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Mayor Browns Home CREDIT: Far North District Council

Fish and chips CREDIT: Far North District Council

'We must not let this opportunity pass us by' says Mayor
Friday 23 May 2008, 9:41PM
By Far North District Council


Business development, investment opportunity and market access were high on the list of priorities when a delegation from China’s Liaoning province visited the Far North this week.

Hosted by Far North Mayor Wayne Brown, the six-strong delegation visited Far North businesses and met some of the district’s successful businesspeople on a busy one-and-a-half day tour taking in Ngawha, Kerikeri, Waitangi, Matauri Bay, Kaitaia and Karikari Peninsula.

Businesses who hosted the group of influential Chinese officials rolled out the welcome mat with enthusiasm and professionalism, sharing knowledge, providing information and making their senior managers available to speak to the delegation, Mr Brown said.

Ngati Rehia first welcomed the visitors who then went on to visit Kerifresh packhouse, Ngawha’s geothermal plant, Marsden Estate vineyard, Kerikeri’s Stone Store and Heritage Bypass project, Kauri Cliffs, Mangonui fish and chip shop, Juken NZ veneer and triboard mills, Durapanel Systems at Awanui, Carrington Estate and Copthorne Waitangi.

Delegation interpreter Mr Liu Liwei, on his third visit to the Far North, commented that this week’s trip was the most successful of the visits he had made as interpreter for Liaoning delegations in recent years.

“We had thought the Far North was just a dot on the map way up the top of New Zealand; now we see that it has many businesses, capable and knowledgeable businesspeople and many options for investment,” he said. “We are very interested in what we have seen and found out about on this trip.

“It has been an exciting visit for us and we will be following-up on some of the contacts we have made and the business opportunities we have noted on our way around the district.”

Mr Liu added that he was very keen to progress student exchange visits between Liaoning and the Far North and would be working with the Far North District Council to progress such an arrangement.

Mayor Brown said the Far North’s sister relationship with Liaoning opened-up some fantastic possibilities for the district in many different ways and he was determined to build on the potential the relationship presented.

“We must not let this opportunity pass us by,” he said. “This is just the beginning of an alliance that will continue to strengthen and grow and we need to pursue every chance to promote our wonderful district as a great place to do business.”

Mayor Brown will lead a delegation to Liaoning Province in August at the invitation of the Governor of Liaoning Province, Mr Chen Zhenggao. The intention is to travel there with up to 12 Far North delegates representing key sectors such as horticulture, agriculture, fishing and aquaculture, forestry and processing, tourism, education, geothermal and mining.

“These invitations from China are very welcome and the council is fast establishing itself as an organisation that is actively advancing opportunities for investment in the Far North,” he said.

“I am very confident that we will see tangible results from our increased interaction with China, nationally and in terms of our own district. We have a tremendous amount going for us up here and it’s not all beaches and boating. That’s what we have to get across.”