Life of Rewi Al­ley on show

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

Taupo¯ Mu­seum’s new­est dis­play is an ex­hi­bi­tion on New Zealand­born writer and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Rewi Al­ley and his time in China.

Al­ley was born in Spring­field in Can­ter­bury in 1897 and chris­tened Rewi, af­ter Rewi Ma­niapoto, a Nga¯ti Ma­niapoto leader. Spend­ing his for­ma­tive years in New Zealand, he at­tended Christchurch Boys’ High School be­fore vol­un­teer­ing for mil­i­tary ser­vice. He was wounded in France and awarded the Mil­i­tary Medal for brav­ery and devo­tion to duty un­der fire.

Upon re­turn­ing to New Zealand, he cleared and farmed an area in Moeawa­tea, near Waver­ley, in Taranaki for six years. Fol­low­ing this short farm­ing stint, out of cu­rios­ity he de­cided to visit China to “go and have a look at the Chi­nese revo­lu­tion”. China ef­fec­tively be­came his home for the rest of his life.

This pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion fol­lows Rewi’s move to China in 1927 and in­cludes his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Gung Ho (Work To­gether) move­ment, to be­ing recog­nised for this ser­vice in New Zealand where he was made a Com­pan­ion of the Queen’s Ser­vice Or­der for com­mu­nity ser­vice in 1985 by Prime Min­is­ter David Lange.

His jour­ney in­cluded com­ing to the aid of Chi­nese work­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­vere job ex­ploita­tion, open­ing a school and re-in­tro­duc­ing sol­diers back into work af­ter con­flicts.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is on at Taupo¯ Mu­seum un­til Novem­ber 11.

Photo / Lau­rilee McMichael

An ex­hi­bi­tion on the life and times of Rewi Al­ley, New Zealand-born writer and ac­tivist is on now at Taupo¯ Mu­seum.

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