Palmerston North hosts friendship city for China-NZ Tourism
Palmerston North is embracing New Zealand's ‘Year of Tourism’ with China, hosting their friendship city, Kunshan.
Officials from the eastern Chinese city will arrive on Thursday (30 May) to discuss culture, health and tourism.
The visitors have a full itinerary, which includes meetings with local health agencies, tourism operators, and a visit to Massey University, Te Manawa and Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery.
A celebratory dinner for the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism will round out the day.
Joining the festivities will be Palmerston North city Mayor Grant Smith, Councillor Adrian Broad, and Linda Stewart, CEO - Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), as well as representatives from Rangitāne iwi, local tourism agencies and members of the extended Manawatū Chinese community.
While this year holds national significance, Palmerston North has been flying the flag in China for decades. The city has two longstanding Chinese relationships, Guiyang since 1992 and Kunshan since 1996.
In 2017, Mayor Smith travelled to China to reconnect with Kunshan, before an education delegation visited in 2018.
"Two decades into our relationship we're beginning to see great outcomes for both cities," said Mayor Smith.
“We have many shared interests, leading to great opportunities, particularly across our education and tourism sectors.”
In recognition of the friendship city relationship, students from Palmerston North were given the opportunity to apply for four-year undergraduate scholarships to attend Duke Kunshan University, worth over NZ$300,000.
The 2018 recipient, Krista McJarrow-Keller has completed her first year at the International Chinese-American University and currently represents Palmerston North as the official Youth Ambassador to Kunshan.
Members of the Kunshan delegation include: Mr Tao LinSheng, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Kunshan; Ms Jiang Zhenai, Deputy Director of the Kunshan Culture, Sports, Radio, Television, and Tourism Bureau; Mr Liu Wei, Deputy Director of the Kunshan Health Commission; Mr Gao Xidong, Deputy Director of the R&D Centre of the Kunshan Municipal People’s Government; and Mr Jia Erwei, Director of the Kunshan International Relations Centre.