Sat, 02 Dec 2023

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A concert of traditional Chinese music was staged on Tuesday night in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, attracting over 300 people.

The concert was jointly sponsored by the Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch, China's Gansu Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, and the China Cultural Center in Wellington, to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Chinese Consul General in Christchurch He Ying attended the event and delivered a speech, saying that China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership keeps strengthening.

"In the first six months of this year, New Zealand's exports to China reached 9.85 billion New Zealand dollars (5.88 billion U.S. dollars), with New Zealand's trade surplus with China widening to 2 billion New Zealand dollars (11.9 billion U.S. dollars)," she said.

"All these positive news reaffirm the solid foundation of the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership and give us strong confidence in the future of our relationship," she noted.

Member of the New Zealand Parliament Sarah Pallet conveyed Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' festival greetings to the Chinese people.

She said that New Zealand was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with China and was the first developed country to sign and implement a bilateral free trade agreement with China, which "opened up huge trading opportunities."

The trade relations have underpinned New Zealand's economic performance, she added.

She noted Chinese immigrants have made great contributions to New Zealand, saying "You contribute so strongly in all areas, education, business, sports and you enrich us culturally."

Some well-known New Zealand musicians, including Mark Menzies, head of performance music for the University of Canterbury, singer Deborah Wai Kapohe and Erhu musician Jeffrey Zhao, together with over 30 musicians from northwest China's Gansu Province, performed many popular pieces of Chinese traditional and folk music. The performances won long applauses from the audience.

Menzies said he enjoyed the performance and the ensemble with his Chinese counterparts. "It's so beautiful to play with the Gansu ethnic orchestra. They make such a unique sound."

Walter Wang, a Chinese student at the University of Canterbury, was delighted to hear the music from his hometown Gansu in New Zealand.

"Christchurch is the hometown of Rewi Alley, an old friend of the Chinese people. He created Shandan Bailie School in his second hometown of Gansu ... This concert displayed strong Gansu elements. For example, Capriccio on the Flower Theme, Loess Plateau Solo and Silk Road music," he said.

"The Gansu folk music Capriccio on the Flower Theme ensemble to open the concert showcased the most distinctive intangible cultural heritage of Gansu. I hope to see more of such cultural exchange activities, which will promote people-to-people connections in the future," said Wang.

At the initiative of Rewi Alley, Christchurch became a sister city to Gansu province in 1984.

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