Civic events  |  9 Sep 2019

A visit to Christchurch by the head of China’s Gansu province has reinforced a sister-city relationship spanning 35 years.

The Gansu Party Secretary, Lin Duo, met Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel on Saturday to discuss the achievements and benefits of the strong connection between the areas.

“I am very excited to visit Christchurch for the first time,” Secretary Lin said.

“Gansu highly values the relationship with Christchurch. We hope to build on the strong foundation to make the relationship even more comprehensive and strategic in future.”

During the meeting Secretary Lin presented the Mayor with a replica of the Bronze Galloping Horse - the cultural emblem of Gansu. The Mayor, in return, presented Secretary Lin with a korowai (cloak of bird feathers).

On Sunday, the 12-strong Gansu delegation visited Springfield, in the Selwyn district, to see the memorial to Rewi Alley – a teacher and social reformer who spent much of his life in Gansu. The delegation also visited the Fonterra factory in Darfield, west of Christchurch, as well as other projects in the district.

Gansu is a dry region, and Secretary Lin has strong interests in agriculture and water conservation.

Mayor Dalziel said the visit opened the door to greater engagement between the two communities and more business, educational and tourism opportunities.

“We continue to value our relationship, and appreciate all that our Gansu connections bring to our city,” the Mayor said.

“Our relationship dates back to 1984 and we owe much to the influence of Rewi Alley in establishing that bond between Gansu and Christchurch. On my last visit to Gansu, I went to a school established by Rewi Alley, as well as his former home and final resting place.

“In 2015, I signed a renewal of our memorandum of understanding with Gansu.

“Much of our relationship still centres on education and cultural exchange.

“However, we have also established stronger ties in science and technology that benefit both areas and are developing economic and tourism-related connections. By nurturing our relationship, we can also realise opportunities from China’s investment in the burgeoning Silk Road Economic Belt.”