The Chinese consul-general to Christchurch, Tan Xiutian,
enjoys a visit to Dunedin's Chinese Garden before leaving
her posting and returning to China. Photo by Gerard
Dunedin's Chinese Garden gives the city a special
advantage in its relationship with China.
That comment was made yesterday by Tan Xiutian, the first
consul-general to serve at the recently-established Chinese
consulate in Christchurch.
Ms Tan had made a familiarisation trip to Dunedin and the
Chinese Garden in February 2012.
And some of the city's Chinese community representatives
commented at that stage the consulate in Christchurch would
significantly strengthen Dunedin's growing trade and tourism
links with China.
Ms Tan, who will leave her Christchurch posting to return to
China, yesterday emphasised the continuing value of the
Dunedin Chinese Garden.
She acknowledged that Christchurch had its own sister city
links with China and also had important historical
connections through Christchurch-educated writer and
long-term Chinese resident Rewi Alley.
But the Dunedin Chinese Garden was an important physical
manifestation and symbol of links between Dunedin and China,
and that was something other South Island centres, including
Christchurch, did not have, she said.
She reflected also on the long-established links between
Dunedin and China, given that Dunedin was home to the oldest
Chinese urban settlement in New Zealand.
Dunedin's sister city relationship with Shanghai remained
important and strong and she predicted continuing growth in
Chinese tourist arrivals to Dunedin.
Ms Tan, who also served as Chinese consul-general in
Edinburgh for five years before taking up her Christchurch
post in 2011, acknowledged Dunedin was known as the Edinburgh
of the South.
Dunedin was a beautiful city and its Scottish culture was a
further attractive feature for Chinese visitors, she said.
Malcolm Wong, who chairs the Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust
and the Dunedin Shanghai Association, and Toitu Otago Early
Settlers Museum acting director Jennifer Evans accompanied Ms
Tan during her visit to the garden yesterday.