On 9 December 2015 a six strong delegation from the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries spent the day in Timaru. The purpose of the visit was to develop friendly relations between Shanghai and Timaru. The Timaru Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society hosted the visit.
On arrival in Timaru the Delegation viewed Caroline Bay from the Piazza then walked through and admired the Trevor Griffith’s Rose Garden which contains a world renowned collection of heritage roses. They were also very interested in the WWI information displayed nearby. The Delegation enjoyed a lunch with Timaru Branch members at a rural property where they were intrigued by the spacious rural landscape with mountain views, something quite unfamiliar to them.
After lunch the group visited the recently established Confucius Resource Centre at Aoraki Polytechnic where delegation leader Zhou Yajun and Polytechnic CEO Alex Cabrera exchanged gifts.
The delegation was very interested to learn about the Mandarin Learning Assistants who have begun teaching the Mandarin Language in Timaru, firstly at Timaru Girls’ High School and more recently at other schools in the district. Zhou Yajun suggested the exchange of Shanghai and Timaru students should be investigated.
The visit concluded with a reception at the Timaru District Council offices. Councillor Dr Anthony Brien warmly welcomed the delegation and expressed the hope that their visit would result in closer ties between Shanghai and Timaru cities.
On their return to Christchurch the delegation was to be hosted by the Christchurch City Council and the Chinese Consulate before travelling on to Auckland.