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Events to explore our Changchun connection

Wairarapa Word [Wai Word] is running a special two-part programme this week to reflect on Masterton’s past, present, and future with Changchun, its sister city in China.

A volunteer-run organisation, Wai Word has held events with a range of writers since 2012, including cartoonists and singer-songwriters, and more.

Madeleine Slavick, Wai Word’s founding coordinator, told the Times-Age the event is a collaboration with the NZ China Friendship Society and the Wairarapa Library Service, which has partnered with the organisation for the past year.

“We receive support from the Carterton Creative Communities, we typically hold our programmes down here, but we do move around when it’s appropriate for the theme, like for this one,” Slavick said.

Although Friday’s event is currently full to capacity, a waitlisting system has been put in place.

The event will be held at Carterton Library, NZ’s oldest purpose-built, still-functioning library.

Noted China scholar Duncan Campbell will kick off the event with a talk titled “Reading Chinese: The Book, the Collection, and the Library,” focussing on China’s 17th-century books and libraries.

Educated in Wairarapa, Campbell has co-edited two books, The Dumbarton Oaks Anthology of Chinese Garden Literature with Alison Hardie and Encountering China: New Zealanders and the People’s Republic of China with Brian Moloughney.

Campbell has taught Chinese language, literature, and history at the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Saturday’s event at Aratoi is set to explore New Zealand’s connection with China over the past 50 years and Masterton’s relationship with its sister city, Changchun.

Campbell will be interviewed by programme organiser Chris Lipscombe, who is national president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, president and chief executive of New Zealand China Cross-border Electronic Commerce, and trustee of the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Trust.

Campbell’s book Encountering China will be available for purchase and signing on the day.

Masterton councillors Tim Nelson and Stella Lennox will also give a presentation about the Masterton- Changchun Sister City Programme.

Artist Sam Ludden, who has two large-scale sculptures in Changchun and participated in two cultural exchanges to the sister city in 2008 and 2012, will also speak.

Lastly, film and theatre producer Paul Sayers, who lived in Changchun for 13 years, will speak about links with China, the Sister City Programme, and Matariki, as well as facilitate a discussion.

Dates: 21 July, Friday, Carterton Library, 1–3 pm. Seating is limited – members of the public must reserve their place at [email protected]. Admission by koha.

22 July, Saturday, Aratoi, 1.30–3.30 pm. Koha.

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