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Rewi Alley revealed

March 15, 2006

Rewi Alley revealed

Six Chinese nationals will make a special visit to a North Shore City park on March 25 to honour social reformer, educator and writer Rewi Alley.

They will be at Rewi Alley Reserve in Trias Rd in Totaravale for the unveiling of a bronze bust of the New Zealander who dedicated 60 years of his life to his adopted country.

Before arriving in Auckland, the group of six - which includes two of Rewi Alley's former secretaries, two of his foster sons and two members of the Chinese Friendship Society - are visiting his birthplace in Springfield, Canterbury.

They are also spending time at Moeawatea, inland from Waverley, where he farmed for six years when he returned from the first World War.

During the battle against Japan he organised thousands of industrial co-operatives, and later was the pioneer of technical training schools, the most well known at Shandan in the Gobi Desert.

A New Zealand teacher is on staff at the school, thanks to Darfield High School exchange programme, and the New Zealand Chinese Friendship Society, for which Rewi Alley was the inspiration.

Also at the unveiling at Rewi Alley Reserve will be members of his family, the consul general of the People's Republic of China, Ma Chon Gren, and friendship society members.

Mayor George Wood will also speak on the day, and acting Takapuna Community Board chairman, Martin Lawes, will be the master of ceremonies.

The reserve was named after Rewi Alley, following his death in 1987. It has a Chinese stroll park theme with paths winding through it and seats.

Sculptor Lu Bo, whose husband, Bangzhen Deng, was another foster child of Rewi Alley, has made the bronze bust. An artist himself, Bangzhen Deng has taught classes at Mairangi Arts Centre.

After the bust is unveiled, a gingko tree - an ancient species from China - will be planted nearby.


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