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A Hundred Thousand Blessings

May a hundred thousand blessings fall upon your house O China,
May they fall like the small drops that spatter the dust,
When, after long drought, the land lies warm and waiting.
May they alight on your rooftops like the quiet doves of peace,
Gliding down through the air as softly as the autumn poplar leaves
And may these blessings be all around you in all your paths, you and
    your children forever.

The poem [above] was spoken at Canton by the New Zealand poet R.A.K. Mason as a farewell at the end of his recent visit to China. It is based on an ancient Celtic saying.

—People’s Voice, 18 December 1957, p.8

R.A.K. Mason and Dorothea at Peking railway station, 1957. Mason at the time was chairman of the New Zealand-China Friendship Association. Photo:Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago Library.

Holograph of “A Hundred Thousand Blessings”, written on letterhead paper from the Aichun Hotel, Canton. Image: Ben Plumbly.

Mason and Dorothea pictured with China hand and poet Rewi Alley (far left)  at Western Hills outside Beijing, October 1957. Far right is the film maker and actress Ramai Hayward. Photo: Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago Library

People's market, Beijing
R.A.K. Mason trying on a sheepskin coat in the people's market, Beijing, October 1957. With him is Ramai Hayward in a scene from her film Inside Red China. Photo: Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago Library

R.A.K. Mason (far right) and Dorothea (front left) in another still shot from Inside Red China, launched on DVD in 2014.



THE DEATH OF R. A. K. MASON AT HIS HOME IN TAKAPUNA. Auckland. on July 13th was a loss to the people of N.Z., including the members of the N.Z.-China Society. We feel his loss as a people's poet, and a good friend who promoted understanding and friendship between the N.Z. and Chinese peoples. In the 50's, Ron, as Dominion President of the NZ.- China Society, worked tremendously in breaking the barriers erected by hostile governments on New Zealanders from finding out about the progress and development in the People’s Republic of China, a real socialist country. In 1957, R. A. K. Mason led a N.Z.-China Society delegation to visit China. Members of his delegation made a number of colour movie films in China that are still widely shown in many countries around the world. Ron was so impressed with the dynamic Chinese socialist society that he wrote a tribute in verse before his return home. Many of Ron’s hopes are coming to fruition since China is now taking her rightful place in the Pacific and in the world.

We personally are profoundly grateful for Ron Mason’s efiorts in helping to keep alive N.Z.-China friendship in the period of vilification and ignorance of this great civilisation. We presume that now, since the U.S.A. has discovered the People’s Republic of China, New Zealand will not be far behind, and our Society will become accepted as are the other cultural and friendship societies. Finally, we say that in the future, R. A. K. Mason’s contribution to N.Z.-Chinese understanding will take its place together with his other worthwhile contributions to people in this land of ours.

We salute Ron Mason! We will learn from his fine example!

*Statement read at the Otago University Valedictory to R. A. K. Mason, held at Otago University on Tuesday, July 27th, 1971.

New Zealand Monthly Review: September 1971