Saturday, October 13, 2012

Farewell to Nancy Goddard (1923-2012) Nancy Goddard It is with deep sorrow that we note the passing of Nancy Goddard in Palmerston North on 10 September. Nancy was received at the Ngati Poneke Pipitea Marae in Wellington followed by a funeral service at Karori Cemetery. NZCFS members attended the funeral and Mary Gray spoke on behalf of the Society. Below is the eulogy given by Nancy’s brother Frank Kwok. The Kwok ancestral village is Bak Shek (Baishi) Guangzhou in China. Mother (Chung Fung Kwai) and Father William Kwok (Kwok Kee Yee) had 10 children (9 girls and 1 boy). Born in Wellington in 1923, Nancy Wai-Lan Kwok was their 3rd eldest daughter and the first to be born in New Zealand. Nancy was educated at Mt. Cook School, Wellington East Girls College where she was Head Prefect in her final year, and Victoria University in Wellington. She was an accomplished pianist, and often played the organ in the Chinese Church. She also had a beautiful voice and sang at many church weddings. At Victoria University, Nancy met George Goddard, a Trade Union leader who introduced her to the modern history of China and the revolution which was under way there. George & Nancy married in 1944 and had 3 sons (Lee, Ben & Danny). They became very active in the protest movements aligned to justice and peace, anti-racism, a nuclear free New Zealand and Maori rights. Together they helped found the New Zealand China Friendship Society in the 1950s. Nancy & George worked tirelessly for the ongoing business of the NZCFS and for many years Nancy was Secretary of both the Wellington Branch and the National Executive of the Society. These early years were difficult for many local and recent Chinese immigrants since any sympathetic connection with socialist/trade union movements were suspected by the NZ Government to be communist fronts. Therefore membership of the NZCFS was suspected as another indication of infiltration of communism. NZ & China were allies in the Second World War but were now enemies since NZ troops were engaged in fighting Chinese soldiers who were allied to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in 1950. During this period, few Chinese formally joined the NZCFS, particularly recent Chinese immigrants whose New Zealand immigration status would be jeopardised. However, many Chinese risked attendances at meetings, being shielded by members like Nancy & George. Older members of the Society will well remember these loyal members many of whom are still with us in our various branches today. Nancy’s efforts were finally vindicated when the NZ Government officially recognized the Peoples Republic of China in 1972. At the same time Nancy applied her interest in education towards the development of the early childhood sector through the play centre movement. Nancy also did voluntary work at the Wellington District Court helping young people in trouble particularly Maori. This and the interest of her husband and son Danny in their Maori culture led her to join the Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club where during her involvement over 15 years, she became a Kaumatua (elder). Over the years, Nancy has been deservedly honoured by many awards: 1987 City of Wellington Civic Award for outstanding voluntary service presented by Mayor Jim Belich. 1993 Nancy was recognized by the NZCFS for outstanding distinguished services. 1997 The Queen acting on the advice of the NZ Government made her a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (CNZM) for community services – presented by Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boys. 2002 Nancy Goddard was made a Life Member of the New Zealand China Friendship Society. 2003 On her 80th Birthday she was recognized by the Chinese Government with the honorary title of Friendship Ambassador for outstanding contribution to Sino-NZ friendship. This was presented at a special reception by Chen Haosu, President of the Chinese Peoples Friendship Association for Friendship with foreign countries. Nancy was also a life member of the Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club. Nancy is acknowledged for building support for China in New Zealand, and building a relationship with the local Maori people: a woman well ahead of her time who just kept working for what she always believed to be right.

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