GWNZ Fellowship 2022-2023

Hua Dai

My name is Hua Dai, born in May 1966 in China. I obtained a BA with merit in English Language and Literature as a top 2% student of the year in 1985- 1989. On graduation, I became an Associate Lecturer of English in a university in China for six years. During which, I was “Excellent Teacher of the Year” for five consecutive years and my class’ pass rate reached 100% in the Chinese Nationwide Certified Grade 4 English Exam-a benchmark for all English teachers and students across the country. After the teaching post, I worked in the government as a foreign investment officer in ZhengZhou Municipal Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Bureau before leaving China to do my Masters’ in Applied Linguistics at Sydney University where I obtained MA with merit in 2000 and started my PhD in Applied Linguistics while teaching part-time at the Department of Language Studies till I moved to NZ in Feb 2001 to accept a scholarship to continue my PhD at Auckland University.  

I taught ESOL in Auckland from Feb 2001 while studying part-time towards completing my PhD. Yet my life was in great danger by then. The Chinese man I was manipulated to marry a year before, while holidaying in China from Sydney, after I divorced the husband who had betrayed me while on business overseas was becoming more controlling and demanding. He had stalked me for over 10 years after reading one of my poems published in the national newspaper as a year two university student and got obsessed with marrying me. After I had constantly said “no”, and married and had my son, he continued to stalk me for the next ten years. When I divorced, within a month I was manipulated to marry when I was not awakened and under pressure from my mother to marry him because he was interested in marrying me-a divorced woman with a beautiful child, my son Wonder. When my worth was not acknowledged by my own mother and I was never taught to trust my own judgement nor to make my own decisions growing up in China, after the divorce, I was like a child lost in the world indifferent to what I know and believe within myself. I did not trust my knowing either. I was expected to do as told even though I knew clearly the man was a liar and a cunning sort. I dragged this marriage along to Sydney then New Zealand, trying my best to look after the man and my son while still trying to engage with my research. It was not meant to be like that. In early Sept 2002, the man took out a murderous attack on me and my son Wonder in our rented apartment in Birkenhead where I was an ESOL teacher at the Northcote Community School of English.  

When I recovered from the 24-day coma, my son had not survived and was buried before I came to. In 2003, I was divinely led to Te Wahi Ora Women’s Retreat in Piha and found my home for the next eight years. I was housed, catered for and cared for at the fully functioning retreat while supported by the intensive psycho-spiritual counselling from Beverley Holt -the founding manager of the retreat who had come to one of my dreams to talk to me several weeks before the attack. During those eight years in Piha, I attended the Psychosynthesis Training to assist with my healing and recovery. I consequently obtained a diploma in Psychosynthesis Counselling in June 2016 and have become a psychosynthesis counsellor now a provisional member of NZAC-NZ Association of Counsellors awaiting to complete the process of full membership upgrading in Nov.  I became a  Student Advisor at Unitec in 2009 as my first paid job after the life-death-life turning point and the eight years in grief and healing.  

My love for education led me to return to the Higher Education Field I was in prior to the trauma. I became a Learning Development Lecturer in 2010, then a Senior Lecturer of Academic Learning and Development from Feb, 2017. Since March 2022, I have been working part-time to complete my PhD in Indigenous Graduate Studies, titled: “The lived experience of bereaved parents of children murdered in intimate partner violence”. I feel my heart is pulling me towards preparing me for the opportunity to come alongside women shattered by the trauma of the death of a child in order to be part of their healing process. I intend to use what I have learnt from my lived experience in the first half of my life to, in the second half of my life, inspire, educate, encourage other women in the community to enhance their lives and to save lives of women and children affected by intimate partner violence. The findings of my research will join forces with others to bring gender-patterned violence against women and children to its cessation.  

I see all people including myself in a dynamic developmental and evolutionary process where increased conscious awareness can be achieved through counselling, education and respecting and accepting woman’s self-knowledge and inner wisdom as their truth and reality. 

From Oct, 2018, NZTV Sunday program interviewed me for a Sunday story :A boy called Wonder” aired in April 2019. It can be viewed via this link

I have also completed a memoir “Baby Dragon and Me” in 2019. It is with an agent for a publisher.