Wendy Zhang President Christchurch Zhonghua Society and
Could I also take the opportunity to acknowledge Cr Jimmy Chen, as he is stepping down as a councillor after many years of loyal service to his community.
He has been a champion of the relationship between Christchurch and China, and a champion for our multicultural city.
Thank you to the Christchurch Zhonghua Chinese Society for inviting me here today. It is an opportunity for me as the Mayor to endorse today’s event, which encourages business cooperation between Christchurch and China.
Although I may be stepping down as Mayor, I still have a role as an Honorary Adviser to the Asia New Zealand Foundation. I was honoured to be offered this role as it means I have a continued connection to the range of Asian communities who live in this city and who have supported me over many years – as a Member of Parliament, a Cabinet Minister and as Mayor.
Today is about taking advantage of new opportunities to develop and grow business relationships between Christchurch and China, as well as encouraging cultural exchange and promoting opportunities within the tourism sector.
As I have said on many occasions, although Ōtautahi Christchurch is a fabulous destination in its own right, we are the international gateway to the South Island of New Zealand, taking the vast majority of visitors to where they want to come.
We look forward to the return of China Southern Airlines and the reestablishment of direct flights between Guangzhou and Christchurch as the hugely successful connection they were pre-Covid.
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, I congratulate the Christchurch Zhonghua Chinese Society on this initiative and wish you every success for the day and all that results from it.