MPs Honourable Nicky Wagner, MP Dr Yang Jian and Maureen Pugh
My fellow Mayors and councillors
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Dà jiā hǎo, good evening everyone, it’s my pleasure to welcome you here tonight and wish you all a Happy New Year of the Rooster, xin nián kuài lè!
According to Chinese legend, roosters are hardworking, resourceful, talented and confident. Although I aspire to be all those things, I’m a Rat, not a rooster. But as it turns out, the Year of the Rooster is predicted to be very favourable for those of us born in the Year of the Rat, which means this should be a good year for Christchurch.
I am thrilled that so many Mayors have travelled from around the South Island to be here tonight. This shows how united we are in terms of our relationship with China, which has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.
When I was elected as mayor we had no direct flights between China and Christchurch – then we had three return flights a week, then it was five times a week and from yesterday China Southern is flying daily between Guangzhou and Christchurch all the way through to the end of February. I really hope that we can get to a permanent daily flight.
Christchurch is the only city in the world that China Southern flies into which has a population of under a million people. And that’s because we are a gateway to the whole of the South Island, which is where tourists coming to New Zealand want to be.
On that point, I wish to acknowledge Consul General Jin and his team. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our city, and thank you for bringing tonight’s Gala Show to us.
We are especially looking forward to seeing the performing troupe from our Sister City of Wuhan, who I welcome on behalf of all the guests this evening. I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Wuhan Municipal Government for the commitment this has entailed.
Finally, to each and every one of you, may the year of the Rooster be a year of good health, peace, prosperity and success.
Gōng xǐ fā cái! Xiè xiè!