On 7-9 April 2018, around 50 New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA) members and friends travelled to the Hokianga. The purpose was to pay respects at Rawene cemetery – the proposed site of the NZCA Ventnor memorial, and at the Ventnor-related sites in Mitimiti and the Waipoua forest.
William McKee of Toitū: Otago Settlers Museum & The Dunedin Chinese Garden, travelled with us and put together this beautiful short movie you see above. If you have time, do watch it. It’s such an evocative reflection of a really special journey. Other members of our group have also recorded their reflections of the trip. Check out James To’s personal story on how the quintessential New Zealand “walk on the beach” turned into a spiritual pilgrimage on the Asia New Zealand foundation website.
An important reason for our visit was to pay respects at Rawene cemetery. Earlier this year we had a very unfortunate incident at our proposed Ventnor memorial site in Rawene cemetery. As a result of Cyclone Gita and persistent flooding during construction, a part of the foundation caved in and impinged on nearby graves. NZCA took the decision to immediately fill in the site. The trip north was to apologise in person to the people of Rawene, pay our respects at the remediated site and view the proposed new site in a different part of the cemetery. We are now in a consultation process for the proposed new site. The mechanics of that process have yet to be confirmed, but we look forward to working with the Far North District Council, the Community Board and the rest of the community. If you’d like to be on our update list please email NZCA@nzchinese.org.nz