Opening the doors to China's West

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

NZ Māori Tourism is helping to connect Aotearoa New Zealand to China at the Opening The Doors to the West Business Forum in China in Xi'an, China.

A 3.5-hour fast-train from Chengdu, Xi'an is referred to as China's historical capital and has 8.3% GDP growth.

Twelve million people live in Xi'an China, one of the oldest cities in the country's history and home of the imperial Tang Dynasty which ruled for 2000 years.

An official welcome was orchestrated by the China Travel Service NZ that saw more than 500 'Kiwis' visit Xi'an for a special reception with the Deputy Governor of the Shaanxi province.

Those in attendance were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime performance inside the ancient city walls that honoured the history and legacy of the Tang Dynasty.

Another significant feature of the forum is the "New Zealand Showcase", a pop-up store on the pedestrian Great Tang All Day Mall for exporters to exhibit their products and services for display and sale to the public.

The New Zealand pop-up store featured Vogel's, Pic's Peanure Butter, Blue River Dairy, McKenzie Group, Cloud Ocean Water Ltd., Richora Honey, O Tu Wines Ltd., Yashili International Group Ltd., Super Organic Dairy Company Ltd., NAC Trading, Emerald foods and the Food Basket consortium.

Part of the coordinating committee for the forum was NZ Māori Tourism who alluded to the potential for tourism and trade between China's West and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hoki-mai Chong (Tainui) of NZ Māori Tourism said that there are links between the two peoples, "It's easy for me because I'm Māori and Chinese but there is a natural affinity between Māori and Chinese, we have a similar culture, respect for our elders, we like to eat, so there's that cultural affinity and also the other thing too is about business. When it comes to business it's about relationships first, and then business second."

The similarities between culture, custom, and tradition stand as a platform for developing relationships and make it easy to bring together the two nations to further strengthen the bridge between Aotearoa New Zealand and China.