Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pakeha-Chinese family thrive

Juliet O'Connor gained much more than a husband when she married third-generation Chinese-New Zealander Scott Young. She inherited a large, welcoming extended family, many of whom live in the same Wellington suburb. She quickly assimilated into Wellington's thriving Chinese community. NowJuliet Young, she spends most winter weekends at the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre with Scott and daughters Lauren, 7, and Brodie, 4. She's often in the minority but she feels completely at home. Young's daughters share her dark hair and eyes but while her hair is curly, the girls' hair is straight. Lauren looks more like her mum, Brodie like her dad, but both are distinctly Asian and identify as Chinese. "Sometimes they look at me and they know I'm not Chinese and they wonder what I am," Young says with a laugh. Her life is a world away from her childhood in predominantly Pakeha Gore; her secondary school had only a handful of non-European children on the roll. "Then you grow up and move away and become exposed to all sorts of ethnicities," Young says. "I think Newv Zealand is ethnically diverse but if you live in rural Southland, it's not. "Wellington, which is where I've spent probably a larger part of my life now, is transient, open and ethnically diverse and becoming more so. That's only good." Young also finds herself in the minority at work with the Open Wananga, the at-home learning arm of tertiary institution Te Wananga O Aotearoa. Meetings start with a karakia and her work involves editing and writing about New Zealand's history from a Maori perspective - something she missed out on at school in Gore. "It concerns me that I didn't learn about that in my schooling. We learned about Captain Cook but we didn't learn about the other side," Young says. "Forme, it's been a real journey learning about New Zealand in another way." - Herald on Sunday By Sharon Lundy Email Sharon By Sharon Lundy 5:30 AM Sunday Apr 28, 2013 uliet and Scott Young with Lauren and Brodie. Photo / Getty Images

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

MasterChef’s Michael Gin: ‘I’ll do dad proud’

By Kelly Bertrand on 21st March, in Celebrity, Kiwi celebrities, Masterchef MasterChef New Zealand contestant Michael Gin might be carrying with him the hopes of his friends, family and hometown of Oamaru, but there’s one person he most wants to make proud – his dad Gordon, who is battling terminal bone marrow cancer. Michael (23) is determined to make the cut in the highly competitive, top-rating cooking show for his dad. “It’s hard to deal with,” he says. “But Dad still has a bit of time left with us, and I want to do him proud.” Michael never thought to enter the show, but a friend filled out the registration form on his behalf. He says watching his dad battle cancer has taught him to seize every opportunity that comes his way. “Life is short,” says Michael. “So I thought, why not. I’m going to do this!” Michael with his parents at their Oamaru market garden Michael with his parents at their Oamaru market garden. Michael owes his passion for food to Gordon and his mum Linda. Growing up on a market garden in Oamaru meant their backyard always provided the family with the best quality produce to cook with. And from when he was a boy, Michael always had his own little vege patch to tend. “Well, when I say small, it was still the size of half a football field,” he laughs. “But I was responsible for the entire patch, which was cool. “We have acres and acres of vegetables,” Michael adds. “We generally grow potatoes and brussels sprouts – as we do in Oamaru – but at one time or another we’ve probably grown everything you’ve seen in the supermarket.” Growing up surrounded by fresh produce and with his family’s love of cooking, Michael’s career choice has been heavily in fluenced by his upbringing. He graduated with a masters degree in food science earlier this year in Dunedin, where he now works. Michael with his parents on his graduation day Michael, a food scientist, and his parents Linda and Gordon all share a love of cooking. While Michael is getting used to people recognising him from the show, he reckons all the attention is a bit bizarre. “My family are making scrapbooks,” he says. “It’s unreal. Although my dad’s a real Kiwi bloke, he’s just like, ‘Yeah, good on you mate, you’re doing all right!’” As Michael progresses through the competition, his thoughts are often with his parents, who make sure to take a break from work and watch their son every Sunday night. “I know I have to treasure every moment with Dad,” says Michael. “I’ll be there for him when he needs me, and hopefully through my cooking he’ll be proud.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Intriguing play misses its mark

Intriguing play misses its mark BY MICHELLE DUFF Last updated 12:00 31/03/2010 The Bone Feeder The Globe Theatre, March 30-31. Directed by Simon Zhou. The story of the shipwrecked SS Ventnor is a poignant one. In 1902, a ship carrying the bones of almost 500 Chinese miners set off from New Zealand towards their final resting place in China. They made it as far as the Hokianga harbour, before sinking. The Bone Feeder is based on this largely untold story. It focuses on Ben, played by Auckland Boys' Grammar student Jae Woo, who has promised his dying father he will find the bones of his great-great-grandfather, lost in the wreck. Enter Maori ferry man Melvin Wani, who knows a thing or two about ancestors and the tangata whenua. Ben meets the ghost of his great-great-grandfather, played by Benjamin Teh, and eventually discovers what it means to be part of a family. This play is original. Ben is a fifth generation Kiwi, of Chinese ancestry. He doesn't know how to speak the language, and feels detached from his family and culture. This is a contemporary issue that should be addressed. The music is fantastic, with a live three-piece Chinese band playing traditional instruments with haunting precision. Teh is outstanding as the long-dead ancestor, with a stage presence that demands attention. But this play doesn't quite hit the mark. Ben's unresolved problems with his dead father distract attention from the adaptation of Chinese settlers to New Zealand and the cultural similarities with Maori. There were long soliloquies which relied on Woo's acting to bring them alive – a tough ask for any young actor. And the ghosts were confusing, comedic one minute and morose the next. Some scenes are beautiful though, and the message is good. It's on tonight

The world at your fingertips – what social media can do for you

Event date: Saturday, 20 April 2013 The session aims to demystify social networking and show you how social media can work for you.. It is designed to provide valuable insights on using social media for community outreach. And help communities engage and connect with each other as well as government agencies. Photograph of Qiujing WongQiujing Wong is co-Founder and Chief Executive of Borderless. In 2006, she was awarded the Carolyn Stolman Humanitarian Award in California for her work, and is a recipient of the 2012 Sir Peter Blake Trust's Leadership Awards. Borderless is committed to delivering unique and engaging films, videos and campaigns with business, organisations and individuals in New Zealand and around the world. Eva-Maria Salikhova is the author of the book “You Shut Up!”, an international speaker and an expert in inter-generational relationships and Social Media for business. Her company SocialeMedia helps companies of all sizes increase their sales and marketing online.

Cultural Fusion: Shaping our Multicultural Identities

Event date: Saturday, 20 April 2013 How are our multicultural identities being expressed through fusion in art and culture in New Zealand? The workshop is aimed at generating interactive discussions and learning on how cultural fusion is shaping our multicultural identities. Photograph of Roseanne LiangRoseanne Liang is a New Zealand Chinese screenwriter and director. She has been awarded SPADA's (The Screen Production and Development Association) New Filmmaker of the Year and Women in Film and Television Incorporated - Woman to Watch in the years since completing her Masters at the University of Auckland. Her short film Take 3 won awards at A-list film festivals in Berlin and Spain. Photograph of Vivian ChowVivian Chow, founder-chairperson of the New Zealand-Asia Association Inc and founder of Viva Eclectika - this is a biannual Dance and Music competition held in conjunction with the New Zealand Diversity Forum. April ShPhotograph of April Shinin, was born in Seoul, Korea, and is a contemporary New Zealand artist who has already held a number of group and solo exhibitions in Auckland and received wide acclaim for her work. April uses art as a tool for understanding the multicultural nature of New Zealand and raise awareness of values of New Zealand society. Photograph of Dr Kirsten ZemkeDr Kirsten Zemke is a Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland. She teaches popular music studies looking in particular at race, gender, identity and the Pacific. Her research specialises in rap music, New Zealand hip hop, Pacific pop music, and old rock and roll. Event email:

Mai Chen, Managing partner, Chen Palmer

Mai Chen, Managing partner, Chen Palmer Photograph of Mai Chen Event date: Saturday, 20 April 2013 Mai Chen is the Managing partner of Chen Palmer New Zealand Public Law Specialists, Barristers and Solicitors, Australasia’s first public law specialist firm, which she co-founded in 1994. She has led Chen Palmer for the last 18 years. She is the best selling author of the Public Law Tool Box, published by Lexis Nexis in 2012, and is an Adjunct Professor in Commercial and Public Law at the University of Auckland Business School. She also teaches an Executive MBA course at Auckland University, and has taught an intensive masters courses at the Auckland Law School. She is the inaugural Chair of NZ Global Women. Born in Taiwan, Mai Chen arrived in New Zealand at the age of six and understands the challenges for migrant families starting life in a new country. In her keynote session for the EthnicA conference she shares her experience and explores the challenges and opportunities of leadership in New Zealand - for communities as well as individuals. See full profile

Speech to NZ-China Partnership Forum

Pita Sharples 12 April, 2013 Speech to NZ-China Partnership Forum Nimen Hao. Tēnā koutou. Greetings. I acknowledge our honoured guests and key speakers. Thank you to the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges and the New Zealand China Council for bringing us together in this ground-breaking event. As our Prime Minister has already mentioned, today’s forum realises a milestone goal for our Government as we strengthen relationships and networks with the Chinese people. I have been asked to speak about creativity and innovation, culture and connections. In my Māori culture when one begins a speech, one begins by making a connection. As with concepts of guanxi, Māori concepts of whanaungatanga are founded upon diplomacy, culture and relationships. Māori connections to China stretch back through time, 2000-years ago the Chronicles of Hou Han Shu wrote that the skies above Beijing glowed red as blood. Incredibly, the scribes of Han had recorded New Zealand’s great Taupō eruption – one of the most powerful the world has seen. More recently the skies above Beijing glowed red with a fireworks display the likes of which the world had never seen: 8pm on the 8th of August, 2008. The Opening Ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games was an epic spectacle I’ll remember forever, celebrating a heritage both ancient and modern. A people striving for excellence, innovation and honour. That opening reminded the world of the Chinese people’s phenomenal and ongoing contribution to global culture, economy and civilisation. And I am incredibly proud to say it is a civilisation, a heritage and a people that Māori are intrinsically linked to. Thousands of years ago our Polynesian ancestors set off from Asia. As they left, they looked to the stars, using astronavigation they guided entire communities across millions of square miles of ocean. Using advanced science they crafted the world’s first long range, open sea faring vessels. From Papua in the west, Hawaii in the north, Rapanui in the east and Aotearoa in the south: over 80 generations they discovered and settled a third of the surface of our planet. I proudly acknowledge our shared heritage and pay tribute to all of our ancestors and acknowledge their courage, audacity and genius. As we prepare for the future – we can find inspiration in our not too distant past. We can look to our ancestors from across the Asia Pacific region, the ultimate explorers, leaders, innovators of their time. So when Māori think of a long term investment we aren’t just thinking of ourselves here in 2013. We’re thinking of those who have gone before us and those yet to be born: upon our shoulders are huge responsibilities, we are but one generation within a family tree that stretches back through eternity. How far it will branch out into the future? That part’s up to us. Instead of only focusing on how much our assets are worth we need to ask ourselves: What can we turn them into? How can we future proof them for future generations? I’ve been proud to lead Māori trade missions to China where our generational way of thinking resonated with our hosts, because like us, the people of China are planning for the future while honouring the past. Within a few generations, China’s Dragon Economy has become our global economy’s centre of gravity. Our Māori Dragon Economy – or as we call it our Taniwha Economy - can look to China, to Asia for inspiration. Right now Māori control around forty per cent of all fish quota in New Zealand; a third of all plantation forests; we own some of the country’s largest farms; our tribes control billions of dollars worth of assets. We know we must invest in science, innovation and education: this will determine the future of our Taniwha Economy as well as the future of our people. Our Māori businesses are working with communities across China. I am particularly proud of an agricultural exchange launched last year between the People’s Republic of China’s Government of Guizhou Province and my government department, Te Puni Kōkiri. We have developed a strong and close relationship with the people of Guizhou, a beautiful, unique province that is rich in cultural and natural resources with huge tourism and agricultural potential. We are investing in the future by investing in the education of students from Guizhou’s ethnic minorities as well as our own young Māori farmers. As well as ancient ties to China, Māori recognise more recent ties. We recognise that China isn’t merely a foreign export market thousands of miles away – Chinese people have lived alongside us for nearly 200-years. Nearly a century ago the SS Ventnor ship sunk and the remains of 500-men – en route go Guangdong for burial – were also lost. This tragedy devastated their families who contemplated an eternity where their loved ones souls could never be at rest. But a few years ago those men’s descendents discovered their forebears hadn’t been lost at sea, but had been laid to rest in sacred, tribal burial grounds. They’d been cared for by the local Māori tribe whose members had recovered, prayed over and buried these men alongside their own ancestors and loved ones. This year as part of Qingming (Ching Ming) 2013, Chinese and Māori descendents gathered on our remote beaches to unveil special memorials honouring their ancestors. After a very successful time at the National Museum of China, New Zealand’s exhibition of Jade treasures – Kura Pounamu – will soon head south to Guangdong: we are delighted that our Greenstone will be displayed in the ancestral lands of so many Chinese New Zealanders. An ancient treasure prized as much for its beauty as its sacred links to the Gods: few cultures share the same reverence for Yu or Pounamu as Chinese and Māori people. We both believe Jade has a heritage, a whakapapa linking us back to ancient times. We are also hugely grateful to the National Museum of China for displaying a treasured feather cloak that was gifted to Chairman Mao Zedong by our Māori King Korokī in 1957. Later this month I will be helping to host the Taniwha and Dragon Festival: the world’s first event bringing together Māori and Chinese communities to honour our cultural, historical and ongoing relationships. We chose a Chinese Dragon and Māori Taniwha as our symbols because like you we celebrate Dragons in legend and song, fearsome and fearless, wise, lucky, powerful. Great Dragons and Taniwha descend from the heavens and are personified in great leaders, tribes and nations. There is one other ancient bond we share with the people of China. Its English name is the Godwit bird. In China, I’m told it is Ban-wei Cheng-Yu. Māori call it the Kūaka bird. For generations of ocean navigators: this bird was one of our many guides. Every year at the end of our Summer, thousands of birds, gather at New Zealand’s most northern tip, we call Te Rerenga Wairua. For Māori it is a hugely sacred place, it is the departure point for souls, back to our ancestral homelands, in English it is called Spirits Bay. It is here and other sites that these birds gather in their thousands before taking flight, crossing the Pacific in a week and heading north to China: Stopping only when they reach Dandong, Liaoning Province. Their amazing flight between Te Reinga and the Yalu River is the longest non-stop flight of any bird on earth. Every year this tiny bird traces the journeys of our ancestors back across the Pacific, back to Asia, back thousands of miles and thousands of years. And in doing so, forever linking the peoples of New Zealand to the peoples of China. It is fitting that this very week as I stand to greet you: the Kūaka, the Ban-wei Cheng-Yu returns to China from New Zealand. We have a carving of this bird in our Parliament; I would like to leave you with the Māori proverb carved beneath it: Ko au te moemoea o te iwi: Te Tawhiti o tāku rere ka rite tonu ki te hohonu me te mārama o a koutou whakarite. I am the dreams of the people. The length of my flight depends on the wisdom of your decisions.

Taniwha & Dragon Festival 2013:

Taniwha & Dragon Festival 2013: Celebrating ancient and modern bonds 11 Apr 13, 7:00PM by Alexander Speirs A pōwhiri and festival are to be held in Auckland to celebrate Maori and Chinese cultural bonds, and to consummate the relationship between the two cultures. The Minister of Māori Affairs, alongside hosts Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, and Auckland Chinese community leaders announced details of the ‘Taniwha & Dragon’ festival during the Prime Minister’s visit to China to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. Dr Sharples said “It is an honour to be working alongside Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei and Chinese community leaders to help co-ordinate this special event.” “From our ancestors who left Asia millennia ago to settle the vast Pacific Ocean, to our Chinese friends and family who have worked, settled and raised families across Aotearoa over the past two centuries: our eternal ties to Asia can be found in our language, cultures and peoples. Our aim is to revitalise these relationships at the face-to-face community level,” said Dr Sharples. “As the Year of the Water Dragon sets and the Year of the Snake dawns, I’m proud that my Ministry, Te Puni Kōkiri, is supporting the inaugural Taniwha & Dragon Festival.” “The day begins with a pōwhiri by Ngāti Whātua o Orākei welcoming the Chinese community on to Orakei marae. The festival that follows will be an extravaganza of cultural experiences, we have kapa haka, dragon dances, traditional foods, and kites among the many Chinese and Maori cultural displays on offer.” “The new millennium sees Māori people connecting with Chinese people in many ways, through trade and business, via cultural and educational exchanges, and as citizens of the global environment,” says Dr Sharples. “All of these things should be based on building strong relationships between our people and communities, and this is what Taniwha-Dragon is about.” “Through our amazing ancestors we proudly acknowledge our kinship to China and invite all New Zealanders to come along and enjoy the day at our long overdue, family reunion.” “I congratulate Ōrākei Marae and Auckland’s Chinese community leaders, and I hope other communities around the country will consider similar celebrations involving all cultures living in Aotearoa,” said Dr Sharples. The event will take place Saturday 27th April 2013 at Ōrākei Marae, Takaparawhau, Auckland. The pōwhiri starts at 9am, festival at 10am

Chinese and Maori to come together for celebration

Auckland’s iconic Orakei Marae will host the world’s first powhiri and festival to celebrate the many bonds shared by Maori and Chinese peoples on April 27th. "Orakei and Chinese families have lived and worked alongside one another for generations, it’s pretty special for us to be able to celebrate together," says Ngati Whatua Chairperson Grant Hawke. "Chinese and Maori peoples are coming together to celebrate a shared history and a shared future. We encourage all Chinese people to come along, especially to attend the cultural welcome," says Arthur Loo, Auckland Chinese Community chair. The Taniwha & Dragon Festival is the culmination of korero amongst marae leaders, Auckland Chinese community leaders and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples. It starts with a Maori welcome ceremony or powhiri, where a huge dancing dragon leading the Chinese community onto Orakei marae will be challenged in a show of force by the massed warriors of Ngati Whatua. Speakers from the tangata whenua and the manuhiri will recount the ancestral and traditional ties between Maori and Chinese peoples, their historical relationships and hopes for a shared future, before the two sides greet each other face to face with a hongi. The festival that follows will feature traditional and contemporary Maori and Chinese entertainment, culture, craft and food stalls. At the heart of the Taniwha & Dragon Festival will be a workshop where traditional Maori and Chinese kites will be made and flown. In the run up to the festival some local schools have already been making and practicing flying their own kites. "As tangata whenua, it is Ngati Whatua’s role and responsibility to make all cultures in Auckland feel welcome. Maori and Chinese people share the same ancestors, but our cultures have diverged over many generations," said Mr Hawke. "We have lived side by side in Aotearoa for many years, and now we want to bring our relationships up to date, face to face and personal, and to celebrate our similarities and differences," he said. "Good relationships make our whole community stronger. As individuals, Maori and Chinese people have always had contacts - now is the time to take things to a higher level, culture to culture. "This powhiri and festival cements our relationships in accordance with our customs; we want to acknowledge our ancestral links, and encourage our neighbours to become personal friends and family, and to enjoy each other’s company," Mr Hawke added. Mr Loo said the Chinese community in Auckland is honoured to be the first to receive this kind of welcome onto Orakei marae. "We are very excited to be welcomed into the heart of the Maori community of Auckland. This is a unique opportunity to meet the tribal people who first invited other cultures to settle here, and to learn about our city. "All Chinese people who have come to New Zealand have brought with us our culture, history and traditions, and we are proud to be able to share them publicly on the marae and to feel they are welcome," he said. "Internationally, New Zealand is building bridges with China. Mutual understanding between our cultures here at home can be the solid foundation for developing business, educational, cultural and diplomatic links at the government level. "This festival is a chance to share our traditional food, dance, music and kite-flying, not only with Ngati Whatua, but with all Aucklanders who want to join our day of celebration. We hope this will renew the long and happy relationship between our communities in Auckland," said Mr Loo. Te Puni Kokiri, Fuseworks April 15, 2013, 1:18 pm

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Taniwha and Dragon Festival 2013

Taniwha and Dragon Festival 2013 will take place at Orakei Marae on 27 April 2013. A powhiri and festival are to be held in Auckland to celebrate Maori and Chinese cultural bonds, and to consummate the relationship between the two cultures. Be there! 《双龙盛会》将于4月27日在Orakei毛利会堂举行。 一个以欢迎式和庆典来庆祝毛利和华人的文化纽带和加强两个文化的活动。 一定要到啊! Facebook: Eventfinder: 国语电台广告语音 Mandarin Radio Ad: 粤语点天广告语音 Cantonese Radio Ad: Contact: Bevan Chuang庄家欣

Saturday, April 06, 2013

We need to talk about China

As Prime Minister John Key leads a super-sized political and trade delegation to China, Weekend Herald writers assess our fast-developing relationship with the world's new economic superpower. Two Chinese-born MPs share past and present impressions of their homeland with political editor Audrey Young, and Geoff Cumming examines the pitfalls for businesses wanting a slice of the action National MP Jian Yang and his family in 1965. Photo / Supplied The trouble with China experts living in China is they may not feel completely free to say what they want. The trouble with China experts who haven't lived in China is they may not have the complete picture of the great civilisation in modern times. Jian Yang doesn't have either problem. He is an undisputed China expert, who was raised there, has a PhD in international relations from an Australian University and is now living in Hillsborough, Auckland with his wife and two daughters, one born in China and one in New Zealand. He is also a first-term National list MP - he replaced the high-profile Pansy Wong as National's Chinese MP after her career ended abruptly in 2010 amid suggestions of mixing business with parliamentary-funded travel - and a member of Prime Minister John Key's big delegation to China next week. On the eve of the trip he spoke to the Weekend Herald about his experience as a child in the cultural revolution and what makes him proud of China on the rise today. Jian went back to China a few days ago to visit his parents, his father aged 83 and mother aged 80, in Yingtan, a city of 43 million in the province of Jiangxi between Shanghai and Guangzhou, and to help his father through a varicose veins operation. Both his parents were primary school teachers and, during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, were ordered to the countryside with their three sons when Jian was aged about 6, to be "re-educated" by peasants. They lived in a barn for a few years but, relatively speaking, it wasn't a bad time for him, he says. "In the countryside people were nice. Peasants were very nice," he says. "In the countryside people respect intellectuals. Those peasants actually respected my parents." At least his parents were not persecuted and made to stand in the street with tall paper hats on, as he witnessed during the campaign against "anti-revolutionaries". At least his mother's head wasn't shaved. His father raised pigs and his mother worked in the rice fields but after a few years they took up teaching jobs in the country. "The most spectacular present that I received for my 10th birthday was two eggs for breakfast," he said in his maiden speech last year. In 1974, his father returned to the city with Jian and his older brother after six years. His mother followed two years later. It all could have been worse for the family, considering his mother's father had been a member of the Nationalist Party of China, which was defeated by the Communists in 1949, and had been a landlord as well. He was taken prisoner in 1951 and sentenced to life but was released in 1957 for being a model prisoner. Jian says the Chinese Government has long recognised the cultural revolution as a national catastrophe and learned its lesson. He says China has experienced many humiliations and disasters in the past two centuries and that is one of the reasons why Chinese both inside and outside the country are proud of its achievements in the past three decades, including himself. "In the past China was weak and Chinese overseas often felt they were discriminated against because you came from a poor, very weak country. Basically the stronger China is, the more proud they will feel." Though overseas Chinese associate themselves with China's growth and it is very important to their sense of pride, "in China the sense is actually not so strong". Jian credits the Communist Party at being very good at self-improvement, one of the reasons it has stayed in power for so long. Deng Xiaoping's economic revolution of 1978, opening up the economy when it was on the verge of collapse, was even harder than the 1949 revolution because the party had risked losing power. These days, he says, the Government is more responsive to the public and pressure because there are many sources of information and people can travel around the country, which wasn't possible before 1978. Although citizens still can't publish criticism about the Government, they can complain about it. "We can see the limits but we can see the improvement. Many people can't see the improvement." Seeing humour is a test of 'Kiwiness' Is the Powershop advertisement showing Mao Zedong dancing Gangnam-style ("same power, different attitude") a good test for Chinese migrants to New Zealand? Labour list MP Raymond Huo thinks so. As one himself, since 1994, he says he loves the poster - though he doesn't expect to see any next week when he travels with the Prime Minister to China. He says reaction to it will show Chinese here whether they have become Kiwi Chinese. "I love it," he said. "If someone has been offended by that or feels obliged to be offended by that, I think probably he hasn't lived in that Kiwi Chinese way; and those who find humour in it and could smile to their colleagues, I think we should accept them as Kiwi Chinese." Huo believes that immigrants to New Zealand have an obligation to try to integrate. To Asians who have been here for more than 10 years, are still eating Chinese food, reading Chinese newspapers, speaking Chinese and mixing in their own community, "I would pretty much want to say to them that there's no reason for them to come here in the first place." He believes the attitude to Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party from the 1949 revolution to his death in 1976, is a generational one and says Mao and the party were still cherished in China by many people aged over 45. "If you want to understand Mao Zedong you need to understand 3000 years of Chinese history," he says. "It is not as clear-cut as depicted in the Western media." The 49-year-old movingly recalled his own boyhood memories of the cultural revolution, instigated by Mao, in his maiden speech to Parliament in 2008. His parents were both doctors and were demoted during the cultural revolution and ended up in the countryside. "My father, like other 'intellectuals' was ordered to stand still at the main entrance to the hospital, holding a wide whiteboard with his name painted in black, followed by the title 'counter-revolutionary medical expert' for an hour at a time, three times a day." He says that as a 5-year-old, he asked his father if he could join him and hold his own little board with his name on it. His father agreed. Huo's father has died but his mother is still living in Qianshan, a relatively small city of 570,000 in Anhui province. He tries to get back every couple of years. Huo is delighted that he has been included in the Prime Minister's delegation to China next week. When he is in Beijing, the former lawyer will deliver a lecture at the China University of Political Science and Law where he has just been made an honorary Professor of Law. He graduated from the university in 1990, then with cross-crediting took two years to complete a New Zealand law degree at Auckland University. Huo, who lives in Glendowie with his wife and two New Zealand-born daughters, chose to come to New Zealand because Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who helped set up co-operatives in China in his 60 years there, was such a strong and inspiring influence on him. By Geoff Cumming Email Geoff, Audrey Young Email Audrey