A newly established Chinese consulate in Christchurch will significantly strengthen Dunedin's growing trade and tourism links with China, Chinese community representatives believe.
Tan Xiutian, the newly appointed Chinese consul-general to Christchurch, made a familiarisation visit to Dunedin this week, visiting the Dunedin Chinese Garden and meeting about 30 representatives of several Chinese organisations, members of the city's Chinese community and business representatives.
Ms Tan also met Dunedin civic leaders, as well as senior administrators and academics at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, and visited the Otago Museum during her first visit to the city.
The Chinese Government had sped up the planned establishment of the consulate-general in Christchurch to show its strong support for New Zealand and citizens of the earthquake-hit city, she said in an interview.
China already has a consulate-general in Auckland and an embassy in Wellington.
Ms Tan noted China sent a rescue team to Christchurch after the major earthquake in February last year, and an internationally acclaimed Chinese acrobatic troupe had also recently performed there.
In a later talk to Chinese community and business representatives, Ms Tan praised Dunedin as a "beautiful" city with a "superb" Chinese Garden and acknowledged the sister city relationship with Shanghai.
She thanked former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin and others who had been trying to foster closer links between New Zealand and China.
Malcolm Wong, who chairs the Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust and the Dunedin Shanghai Association, formally welcomed her to the garden.
Establishing the Consulate-general in Christchurch would help support growing trade and tourism links between Dunedin and China, he said in an interview. It would be much easier for Dunedin businesspeople to travel to Christchurch than to have to go to Wellington, he said. Chinese consulate in Christchurch will help Dunedin
By John Gibb on Thu, 16 Feb 2012