Chinese premier receives powhiri at Government House

By Heta Gardiner

Chinese premier Li Keqiang has arrived at Government House and received a powhiri Te Atiawa.

Accompanied by government house kaumātua Piri Sciascia, Premier Keqiang was greeted by a wero in the powhiri that also involved representatives from the armed forces.

The premier is expected to have high level talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English as both countries push for free trade.  This comes after the Prime Minister announced last week his goal to have free trade agreements cover 90% of exports by 2030.

Trade with China is hugely important to Māori and it has become a common focus for Māori trade delegations, a strategy that was embraced by former Māori Affairs Minister Sir Pita Sharples and which continued with Minister of Māori Development and Associate Minister of Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell.

Premier Li Kequing leaves the country on Wednesday.