25th Anniversary Weekend
Just over 30 years ago in the early 1970’s a group of dedicated, determined, farsighted people within the Wellington Chinese community had a vision of building a facility that would cater for the social, sporting, and cultural needs of the growing Chinese community.
At that time the only Chinese community facilities available were either the Tung Jung Association rooms in Frederick St, the Seyip Association in Vivian St, Poon Fah Association also in Vivian St, the Chinese Anglican Church in Taranaki St, or the Chinese Baptist Church in Adelaide Rd. None of these ‘community-owned’ buildings were suitable or capable of providing for or meeting the increasing sporting and social needs of a growing and younger Chinese community at the time.
Through the determination, hard work, dedication and efforts by this farsighted group of people - their vision become a reality in May 1977 with the official opening of the Centre buildings.
Today, 25 years later, several generations of our Chinese community have enjoyed the social, sporting, cultural and educational benefits of the existence of the Wellington Chinese Sports & Cultural Centre facilities.
Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2002, was a weekend filled with activities to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, the 25th Anniversary, of the official opening of our Centre.
A Silver Jubilee sub committee convened by our vice-president Victor Wu was set up late in 2001 to plan and organize the Centre’s celebrations of this historic occasion.
The Silver Jubilee celebrations were held concurrently with the usual annual Queen’s Birthday Basketball Tournament, which meant not only did our Wellington-based members participate and take part in celebrations and sporting activities over the long weekend but also longstanding friends and members from all over New Zealand could participate and join with us in our celebrations and tournament at the same time.
We were delighted with the positive response and support we received at our ‘mix ‘n mingle’ Cocktails Evening on the Friday evening when upwards of 100 people shared memories and stories as they viewed the huge collection of photos collated and displayed by Kay Wong and her group of helpers, and the continuous showing of videos taken long ago of functions, weddings, birthdays, fundraising activities, and sports occasions held at the Centre or involving Centre members over the years were not only entertaining, but also reminders of the hard work and at the same time the fun and enjoyment many of us had in working and achieving together. Thank you Gordon Wu for your work and contribution in putting these video records of the Centre’s past activities together.
Many people who arrived for the Cocktails function on the Friday night, as were the 460 guests who arrived for the Family Buffet Dinner and dance on the Saturday, were surprised and amazed to see the stadium area had been transformed into a giant marquee with a huge stage area, measuring at least 6m by 5m, for the children’s cultural performances. This was the first time ever that this form of elaborate decoration had been attempted on this scale in our Centre. We gratefully acknowledge the generous gesture of Colin Taylor of TSL-Hiremaster for his generosity and support for the Centre in providing and installing the marquee for us as his contribution to help us celebrate in style. Colin Taylor, and TSL – Hiremaster, have supported and supplied the Centre with catering equipment for nearly 30 years. The coloured lanterns and electronic fireworks installed by Graham Young and his team of decorators certainly gave a festive atmosphere to the stadium over those two nights.
At the Saturday night Family Buffet Dinner, the enthusiastic and wonderful cultural performances by our Lion Dance Troupe and Chinese Dance groups with their Lion Dancing to throbbing beating drums, and the perfectly timed Hat Dance, and Lantern Dances by our younger members from the Yau Yih Yun and Dance Groups also drew sustained applause and approval from everyone present.
Everyone, from Mayor Kerry Prendergast, MP Pansy Wong, Ambassador Chen Ming-Ming, Director Joseph Shih, and their staffs from the Embassy and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office were most appreciative and impressed by the efforts our younger parents and their children are making in maintaining and promoting our Chinese culture in our community.
Another first was the fact that it was the first time in our 25 years that an outside caterer had been allowed to use our Centre kitchen to serve food at a function held at the Centre.
It was certainly a real change for many members to have been able to enjoy a function at the Centre without having to cook, wait on tables, clean and wash-up. Even though we did have to set up the tables and plan for the table bookings and reservations.
After dinner the older generation had their turn to party and dance to the ‘Razzle Dazzle Dance Band’ of Frances and Darryl Porteous. The dancing demonstrations by Alex and Jenny, Cook Strait Line Dancers, and a special request to NZ Senior Latin American Tango champions Rosemary Cha and her partner Daniel to demonstrate their tango routine were some of the highlights of the evening’s celebrations.
The Generation Games organized by Eric Sue were held on the Sunday afternoon, people who took part were divided into teams to participate in specially modified versions of table tennis, golf putting, indoor bowls, basketball free throw shooting, and indoor netball. The rules and adapted formats enabled mixed teams and ages to participate on an equal footing basis and were certainly enjoyed by everyone who took part. As usual, controversial decisions of score keeping and umpiring are still being debated.
On the Sunday night, the King Wah Restaurant was filled to near capacity for the Chinese Dinner – it was very pleasing to see many people who were unable to attend other weekend activities present at this dinner. The opportunity was taken by many members to renew friendships and talk over old times. The karaoke facilities at the restaurant even encouraged several people to attempt singing some old time songs in Chinese! Even after all the intermingling during the evening did not stop the intrepid few from continuing to talk and catch up at the Courtenay Centre after they left the restaurant.
Monday morning’s weather was very favourable for the 40 participants in the planned 5km scenic walk along part of the Southern Walkway behind the Centre. The planned walking route organized by Linda and Dennis Young went through areas behind the zoo, across Melrose Park, behind the Wellington Workingmen’s Club Bowling greens before exiting at Coromandel Street. Past the old St Helens Maternity Hospital to Constable Street, then down to Riddiford Street through to the Rhodes St roundabout before commencing on the steady inclined walk up Russell Tce back to the Centre. Some people even found their own interesting alternative routes - different from the map they were given. Most of the walkers though, thoroughly enjoyed the invigorating leisurely walk not only to work off some of the extra calories stored away through the previous two night’s of eating but also seeing the fabulous sights of Wellington from a different perspective, and the chance to revisit parts of Newtown they had not seen for some time bringing back nostalgic memories.
Awaiting the 40 walkers and another 60 members and friends at midday was the Barbecue Lunch of sirloin steak, specialty sausages, meat patties, salads, and desserts prepared by our own members. This lunch was cooked on the balcony and served from the Members’ Lounge was a very enjoyable ending for a weekend of celebrations.
Thanks go to everyone who helped in the planning and organization of the weekend’s celebrations, and to everyone who joined us and participated in helping us celebrate our 25th Anniversary – our Silver Jubilee of the opening of our Centre.