Roots must be nurtured
Identity is very important to Richard Leung. It’s the reason why he puts so much time into promoting his culture.
Receiving a Kiwi Bank Local Heroes award was a humbling experience, he says.
He’s the chairman of the New Zealand Chinese Association Auckland branch as well as the association’s national vice president and a trustee of the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust.
‘‘You’ve got to know where you come from,’’ he says.
‘‘Our association helps people keep their Chinese identity while also being New Zealanders.’’
The One Tree Hill resident is the committee chairman for the NZCA Easter Sports Tournament.
The event has been rotated around the four main centres for the past 66 years. Leung has been a participant since he was 15.
‘‘I play with guys I’ve com- peted against right through the age grades. You just renew the old battles you used to have when you were younger.’’
The tournaments have been a great community building block, the 47-yearold says.
‘‘A lot of people meet their life partners there. Some families are up to their third or fourth generation of attending.’’
One of his aims is to educate new migrants about the long history the Chinese have had in New Zealand.
Leung organised an NZCA event to mark the 75th anniversary of Chinese refugees in New Zealand on October 12.
‘‘I had a lot of people come up to me during the day and said they hadn’t heard these stories from their parents.
‘‘I suppose it would’ve been too raw for them to talk about up till then.’’
NZCA also runs a Leadership Development Conference.
It’s a five-day event for Chinese New Zealanders aged 18 to 30 and there’s also a weekend camp for senior high school students.
It’s about providing inspiration, Leung says.
‘‘A lot of these kids are second and third generation New Zealanders so they are losing their connection with their identity. This helps draw them back,’’ he says.
Strong links: Richard Leung is passionate about keeping young people connected to their Chinese roots.