Insights | New Zealand Scholar: Deepening cultural exchanges between New Zealand and China promotes pragmatic cooperation

2024-04-16 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

By Chen Caixia

(ECNS) -- Mike Dawson, president of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, said he views cultural exchanges between China and New Zealand with excitement and hopes for a future of ongoing friendly relations between the two countries.

Dawson made the remarks during an online interview with China News Network.

The year 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership. With increased high-level exchanges, the two countries have strengthened their political mutual trust, and their mutual cooperation in various fields such as the economy, trade, culture and educationhas become increasingly significant.

China has been New Zealand’s largest trading partner for ten consecutive years.

“Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city by population and active trading businesses. There's a lot of trading activity going on between New Zealand and China,” said Dawson. “Friendly relations and active engagement between nations are critical for creating and maintaining economic and social progress.”

Dawson noted that New Zealand has a favorable trading outcome with two-way trade totaling over NZ$40 billion (174 billion yuan) as of December 2022. The average increase rate over the last few years is 17 percent per annum. “This means peaceful relations between NZ and China, represent peace-of-mind for people who are sick of talk of war and aggravation,” said Dawson.

New Zealand’s livestock industry is well-developed, with dairy products being one of its key export commodities. Meanwhile, China stands as the world’s second-largest market for dairy products and accounted for 42 percent of all New Zealand dairy exports, according to the data from China’s Ministry of Commerce in 2021.

“It means good incomes for our dairy farmers and all those who trade with China, now and well into the future,” said Dawson. “There are a lot of benefits that flow from our relationship with China.” 

“Most New Zealanders know that Chinese people are hard-working, strongly value and support their families and are positive and optimistic regarding China. A great many New Zealand people love Chinese celebrations, lion dances, cultural performances, etc, which are always well-attended,” said Dawson.“The impact of Chinese culture on New Zealand’s now diverse society is positive.”

He stressed that through various cultural exchanges sponsored by the Simon Deng Li Art and Cultural Exchange Fund, hundreds of young New Zealanders and their families have developed a fuller knowledge and understanding of Chinese people and their arts and culture. 

“People at all levels who don’t know the true China, ought to keep an open mind and see China for what it truly is, through visiting, reading, talking to people who’ve dealt successfully with China and by exploring business or art opportunities in or with China,” added Dawson.

“I trust that the relationship will be further strengthened. I think everybody knows that peace and prosperity are preferred way over any other alternatives,” he concluded.


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