Enshi Ties Strengthened After Visit

The ties between Waimakariri and the Enshi Autonomous Prefecture continue to grow after last weekend’s successful visit to our District by a Chinese delegation.

Visitors from Enshi with Waimakariri CouncillorsFollowing an official welcome by the Mayor and Councillors in Rangiora, the guests from Enshi were treated to a number of events that introduced them to prominent activities within the district.

These included a dairy farm tour, visits to the Hellers factory, an alpaca stud and a local winery as well as a jet boat experience on the Waimakariri River.

The second day of the visit on Saturday also allowed the guests to take in the first New Zealand-United States women’s hockey international at the new Waimakariri Hockey Stadium, prior to dining locally to conclude events.

“It was a valuable exercise and built on the relationship between the two districts, cementing what was achieved during our visit to Enshi and the signing of the Sister City Agreement last year,” Mayor David Ayers says.

“We tried to provide the Chinese with a wide-ranging itinerary of events, to give them the full flavour of all that our district has to offer. I think we achieved that.

“They have returned home expressing great appreciation of all that they have seen and done in the Waimakariri.”

Liu Fangzhen who is Mayor of Enshi Autonomous Prefecture People’s Government led the Chinese.

Speaking through an interpreter at Friday’s welcome, Liu thanked his hosts and spoke warmly of the relationship that already exists between the two districts.

He also noted the opportunities that exist for both peoples as the contact grows between the two communities.

His delegation’s visit was reciprocal, following on from a visit by a Waimakariri delegation to Enshi last May, which saw the two district’s sign the Sister City Agreement.

The Agreement was a first for Waimakariri, and reflected Council’s willingness to co-operate and promote external relationships and exchanges.

The main benefit from the Enshi relationship is expected to be cultural, promoting an increased understanding of Chinese culture that will be strengthened further through school connections.

Business connections have also been made and those leads will be explored further.

Given the huge growth in Chinese tourists to New Zealand in recent years, with direct flights now from China to Christchurch, the relationship provides opportunities to enhance our understanding of Chinese culture so we can better cater for their needs.