Monday 10 August 2015 marked the beginning of the Shenzhen Cultural Week, which was organised by the Wellington City Council and was launched at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. The night began with a reception to welcome guests to the Cultural Week. Political Counsellor Fang Qiu, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Vice President of the Shenzhen Association for International Cultural Exchanges Liu Jiachen, Chairman of the Asia – New Zealand Foundation John Luxton and other guests including a number of Mandarin Language Assistants based in Wellington attended the ceremony.
On behalf of Ambassador Wang Lutong, Counsellor Fang expressed his warm congratulations on the launching of Shenzhen Cultural Week. Counsellor Fang noted that on the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Wellington – New Zealand’s Capital, the Shenzhen Cultural Week provides both a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to understand Chinese culture, and also acts as a special birthday gift to Wellington from the people of Shenzhen.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Vice President Liu Jiachen noted that both Wellington and Shenzhen are cities borne from immigrants. The two cities had developed close links in the fields of business, culture, sports and the arts; and looked forward to further advancing exchange opportunities in the future.
After the ceremony, the Shenzhen Art Troupe which was made up of 26 of Shenzhen’s top performing artists, performed a wonderful show for the audience including acrobatics, magic, folk music and dance. On the same day, a special performance by the Shenzhen Art Troupe was held for over 300 students from nine Wellington schools. Radio New Zealand also organised an interactive exchange activity between actors from the Shenzhen Art Troup and Wellington students learning Chinese. Three newly made, and highly popular Chinese films were also shown during the weekend; Boonie Bear, Silent Witness and An Autumn Wind.
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, who visited Shenzhen in May, said this was a rare opportunity for Wellingtonians to experience some of the best Chinese cultural talent. “Shenzhen is a phenomenal place to visit and blends China’s rich culture and history with a modern, vibrant city. You have to see it first hand to believe the growth that has been achieved in a short space of time.”
Lang Lang, World-renowned Pianist and Shenzhen Goodwill Ambasador, said “ I love Shenzhen. It’s a global city and the inaugural window of China’s reform and opening up. Its unique charm, strong pulse of daily life and inclusive culture always impresses and inspires me”.
Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China’s Guangdong Province (population 10 million), situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China’s first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones and is a majormanufacturing center in China.
“Wellington and Shenzhen have long enjoyed a friendly relationship. ICT company, Huawei is the major sponsor for the Wellington Phoenix Football Club (FC), and a Wellington Mayoral delegation met with Huawei in Shangahi in 2012,” said Deputy Mayor, Justin Lester, who, along with Councillor Paul Eagle and Councillor Nicola Young also visited the Huawei Headquarters and the company’s laboratories in China in May 2015.
The Shenzhen Cultural Week was co-sponsored by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and Wellington City Council. Information for this article was from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand and Scoop NZ.