AGRICULTURE

International agricultural and cultural exchange launched by China's Guizhou Province and NZ's Te Puni Kōkiri

Thursday 7 June 2012, 3:08PM
By Pita Sharples
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The People’s Republic of China’s Government of Guizhou Province and New Zealand’s Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development) have launched an international agricultural exchange programme.

The programme recognises that investing in the education of young people is a vital way to boost development in rural areas, The Vice Governor of Guizhou Province, Mu Degui and New Zealand’s Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive, Leith Comer, signed a joint statement on agricultural co-operation in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China today.

New Zealand’s Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples is currently leading a trade mission in China. His 2010 business delegation included high level meetings in Guizhou, as did a smaller trade mission led by Mr Comer in 2011.

“We have developed a strong and close relationship with the people of Guizhou: a beautiful and unique province, rich in cultural and natural resources with significant tourism and agricultural potential,” said Dr Sharples.

“Centering on agriculture, indigenous/ethnic development, community development and cultural tourism, the programme will also enable cultural exchange and collaboration,” said Dr Sharples.

The exchange will focus on building the capacity of young farm managers and animal husbandry technicians from ethnic minority communities in Guizhou. They will be given the opportunity to visit pastoral farming institutions in New Zealand. Moreover, Māori farm managers from New Zealand will have the opportunity to gain experience and provide practical support to agricultural development projects in Guizhou such as the Dushan Pastoral Seed Demonstration Farm. Te Puni Kōkiri is investing in this agricultural and educational exchange to help strengthen the relationship between Māori and Guizhou’s ethnic minorities.

Dr Sharples says the auspicious Year of the Water Dragon also marks the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between the New Zealand and Chinese governments. New Zealand and Guizhou province share a special 27-year relationship built upon practical agricultural and development work.

“New Zealand’s 100% Pure brand is one Māori have held for generations. We are people of the land, tangata whenua, guardians. We also share ancient cultural bonds to the people of Asia and China, bonds that we are proud to strengthen and celebrate.”

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? It is people, It is people, It is people.”
“What is the most important thing of all? It is people, it is people, It is people”