Over 500 guests attended a reception at the Alexander Park Raceway rooms to welcome the new Chinese Consul-General, Mr Niu Qingbao, to Auckland on February 7th and to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Mr Niu and his wife welcomed each guest personally and later addressed the gathering, commenting on the natural beauty of New Zealand and the friendliness of the local people. He told those present that he had already had a meeting with Prime Minister John Key, Opposition Leader David Shearer and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
He also mentioned Rewi Alley as one of China’s top ten foreign friends and praised New Zealand’s foresight in recognising China’s market economy status by assisting in concluding negotiations for China’s entry into the WTO and beginning a Free Trade agreement with China. He reminded the guests that China is now the second largest trading partner with New Zealand and the largest source of imports as well as the largest source of foreign students.
He also spoke about the Chinese Communist Party convening its 18th National Congress recently, which saw a smooth shift of new leadership and which set the stage for China’s progress for the next 5 to 10 years. The Chinese economy grew by 7.8% in 2012.
Mr Niu Qingbao promised to do his utmost to strengthen trade and economic co-operation, cultural and educational exchanges and people-to-people contacts between China and New Zealand.
He closed his speech with a New Year wish to all the guests and in particular those who were born in the Year of the Snake.
Other guest speakers were:
Dr. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs,
Dr Jian Yang, National MP,
Mr Raymond Huo (Huo Jianqiang), Labour MP,
Mr Jeremy Clarke-Watson, Director of MFAT Auckland,
Mr Arthur Anae, Councillor and representative of Mayor Len Brown,
Mr Steven Wong, President of Chinese Associations, Auckland, and
Mr Arthur Loo, chairman of Auckland Chinese Community Centre.
NZCFS was represented by George Andrews (President, Auckland branch), Ken Yuxi Liu (Auckland branch), Duncan and Teri France (President and Secretary, Hibiscus Coast branch), Miao Fan (Co-President, Hamilton branch) and Ian Howat (Hamilton branch).
For the full text of Mr Niu’s speech, please click HERE
Teri France, February, 2013