Rewi Alley (1897-1987) is an enigmatic figure in New Zealand literature and history. Although celebrated as an iconic New Zealander, he spent sixty of his ninety years in China and was a staunch ally of the Chinese Communist party, becoming a “foreign friend” who did a great deal to publicise the Party line around the world. Although he produced a very large amount of poetry and non-fiction over his lifetime, his writing has never been highly acclaimed, and he has admitted himself that writing was completely marginal to his involvements with China and the Chinese Communist Party. Alley’s significance lies in the sheer volume of published work he produced and his mythic status as “Rewi Alley of China”.

Alley was born at Springfield near Christchurch in 1897, to Frederick James

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Citation: Smithies, James. "Rewi Alley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 January 2007 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

88 Rewi Alley 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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