Above: Raymond Huo with Isobel Thompson at the launch of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation of NZ.
For a country of four million people it is remarkable how 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 had amazing success stories and are now seen as leaders in their various career paths.
But this isn’t a recent occurrence, New Zealanders have been putting their stamp on the world for generations and 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 Soong Ching Ling (1893-1981) has been 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 and before her death in 1981 she was awarded the title of Honorary President of Peoples Republic of China.
Ms Thompson worked closely with Madam Soong Ching Ling during her time in China and detailed her experiences in the book, Yellow River, Mules and Mountains: A New Zealand nurse in China 1947-1950, which 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 and was proud to be on hand as the New Zealand branch was officially recognised.
Madam Soong Ching 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.