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Deputy Mayor joins Education Delegation to China

27 May 2019


Palmerston North Deputy Mayor joins Education Delegation visit to China

At the invitation of Palmerston North’s Chinese Sister City Guiyang, Palmerston North’s Deputy Mayor, Tangi Utikere, is currently in the city to represent Palmerston North in two key events, as part of an education delegation from Manawatū, and at the 2019 China International Big Data Expo.

Mr Utikere will join a contingent of representatives from various education institutions around Manawatu including, the New Zealand Consulate (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), Massey University, IPU New Zealand, St Peter’s College, Awatapu College, Palmerston North Boy’s High School, Palmerston North Girl’s High School and Freyberg High School.

The education delegation’s visit to Guiyang (30 May – 1 June), led by CEDA, demonstrates significant progress since Palmerston North’s Mayor Grant Smith headed a city business delegation to the city to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the relationship in 2017, which included the signing of a new International Education Letter of Intent (LOI).

“The 2017 LOI has created a valuable platform for Palmerston North education providers to travel to Guiyang, meet with the Education Bureau, visit prospective partner schools, and form relationships with education recruitment agencies,” said Mr Utikere.

“The 2019 education visit will also include a Palmerston North Education Information Event for prospective international students and their parents.”

“This trip will provide us with an opportunity to showcase the region and connect with the decision makers to find out what information is of most value to them,” says Judy Bennett-Smith, CEDA’s International Education Development Manager.

“We gain valuable market insights by visiting China that go above and beyond what we might read in a report or newspaper article. It helps put into perspective the hugely competitive context in which we are operating and the best way to influence individual decisions around study choice. Building relationships with key institutions and decision-makers helps to keep Manawatū and New Zealand front-of-mind when they think about international education destinations.”

In recent years, the picturesque city in the Guizhou province of Southwest China has blossomed into a mecca of ingenuity, playing host to some of the world’s foremost tech-agencies including Microsoft, Hyundai and Alibaba.

Prior to the education delegation visit, the Mr Utikere will attend the 2019 China International Big Data Expo (26-29 May), along with Stephen Wong, New Zealand Consul General responsible for South West China (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Dr Sunil Lal, lecturer in Computer Science from Massey University’s Manawatū Campus.

Mr Utikere said Palmerston North’s representation at the Expo demonstrates a genuine interest and support for one of our sister city’s key sectors.

“The China International Big Data Expo is one of the highest-profile national events held in Guiyang, a city which is fast becoming a leading hub for big data in China.

“Palmerston North’s presence at the event may open potential cooperation opportunities for our own priority sectors, including distribution, logistics and agritech.”

During his visit, Mr Utikere will meet with his counterpart in Guiyang, Deputy Mayor Sun Zhiming, and the Guiyang Education Bureau.

Palmerston North’s international relations efforts were nationally recognised in 2018, taking out “Best Commercially Focussed Project” at the 2018 Sister Cities New Zealand Awards; the prize included an Air Zealand Travel voucher which has enabled the Deputy Mayor’s current trip to China.


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