Dunedin's relationship with Chinese sister city Shanghai
has entered a ''new era'' and potentially lucrative trade deals
could be just months away, it is claimed.
The upbeat assessment came after Dunedin City Council chief
executive Paul Orders, Otago Chamber of Commerce chief
executive John Christie and deputy mayor Chris Staynes -
travelling as a chamber board member - returned from a
week-long trip to Shanghai.
They went to push the city's case for more activity in key
areas, including encouraging more Chinese tourists to visit
Dunedin, new business links between the cities and greater
foreign investment. Mr Christie told the Otago Daily Times
the delegation was given a ''very receptive'' welcome during
a series of meetings they attended, including from senior
members of the Shanghai foreign affairs office and Shanghai
education sector representatives.
He saw potential for lucrative new deals in the education
sector, beyond existing relationships enjoyed by the
University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic in Shanghai.
That could result in more direct links between Dunedin's
primary and high schools and their counterparts in China,
opening the door for exchanges of pupils and teachers and also
training opportunities, curriculum sharing and possibly even
the sale of educational products and systems, he said.
''We are talking about opportunities around export education,
where we can teach into their curriculum ... the things that
as a city or a country we have developed some knowledge in.
''Hopefully, any school in the city that wants to have a
relationship could. There's certainly enough schools up there
Asked how Dunedin could profit from the exchanges, Mr
Christie said discussions were continuing with both Education
Dunedin and Education New Zealand.
However, some deals could be ready to sign as early as April
next year, when Mayor Dave Cull will travell to China to
renew the two cities' sister city relationship for a further
Mr Christie said the hope was to position Dunedin as an
education centre capable of leveraging one of its competitive
''We have got to find a way to make sure there's an economic
return for the city from this.''
Mr Orders said last month's trip to Shanghai laid the
foundations for signing the new sister city agreement. The
new three-year deal would be ''much more business focused''
and outline key initiatives to work on over the period, he
It would reflect a new type of relationship between sister
cities, which sought to promote both cultural and economic
developmnt, Mr Orders believed.
Mr Orders said ''considerable work'' had already gone into
developing the relationship between Dunedin and Shanghai,
which had ''paved the way for potentially a productive period
''I believe we have entered into a new era of relationship
with Shanghai,'' he said.
''It's a key relationship for Dunedin ... I haven't got any
doubt about that.
''It represents an opportunity for the city which needs to be
fully explored,'' he said.
Mr Christie said the delegation also met representatives from
some of China's outbound tour operators, hoping to add
Dunedin to more of their itineraries.
The companies were receptive but needed to know more about
what Dunedin could offer and what tours might look like, he
That would be discussed with industry representatives in
Dunedin over the coming months, then presented to operators
in China to consider, he said.
There were also ''very real opportunities'' to encourage more
Chinese investment in Dunedin, after talks with potential
investors, including ''one or two'' who were ''significantly
wealthy'', Mr Christie said.
Boosting education links between the cities could act as a
''forerunner'' to investment, by encouraging wealthy
individuals in China to send their children to Dunedin to
learn and building closer ties, he said.