14 April, 2018

Message from the NZ Chinese Association

On Saturday 7 April, the NZ Chinese Association (NZCA) came to Rawene to pay respects at the former memorial building site and apologise in person to the residents of Rawene. We also wanted to see and hear what people thought about the proposed new site.

It was our privilege to meet so many of you on Saturday. Thank you for generously giving up your Saturday afternoon to come, share views, and mix and mingle. It was such a positive experience for us to talk with you, and we really valued your thoughts.

Many of you will have heard about the meeting already, but for us the main result was the bridges built between all the different people involved.

It was great to hear the views expressed about the memorial and proposed new site. Our previous consultations had quite a bit of feedback, largely supportive. On Saturday we heard more views, including concerns about the consultation process, suitability of the cemetery area (drainage, proximity to graves, assurance regarding supervision of building and parking), and respect for Rawene surroundings / size of the memorial. Some of these, such as drainage and parking are Council-related issues, and we understand they have thoughts about this. As to our future process for consultation, we’ll just need to find out from Council what the next steps are.

Just to let you know, we have already manufactured the elements of the memorial, so we are not keen to do a redesign, but we can assure you NZCA will absolutely be supervising any digging. 

The great thing to come out of the meeting was the idea for a committee to be formed with Council, community board members and local community representatives. This will help with communications and we hope it will help ensure everybody knows who is responsible for doing what. It will also be easier for NZCA because we’ll have a central point of contact for all.

It is our dearest wish to have this memorial for our ancestors completed and to acknowledge our shared history with the people of the Hokianga. We feel like this meeting has been a great step forward, and we hope our presence on Saturday reflects our commitment to this process. Wishing all in Rawene well and looking forward to our next meeting with one and all.

Our grateful thanks to Rawene kaumatua Steve Morunga, who has worked so hard for all communities involved, Ted Wihongi from the Far North District Council who was able to answer many of our questions, and Emma, Rob, Louis and Shaun of the Community Board. Also, to Dawn and Andries for doing the hall set up and tea and coffee, and to Jack and Rita Mokaraka who did a beautiful hangi as a fundraiser for the golf club. And to all the willing helpers who helped make the day possible. Thank you.

If anyone would like to know further information, please look up our website www.ventnor.nz, and email us if you would like to receive update emails NZCA@NZchinese.org.nz