The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand acknowledged the importance and strength of the bilateral relations with China on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni made the remarks at the sixth Race Relations Day Multicultural Festival 2023 in Auckland.
"Our relationship with China is incredibly important," said Sepuloni.
Sepuloni reflected on the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta's recent visit to China, during which the minister was welcomed with hospitality and constructive discussions, and her faith in an even more strengthened relationship moving forward.
Over recent years, New Zealand has encountered challenging times, such as the pandemic and severe weather events. However, New Zealand's economy stayed relatively afloat, and bilateral trade with China stayed strong, said Sepuloni.
"We value our Chinese businesses that are here. We value what you contribute to New Zealand, and long may that continue. Long may our relationship with China be strong," addressed the deputy prime minister.
Wang Xiaolong, Chinese ambassador to New Zealand, addressed the event first by acknowledging the long history of engagement and profound friendship between the two peoples.
"It is notable that the Chinese diaspora have made their share of contribution to the economic and social development here in New Zealand and promoting the people-to-people exchanges and trade and economic cooperation between our two countries," Wang said.
Wang hailed New Zealand's efforts in building a harmonious multi-racial and multi-cultural society, adding that similarly, China is also a big family composed of 56 ethnic groups. Internationally, China promotes world peace and common prosperity by way of advocating inclusiveness and co-existence of various civilizations and exchanges and mutual learning between them, Wang said.
As for the relationship between China and New Zealand, the mutually respectful and mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries, despite occasional noise, has gained in strength over the years thanks to efforts on both sides, Wang said.
This year marks the sixth Race Relations Day Multicultural Festival hosted by the Federation of the Chinese Association of New Zealand, which is constantly promoting multicultural New Zealand and bilateral relations between China and New Zealand.
Steven Wong, the chairman of the Federation of the Chinese Association of New Zealand, said in the opening speech that New Zealand is a multicultural society that the New Zealand Chinese also call their second hometown.
"As overseas Chinese living in New Zealand, we shoulder the responsibility to promote social harmony and bilateral relations as we are part of the big multicultural family," he said.
Guests of the day included members of parliament from the governing Labour Party and opposition National Party, Auckland city councilors, local board members and community leaders.
Chinese cultural performances, such as Chinese martial arts or Wushu, adorned the festival with the rest of the performers from diverse Asian, African and South American backgrounds showcasing their ethnic dances, music and instrument at the festival.