In celebration of NZ/Hubei week on November 14 a video conference was held with Hubei Municipal Government officials as well as representatives of the cities which have a relationship with New Zealand cities and regions. Nelson’s Deputy Mayor, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, was supported by Nelson Branch members, President Barbara Markland, Vice President Bill Findlater, and Gail Collingwood, a former board member of Sister Cities New Zealand.
Six South Island areas have relationships in Hubei: Nelson with Huangshi, Christchurch with Wuhan, Westland District with Huanggang City, Waimakariri with Enshi State, Hurunui with Honghu City. All were represented and leaders spoke of the sister-city activities and events that have occurred over the years, and of the importance of people-to-people relationships. Other speakers were the leader of Hubei Province; the leader of CPAFFC; Clare Fearnley New Zealand Ambassador to China; Madam He Ying, Consul General in Christchurch.
The children’s art work digitised and sent to Wuhan was displayed as was a remembrance wall pertaining to Rewi Alley. Rewi Alley has been celebrated throughout NZ/Hubei week, and Clare Hearnley also mentioned Appo Hocton, a Nelsonian and the first naturalised Chinese New Zealander.
This ‘video dialogue’ reinforced the importance of sister-city relationships in developing and maintaining ties with China, and fulfilling the aims of NZCFS.