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Origin

In 1991, Dr. Lien and his wife decided to immigrate from Tainan to New Zealand with their children.  Before their departure, they made a pledge to Master Cheng Yen that they will sow the seed of Great Love in New Zealand.

On arrival, they started to promote Tzu Chi's missions locally, holding 3~4 tea parties at Lin Mei Tzi's house, organizing flower arrangement classes and cooking demonstrations at the Lieu's family.  At one time, Lin Ya Mei made a special trip here to explain to participants at the tea party the origin of Tzu Chi and the 4 missions of Charity, Medicine, Education and Culture.  A number of Chinese immigrants were touched by the great works of "Compassion for the poor."

In 1992, when Mrs Lien returned to Taiwan, she reported to the Master that 100 copies of "Still Thoughts" books were printed in English and distributed to Auckland regional libraries and Tzu Chi newsletters were also delivered to local Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in Howick, where Tzu Chi people had a performance.  The proceeds all went to Tzu Chi's International Relief fund.

In 1994, Chen Mei Yu, Taipei’s Committee member immigrated to New Zealand with her family.  Not long after, her very close friend Li Shin Yu came to visit her and introduced a number of Tzu Chi friends to her in New Zealand and started to promote Tzu Chi's teachings here. 
 

The First Steps

In 1995, when Vice President of Taiwan Tzu Chi Mr. Wong Tuan Cheng came to visit his son who was studying here, he began to attend more tea parties held by members and further elaborate the teachings of our Master and encouraged all members to participate in all the activities.  In the same year, while Mr. Sung Du Jih was touring New Zealand, he was so attracted by the beautiful scenery that he bought a house and donated it to Tzu Chi for the promotion of Tzu Chi activities in Auckland.

When Mei Yu and other local members returned to Hualien Taiwan to report to the Master, they obtained her consent to carry on the good job in New Zealand, and so, together with Mei Lien, Mei Chu and their families, they came back to New Zealand and started to proceed to have Tzu Chi incorporated in New Zealand.

In 1997, Taiwan Buddhist Compassion Relief Foundation Language Centre and Tzu Chi people joined together to fundraise for Glendowie College to set up an Asian College.  A total of more than 200 people, including MPs, Board of Directors, the Principal and parents attended the opening ceremony.

Li Bee Han donated NZ$3,000 to Tzu Chi after being reimbursed by ACC for her very serious accident incurred in the same year.

Also in 1997, Tzu Chi helped Somerville College to raise NZ$15,000 in less than 1 week for the urgent supply of computer resources.  This established a good relationship between the two parties and when Tzu Chi needed extra classrooms for its expanding Chinese class, Somerville College was more than happy to let Tzu Chi use their classrooms during the weekend for the purpose.

At the end of 1998, Tsai Mei Chu set up the first sign language class, which is the unique culture of Tzu Chi, the book club for reading and cooking courses to further promote the Tzu Chi spirit in New Zealand.

In 1999, Tzu Chi people in New Zealand joined in street appeal for relief fund for the 921 Earthquake victims in Taiwan.  Here they showed their belief of : Great Mercy even to Strangers, Great Compassion for all.

After 5 years of hard work in Auckland and Hamilton, fundraising for different associations, making donations, caring and visiting older people in resthomes, volunteering at children's hospital, environmental protection etc., the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, New Zealand branch, was founded on April 1, 2002, in Auckland, with Mr. Sung nominated as the CEO of the branch.

On the day of the inauguration, 500 guests came from Taiwan, Australia to celebrate, including the New Zealand Prime Minister who commented that he supported the Tzu Chi Foundation in pursuing peace for the world; New Zealand Taipei Commission of Foreign Trade (?) specially recommended the Tzu Chi website to the guests so that people overseas could still 'listen' to the Master.  MP Pansy Wong also commented that the sign language was very beautiful and tranquil.

The Master's lay mother Madam Wong also flew to New Zealand purposely to bless all Tzu Chi members.  Visiting commission members from Taiwan and Australia, together with 30 new volunteers shared their experiences and attended the seminar on April 2 held in Hamilton.  One volunteer donated NT$180,000.- on the spot for the purchase of emergency pushcars for children in the hospital, making the inaugural ceremony a specially memorable one.

In 2001, we moved from Mr. Sung's residence to the 2nd floor of a more commercial complex, where Mr. Tse kindly rented it to Tzu Chi for NZ$1 per month in support of their good deed.

On October 10, 2002, Mr. George Chan from Hong Kong was very touched and moved at the Tzu Chi's 2nd Anniversary night and donated not only money, but also a van for transport.

In 2003, due to the growing number of members and increasing activities, Tzu Chi started to look for a
permanent address and finally with the consent from the Master, we purchased this building on loan terms here at No. 9 Springs Road, which is an easily accessible place, only a short distance away from the motorway exit.

Eventually, on October 9, 2004, at the 5th Anniversary of Tzu Chi, the new premise was also officially opened to all, where we wish that Great Love will spread to everyone from here.