A small country of big achievers

For a country of four million people, it is remarkable that many New Zealanders have made their mark and spread their influence around the world.

A recent article in the Listener profiled seven Kiwis who have made it big in different parts of the globe.

All of them are amazing success stories and are now seen as leaders in their various career paths.

But this is not of a recent occurrence, New Zealanders have been putting their stamp on the world for generations.

Recently, I was privileged to meet one such person at the ‘Establishment of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation’ in Auckland.

Ms Isobel Easton Thompson is 90-years-old and worked as nurse in China from 1947-1950. She went to China with the New Zealand Foundation CORSO and worked for the Chinese Welfare Fund, which was headed by Madam Soong Ching Ling (aka Mme Sun Yatsen).

Madam Ling (1893-1981) is recognised as one of the most influential people of the 20th Century for her contribution and dedication to world peace, socialist causes and global development. Prior to her death in 1981, she was awarded the title of ‘Honorary President of Peoples Republic of China.’

Ms Thompson worked closely with Madam Ling during her time in China and detailed her experiences in, Yellow River, Mules and Mountains: A New Zealand nurse in China 1947-1950. The Book gives a fascinating insight into a western nurse living in China during an interesting phase of the country’s history.

Ms Thompson is a member of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation of Shanghai.

She was proud to be on hand as the New Zealand branch was officially recognised.

Madam Ling once said, “Many things could wait but work for children could not.”

The Soong Ching Ling Foundation will continue her life’s work and ensure that her legacy lives on for generations to come.

Raymond Huo is a Member of Parliament on Labour’s List and is the Party’s Spokesperson for Chinese Community Affairs, Statistics and Law Commission. He is seen here with Isobel Thompson.


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