economics and the School of Business in the course, Mr. Jones’ seminar was a highly anticipated event on the class agenda. The first half of the lecture looked at the New Zealand economy before and after the sweeping economic reforms in 1984, including a comprehensive introduction to New Zealand Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy and Trade Policy during the opening up period of 1984-1993. The second half covered New Zealand’s current trade relationship with Asia, particularly the growth of imports and exports with China since the Free Trade Agreement. In tandem with the presentation about the New Zealand economy, there was an economics aspect where concepts such as ‘terms of trade’ were clearly broken down into formulas that everyone could understand. Mr. Jones discussed a comparison between the current Chinese economy and the pre-1984 New Zealand economy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and current challenges to Chinese investment. A self-confessed fan of long-term trend graphs, Mr. Jones provided the class with informative handouts to match the slideshow and encouraged questions from students about any of the content. These resources combined with his engaging and knowledgeable perspective on the development of the New Zealand economy, meant students came away with a fresh take on a topic they may not have been familiar with before. It was a pleasure to have Mr. Jones and his daughter Alex attend the New Zealand History and Culture Course and we hope they return for another lecture next year.

    2013/10/16 - A Fresh Perspective on New Zealand History

    Peking University, Oct 16, 2013: The New Zealand History and Culture Course welcomed Associate Professor Caroline Daley, Dean of Graduate Studies, The University of Auckland to present her lecture, ‘The Writing of New Zealand,’ as her delight in having the opportunity to talk about history was warmly received with applause from the class. Having just completed the first assignment of the course, some students were freshly familiar with a few of Assc. Prof. Daley’s published works including Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives (1994) and Leisure and Pleasure (2003), making her visit all the more relevant. Instead of providing a run through of historical events, the lecture discussed the way New Zealand’s general histories from William Pember Reeves to Michael King have shaped what is now perceived to be the ‘history of New Zealand,’ neatly packaged into landmark events and key figures. The multi-dimensional lecture covered unfamiliar periods in New Zealand history, such as the rise of the protest culture, Robert Muldoon’s drunken snap election in 1984 and the varying responses to the radical ‘Rogernomics’ reforms of the 1980s, as well as the value of alternate histories, personal events and rise of consumerism and urbanism which don’t seem to fit into the prescribed historical narrative. Assc. Prof. Daley ended the lecture by sharing her concept of New Zealand’s ‘black singlet,’ which wraps a corset around histories and doesn’t always allow for other views to seep in, such as the waves of migration of Dutch after World War II, across the Tasman and Indian chain-migration patterns. The concluding question and answer segment saw the humorous and charismatic Professor rewarding brave students with memory sticks from the University of Auckland. The New Zealand Centre at Peking University appreciate Associate Professor Daley’s valuable contribution to the course and welcome her back in the future to share her insight into New Zealand history once more.

    2013/10/23 - Presentations from Beijing-based Kiwi students

    Peking University, Oct 23, 2013: In Week 7 of the New Zealand History and Culture Course, the tone was casual and light-hearted with presentations from four Kiwis about their experiences in China. Charlie, one of the Liaison Officers at the New Zealand Centre, a Masters student at Peking University and alumni of the University of Otago, presented a humorous slideshow about the differences he had gauged between student life in Beijing and Dunedin, including insight into accommodation, university entrance exams, transport and extra-curricular activities, rightly noting that the Scarfie ritual of couch burning would be unheard of in China, while having passengers on the back of push bikes is a completely foreign concept to New Zealand! Dom, an alumni of the Otago University Law School who is now working at KAI Communications in Beijing, shared some photos from her studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and commented on the biggest lifestyle differences she had experienced between China and New Zealand, noting the things she loves about living in Beijing while also fondly sharing an image of a Kiwiana care package sent from Auckland. Clinton, also a Masters student at PKU and an alumni of the University of Canterbury, originally studied Japanese but is now well on the way to fluency in Mandarin. He spoke about his time at Sichuan University in Chengdu and standing out amongst the crowds during his travels in Sichuan, while earning some oohs and ahhs from the class with his inclusion of Mandarin phrases. Kristen, Liaison Officer at the New Zealand Centre, student at Beijing Language and Culture University and the Victoria University of Wellington, gave a brief introduction to the way degree programs and class schedules are structured at New Zealand universities, the work and study lifestyle of many New Zealand students and uniquely New Zealand Bachelor of Arts majors such as Te Reo and Māori Studies. The session concluded with a crash course in essay writing in response to the first assignment, with emphasis on essay structure, referencing academic sources and the importance of analysis over information.

    2013/10/30 - Fonterra Speaks at the New Zealand History and Culture Course

    Peking University, Oct 30, 2013: New Zealand dairy products have been a frequently occurring topic in the New Zealand History and Culture Course which was reflected in the recent essay topic choices of several students, meaning the ‘From Grass to Glass’ lecture from Nicola Morris, Director, China Farm Operations, Fonterra came at a particularly appropriate time. The New Zealand Centre at Peking University were very pleased to receive Ms. Morris, an expert in the field of farming and agriculture, who has been based in China for about two years, as she shared insight into the current challenges facing New Zealand companies wanting to enter the Chinese market at our office before the lecture. The first half of the two-part seminar covered Fonterra’s global footprint and key values, discussing Fonterra’s identity as a co-operative of farmers who are stakeholders in the company, as well as initiatives with integrated milk strategies. Facts and figures about Fonterra such as the whopping 21 billion litres of milk produced each year which makes up for quarter of the world’s dairy trade worked to reiterate a message that has been conveyed throughout the course: for a small country, New Zealand punches above its weight. The second part of the lecture looked more closely at the focus on Asia that had been alluded to in the first half, covering the development of Fonterra’s presence in China from the NZ Dairy Board’s first contact fifty years ago, right through to the farm hubs that are being developed in Hebei. Ms. Morris drew on Asia’s projected growth in demand for dairy products to explain why Fonterra has taken a special focus on the Great China India (GCI) region, noting that China holds several firsts for the company, such as the first time senior management has lived outside of New Zealand and the first country to have money invested into building farms. A summary video in Mandarin revealed that Fonterra owned familiar Chinese supermarket brands like Anlene and Anmum, to the surprise of many students! The concluding discussion session saw students receive answers to questions about the recent botulism scare, Fonterra’s stringent safety standards and the future forms of Fonterra’s Chinese-produced dairy products. The New Zealand Centre at Peking University thank Ms. Morris for her informative presentation and hope she will return to speak again in the future.

    2013/11/06 - Chinese New Zealanders and the Asianisation of New Zealand

    Peking University, Nov 6, 2013: The New Zealand Centre at Peking University were excited to have Charlie Gao, Partner, Deputy Managing Director at Mahon Investment present a lecture in early November, a case of the prodigal son returning home for Mr. Gao, who made a huge contribution to the development of the Centre during his two year internship several years ago. In previous years, the lecture ‘Chinese New Zealanders: Past and Present’ has been given by Professor Manying Ip, Asian Studies, The University of Auckland, a name familiar to Asian Studies academics and students in the class alike, as several students had just done book reviews on Ip’s 2008 publication, Being Maori Chinese: Mixed Identities. Mr. Gao, a former student of Professor Ip, called on the importance of her studies throughout his informative, topical and honest lecture about the trials and tribulations of the Chinese in New Zealand. From the original sojourner period in the mines of the South Island, to the ‘model minority phase’ in labour intensive jobs such as laundries and market gardens, to the ‘Inv-Asian’ headlines of the 1990s that spawned further racism towards the Chinese, Mr. Gao expressed that the Chinese experience in New Zealand is “not a happy history.” However, out of the oppressive Poll Tax and Yellow Peril phase, came success stories such as that of the entrepreneurial businessman Chew Chong and the increasing numbers of Asian culture festivals in New Zealand, leading Mr. Gao to conclude with a positive view of the future for Chinese New Zealanders. Students were keen to hear about Mr. Gao’s own sense of national identity, his experience with working in Beijing and his upbringing in both China and New Zealand. An inspiring and thought provoking lecture on the Kiwi-Chinese identity, one that will resonate with students and staff alike.

    2013/10/13 - Insight into New Zealand Architecture

    Peking University, Nov 13, 2013: The New Zealand Centre welcomed Dr. Manfredo Manfredini, School of Architecture, The University of Auckland and Visiting Fellow to Peking University to present his lecture titled ‘Post Colonial Urban Transitions’ for Week 10 of the New Zealand History and Culture Course. With one group set to make a presentation about art and architecture in New Zealand for the upcoming assignment, Dr. Manfredini’s lecture was keenly anticipated. Originally hailing from Milan, Dr. Manfredini was charmed by the City of Sails during a visit several years ago and has been based at the University of Auckland ever since. The lecture focused on the physical, urban environment of New Zealand and the challenges that Auckland faces as the largest and most populated city of a low-density country. A comparison of global population densities in places such as Hong Kong and the US helped the class get a feel for the unique situation in New Zealand, in addition to noting that Auckland has been ranked one of the world’s top most livable cities. The lecture raised social and economic issues surrounding the growth of Auckland, such as skyrocketing house prices, the cost of rent and the high level of energy consumption due to a heavy reliance on cars. By presenting photographs, statistics and diagrams, Dr. Manfredini introduced some of the physical attributes of Auckland and discussed modern ways that the city is redefining and redesigning public spaces such as Queens Wharf. It was a pleasure to have such an animated and informative lecture from the knowledge and expertise of Dr. Manfredini. We look forward to having him here at Peking University.

    The above content authored by Kristen Ng, 2013

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