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The birth of NZCA Youth Leadership Development Conferences

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NZCA Youth Leadership Development Camp 

  When Kai Luey became National President in 2005 and earlier, I he was strongly advocating that NZCA should hold a bi-annual NZCA Youth Leadership Development Camp similar to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event but with an emphasis on Chinese culture and having many Chinese role models as speakers. He foresaw the need to develop the next generation of young leaders within the NZ Chinese community.

 The concept was to provide a fun filled learning experience like a mini Winter Camp within New Zealand whereby our Chinese youths could have a journey of discovery and develop life long friendships with Chinese persons of similar age (18 to 30 years old) and similar back-ground. Another aim was to build bridges between the NZ born Chinese and the children of recent migrants by publicing the event through other Chinese organisations.

 A grant of $15,000 was made by the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust in April 2006 to fund the inaugural camp in February 2007. The NZCA Auckland Branch Committee decided to support the camp by paying the $100 fees for its first 20 applicants and some other NZCA Branches did likewise.The five and half day programme of speaker sessions, team building activities, self awareness (Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment) and traditional Chinese cultural activities became the template for the successive annual events.

 Justine Kohing & Richard Ng fromWellingtonattended the inaugural 2007 camp and headed the Organising Committee for the 2008 event held at Wellesley Country Club,Upper Hutton 20 – 25 January 2008. At the subsequent 2008 NZCA Conference, the name of the event was changed to Leadership & Development Conference (abbreviated to LDC).

 This new initiative has now become a very popular annual NZCA event with Auckland Branch hosting it in 2007, 2009 & 2011, Wellington Branch in 2008 & 2010 and Manawatu Branch in 2012. Planning is underway for the 7th  LDC inAuckland in February 2013.

 After the 2009 LDC in Auckland, the enthusiasm for regular monthly meetings of LDC alumni resulted in the formation of the Future Dragonz in Aucklandas New Zealand's leading Chinese young professionals' network, offering social networking and learning opportunities to local and overseas born Chinese.  The group was officially launched at a special function on 14 April 2010 and now has a membership of about 100 young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s.


to the NZCA Conference in June 2007

                The NZCA Youth Leadership Camp was held at Willow Park Christian Camp & Convention Centre on 11 – 16 February 2007 and was attended by 44 youths aged mainly from 18 to 30 from throughout NZ.

 From the feedback received so far, all attendees had an enjoyable five days and the camp certainly met its objective of providing a training experience that will enable young Chinese leaders to understand their unique identity as Chinese New Zealanders and to acquire leadership and communications skills so that they can better serve their community, country and place of work.

 An important part of the programme was to have NZ Chinese who have been successful in various fields of endeavor such as business, the professions, human resources, community affairs, local government and sport to speak to the attendees and inspire them as Chinese role models.  We also presented “Young Leaders in Action” who had created and fulfilled a vision and to whom the attendees could more readily relate.

 The camp was featured on TV1 in the  Asia Down Under programme on Sunday, 4 March 2007 and on the Breakfast programme on Monday, 5 March 2007. Various Branch newsletters have reports on the personal experiences of  their sponsored youths at the camp.

 A special vote of thanks is due to the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, the Organising Committee members and the speakers and instructors for their time and effort in transforming the camp from being my personal vision into a successful reality.

 Kai Luey


to the NZCA Conference in June 2008

 The 2008 NZCA Leadership & Development Conference was held as a continuation of the 2007 NZCA Youth Leadership Camp held inAucklandthe year before. The underlying theme of this conference was to encourage delegates on how they viewed their identity whilst living in Aotearoa and to inspire them to become the best that they can be via a professional and / or personal life and to also initiate a succession management plan for the next two generations within the community.

 The approach agreed on with their subcommittee was that the foundation of the conference would be based on 3 key themes: Leadership, Achievement and Identity. The 3 foundation themes coupled with a sub theme of inspiring delegates to be all they could be with the focus on utilising key note speakers who held roles outside of the “expected” employment norms for most within the NZ Chinese community.

 A total of 36 delegates aged between 18 and 33 from all aroundNew Zealanddescended on the mightyAkatarawaValleywhere Internet access and mobile phone reception was swapped for a tranquil setting and 5 and a half days of inspiration, learning and team building sessions.

 At the start of the conference, the delegates were put into pre-selected teams based on the results of their Myers-Briggs personality test in which they worked for the duration of the conference on a project that they would have to present to their peer group on the Thursday. Teams also participated in team building activities which helped the delegates to bond and help each other.

 During the conference, delegates had an opportunity to hear from some of the best of the best within our community. It was pleasing to see that many delegates were inspired by each presenter and were able to relate to the experiences that were recounted.

 To provide an overview of unique regional make up that isWellington, presentations were also given by representatives of the 4 main community groups. The final session was a presentation from Kai Luey that charted the progress of the NZ Chinese Association from its inception through to the new initiatives that it’s currently undertaking.

 On the last night, delegates swapped their shorts and tee shirts for shirts, ties and dresses for a bus trip intoWellingtonwhere they attended a reception at the Chinese Embassy hosted by the Ambassador. At the conclusion of the reception, the delegates were treated to a surprise trip up to theMountVictorialookout where the out of towners could seeWellingtonat her best!

 In conclusion, the 2nd NZCA Leadership & Development Conference was an awesome opportunity for people of like-minds to meet and network and talk about their experiences growing up Chinese within a multi-culturalNew Zealand.

 The conference gave each delegate an insight into how their cultural identity allowed each of them to live as their own person, not just within their own community, but also amongst others.

          Justine Kohing / Richard Ng

         EXTRACTS FROM REPORT ON THE 2009 LEADERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE to the NZCA Executive Committee Meeting in March 2009

44 delegates, 5 days, leadership, cultural bonding – elements of a great Conference. Held at Willow Park Convention Centre from the 1st – 6th of February, the conference featured distinguished speakers from all walks of life. Leadership, cultural and group activities were all key aspects in the success of the week.

The aim of the conference again centered around the key values of Leadership, Culture and Identity. This was a winning formula in past LDC’s and are key issues the Chinese community needs to address. It proved to be a successful foundation once again and should be for future LDC’s.

The structure of the programme was also based on previous LDC’s which consisted of a 5 day programme with a cultural opening ceremony (Lion Dance and Wu Shu), Myers Briggs personality assessment, influential and successful Chinese speakers, cultural activities, leadership activities, forums, sports and a final dinner. Each day was broken down with speakers in the morning; physical activity in the afternoon which consisted of sports, leadership activities, and Chinese folk dance; with forums and project time in the evening.

The Myers-Briggs personality assessment once again was a “hit” with delegates as it gave insight into the different personality types and how to deal with others in group environments. The assessment is also used to form “ideal” project groups that delegates would be in for the duration of the conference. This year’s project required delegates to come up with an idea that would benefit the Chinese community with each team pitching to a mock “dragon’s den” on the final day with interest from NZCA, Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust and TVNZ.

With the advantage of hind sight, this year’s speaker line-up drew very positive feedback. According to the feedback forms most speakers were rated highly, with the lowest average score being 2.9 (on a scale of 1 - 4, 4 being the highest). It was evident the delegates found speakers to be inspirational, influential and important role models/leaders in their respective fields.

The Chinese folk dances elicited overwhelming positive feedback. Delegates this year made comment that the Chinese folk dances was one of the activities that really helped gel everyone together. It also gave them an opportunity to bond with delegates outside of their project teams and appreciate a part of their heritage that normally they would not have engaged in.

Forums were another highlight of the conference. Topical issues on identity andChina’s rising status in the world were raised, with delegates driving the sessions with great enthusiasm. The forums proved to be an effective vehicle to generate discussion which carried on well after.  Many opinions were voiced, perspectives were challenged.

A final dinner was held where parents, NZCA members and sponsors could come and experience a part of the energy and enthusiasm of the LDC. The evening included an inspirational key note speaker, an award ceremony where certificates were handed out to the delegates by the Deputy Consulate General and Chinese folk dances, learnt during the week, were performed by delegates.

Overall this has been a great journey for the Organising Committee and the delegates. Response has been heartfelt. Most, if not all delegates have had life changing experiences and have developed greatly due to the conference. Delegates are now more conscious of the needs of the Chinese community and have already shown interest in getting involved. So far many of the planned activities by the delegates have been social (including recording and producing their own LDC song!). With direction, the momentum and energy from the LDC could be extremely beneficial to both NZCA and the Chinese community and above all, lifelong friendships and networks have been forged.

Justin Yang / Michael Ng


to the NZCA Conference in June 2010

Since 2007, the Leadership Development Conference has been a featured event on the NZ Chinese Association Calendar. In January 2010, the Wellington branch hosted the 4th annual NZCA Leadership & Development Conference, the sub theme for the conference was “Homegrown” where delegates were given an opportunity to hear from speakers who were either born, raised or educated in New Zealand, that have gone on to make their mark on the National or International stage in either their professional or in their personal lives. This sub theme, coupled with that of the main objective of the conference which was to see and hear how delegates viewed their identity in their everyday personal and professional lives.

 As per the first conference thatWellingtonbranch hosted in 2008, the 2010 conference was set in the beautiful Akatarawa valley inUpper Hutt, where there was absolutely no mobile phone coverage. There were 33 delegates aged between 18 and 31 years old  in attendance this year including those from smaller Branches such as Manawatu,Waikatoand Taranaki. There were 24 males and 9 females, 22 of the delegates were tertiary students, 4 of the delegates have had siblings attend previous LDCs, two sets of siblings also attended.

 In addition to the speaker sessions that are scheduled throughout the conference week, part of the LDC curriculum is to offer delegates team building activities. This year, delegates took part in completing a team building challenge that consisted of completing a number of tasks (confidence course, blind obstacle course

and computer challenges) within a specific time period. These activities always go down well and tends to ensure that teams work together to complete the challenges. After dinner activities included two evening forums where delegates entered into lively debates around what it means to be Chinese in NZ today.

 Alumni of past NZCA LDCs were invited to attend a dinner with this year’s intake on one of the nights. This dinner was a good opportunity for past / present attendees to mix and mingle, compare stories.

A dinner with the Ambassador on the last night of conference now seems to have become a tradition when the NZCA LDC is held inWellington. Delegates, facilitators and members of theWellingtonbranch were invited to attend a dinner at the Embassy of thePeoplesRepublicofChinaon the Thursday night. Delegates and facilitators swapped their shorts and tee shirts for dresses and shirts for a bus ride into town to dine with the Ambassador. After dinner, a trip up MtVictorialistening to the strains of AC/DC as they wafted over the harbour, a photo opportunity was not to be missed!

 In summary, the extended organising team believe this year’s conference a success. For us, it was a pleasure to have such an entertaining group of attendees that bonded really well in such a short period of time. This environment provided an opportunity for people of like-minds to meet and network and talk about their experiences growing up Chinese within a multi-culturalNew Zealand.

 Once again, one of the positive outcomes of this initiative has been the enthusiasm that the NZCA  LDC has fuelled amongst this year’s delegates to get more involved in branch and NZCA initiatives. It was noted that a lot of delegates that knew nothing about previous Easter tournaments had booked their flights to attend the Easter tournament at the conclusion of the conference. One delegate who was moving toSydneythe week after the conference concluded, booked his flights just to attend the tournament.

 Overall, we had a great time organising this project and we’re really pleased with the support and feedback that we’ve received from the extended Chinese community. We had a fantastic time, we’ve learnt a lot about each other and ourselves and how we function on a few hours of sleep each night in the months leading up to and during the conference. It was an honour that Jonathan Ling make time in his schedule to speak at the conference.

 Justine Kohing /  Laura Ng      



 The fifth NZCA LDC was hosted by the Auckland Branch at Willow Park Convention Centre atEasternBeach.

 There was an overwhelming number of applications received by the Organising Committee. Over 48 applications were received up to the application due date. This ultimately meant a selection criteria were applied due to capacity of the venue. Various factors such as age, gender, domicile and personal background were considered and it was by no means an easy task for the Committee. The first list of 48 applicants were notified and the remaining were placed on a waiting list. Applications and expressions of interest were still coming through in January.  We had 4 participants pull out the week before the conference; these were for work commitments and sickness.  At the end, 44 delegates completed the programme representing Waikato(5), Taranaki(2), Manawatu(1),Wellington(1),Canterbury(1), Otago Southland(1) andAuckland(33). Though disappointing that capacity was not fulfilled and applicants on the waiting list missed out, the mitigating circumstances were beyond the control of the Committee.

 A diverse and robust programme for the week was in place for LDC 2011. A fine balance was struck between speaker sessions, cultural activities, sports, forum discussions and the group project. This enabled ample opportunity for delegates to interact with as many delegates as possible, starting from day one with the ice breakers continuing throughout the week with the group project, sports teams and dance teams.

 The high calibre of speakers was again high and it was no surprise that Andrew Young and James Liu maintained their popularity. Their topics continue to resonate with delegates and are as relevant today as they have been at previous LDCs. However it was the dynamism and brutal honesty of Mai Chen which commanded the delegates’ attention. Mai’s talk was one which gave a personal account of her journey; whilst at times polarising, this contributed to the session’s high degree of effectiveness. This was a talk which continues to be the topic of discussion after the LDC as Mai delivered many pieces of pertinent advice.

 With the fundamentals of previous LDC programmes in place, Albert King was introduced as the action learning facilitator. A lifecoach who specialises in teambuilding for corporates, Albert brought this strong component to LDC 2011. Being onsite for the whole week and facilitating a number of interactive sessions on teamwork and communication, his presence was invaluable to the delegates as well as the Committee. The Committee are eternally grateful for his personal contribution – it has without a doubt taken the LDC programme to a whole new level.

 The final dinner ceremony was again a showcase evening, hosting Madame Liao, Consul General PRC, LDC alumni, friends and family. Entertainment was provided by comedianRaybonKanand the delegates who performed traditional Chinese dances – the culmination of no more than 3hours formal training during the week.

 Strong momentum is being gathered after each successful LDC. This is especially so given the ability of LDC to mobilise a large group of young people who are interested and engaged, regardless of their prior involvement in the Chinese community. To harness this momentum, energy and skills of the delegates, the NZCA Auckland branch recommends holding the NZCA Leadership and Development Conference inAucklandevery 2 years. The merits and rationale for this should form part of a wider discussion on the direction of LDC at Annual Conference.

 Raymond Kwok / Natalie Sew Hoy


LDC 2012 was based atMasseyUniversity’s Sport & Rugby Institute in Palmerston North.  The venue and program differed markedly from previous LDC with more self-directed learning and a higher standard of accommodation. However,  the core elements of the program, designed around an “executive-style residential conference”, retained its focus on the key competencies of leadership as the foundation for personal growth.

 The program was designed & delivered by 8 experienced past attendees,  acting as facilitators, and a very experienced NZCA Manawatu branch organising committee.

The organising committee was pleased with the support from branches with a total of 25 delegates coming fromAuckland(13), Manawatu (7) andWaikato, Hawkes Bay & Wellington (1 each).

 The program of speakers followed the daily Leadership themes of:

·        Self discovery (Self awareness & Creating a vision)

·        Physical & mental capability (Managing teams & Decision-making)

·        Business & ethics (Leading people & Respecting individual differences)

·        Cultural History (Being Culturally adaptive)


Cultural: a daily wake up Tai Chi session got the blood circulating and eased everyone into the day. At the end of each day the guys learnt a dragon dance routine taught by Richmond Thackery and the ladies a lantern dance taught by Ruby Gang and Lin Zhou.

Physical: the Footprints team building exercise (planned quad-biking was cancelled due muddy tracks & forecast heavy rain) was conducted on sit. Learning games with titles like “Icebergs”, “Red/Blue” and “The Minefield”

Team Project: The 4 teams competed in a Dragon’s den presentation that required the participants to write, justify & act out their TV advertisement based on the topic: “How do we get young people into NZCA?”  There were some very innovative acts and a lot of delegates outside of their comfort-zone.

Community Engagement:

Although all activities were based atMasseyUniversity, on two occasions the conference moved into the community:

·        Night in The Square in Palmerston North, to view the light show around the city clock tower and

·        For many a highlight was their involvement in preparing and roasting a whole pig in a traditional Chinese wood-fired earth oven on a local market garden. This was followed by a Chinese buffet dinner hosted by the Manawatu branch with delegate friends and family invited. This was followed by their dragon and lantern dances which were superb, given they had only 4 hours of practice. Over 110 people attended this evening, held at the Manawatu Chinese hall.


The organising committee had an enjoyable experience hosting LDC-2012, the feedback from delegates has been very positive and as part of the program there is a follow up letter to delegates after six months.

Our goal was to “enrich their outlook on life both personally and professionally”. I am satisfied that LDC-2012 has made a positive impact on the delegates and facilitators, and our preliminary survey results from delegates have shown a very positive overall satisfaction rating for the conference.

 Rodney Wong / Lee Lowe


    In December 2011, NZCA Auckland established the inaugural Youth Leadership Camp (YLC), held atCampAdairin Hunua, southAuckland. The purpose of the YLC was to cultivate the leadership and cultural aspirations of the college aged youth within the Chinese community. Following on from the successful Leadership Development Conferences (LDC) and under the guidance of former NZCA past president Kai Luey it was considered important that we reach out to the younger college aged students and encourage them to attend a three day programme which covered physical, social and motivational interaction.

    Both the LDC and YLC concepts were modelled from the Rotary programmes being RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) and RYPEN (Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment). The objective was to encourage college aged youth to become aware of their leadership, team and motivational skills and also learn about aspects of their Chinese culture and community.

    YLC was considered a launching base to other initiatives provided by NZCA including LDC, Future Dragonz and Winter Camp. During the December 2011 camp the organizing committee were fortunate to acquire the time and skills of Mr Albert King – a motivation and life coach (based inSingapore) who facilitated the three day programme. Over 40 young students attended the camp and the feedback was very positive with comments requesting the duration to be extended to four days. Key cultural activities included Chinese calligraphy and cultural dance and exposure to profile Chinese community leaders including Mayor of Gisborne Meng Foon, film director Roseanne Liang and Global Marketing Manager Les Mills Andrew Young.

    The camp is intended to be run every two years and will continue to encourage all NZCA branches to enroll their young students to attend. 
















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The birth of NZCA Youth Leadership Development Conferences

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