Exhibition start of new chapter in ties with NZ

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Art lovers in New Zealand indulged themselves in some 2,000 books from China and more than 200 paintings drawn by children from both countries at a China-themed book exhibition in New Zealand's Waipa on Sept 15.

As one of a series of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and New Zealand, the book exhibition, which coincided with A Better Eco-village International Youth Art Exhibition, included 217 pieces of artwork that have been collected from 40 cities in China.

There were also 15 paintings from New Zealand-based artists. All the artwork had been completed by children, said organizer Jackson Rao, chair of New Zealand Culture and Arts Foundation.

Dandi Wang, curator of the book exhibition and president of Prime Media New Zealand, said the exhibition included more than 2,000 English language books with themes ranging from political theory, medical information to Chinese traditional cultural practices.

Dave Bromwich, former president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, has visited China more than 50 times. He said these two exhibitions represented "a very, very good insight into Chinese culture".

"The wisdom of China has been expressed in the books there and you can easily trace it through from 2,000 years ago to the wisdom that has been expressed in China today."

Bromwich encouraged New Zealanders to pick up a book and start to understand it.

"Because it's become more and more important that New Zealanders do make an effort to understand China, not from a Western perspective, but from a Chinese perspective, and then we will truly have a mutual respect and mutual understanding," he added.

The exhibition also included a range of children's books and a selection of poems.

Xiao Yewen, acting Chinese consul general in Auckland, noted that China is a global publishing powerhouse. He said, "China and New Zealand enjoy good momentum in literary exchanges and cooperation. Both national libraries established efficient cooperative mechanism in organizing exhibitions, digital library cooperation, protection of ancient books and resource sharing.

"As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, I believe there is nothing better than a well-organized book exhibition to further promote understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and New Zealanders," Xiao said.

Ye Su, minister-counselor of the Chinese embassy in New Zealand, said he was deeply impressed by the works on display. The youngsters used their paintbrushes to depict the world through their eyes, and deliver a vision of a more beautiful, friendly and sustainable future for the global village, said Ye.

"In this particular way, they transcend geographical and language barriers, and set up a new bridge of friendship between China and New Zealand, which makes them young ambassadors of the new era," he said.

Ye said that he believed the wide variety of books at the exhibition would enable more New Zealanders to better understand China, which will help enhance mutual understanding between the two countries.

Jim Mylchreest, mayor of Waipa District Council, said that he believed the exhibitions would serve as a cultural bridge between China and New Zealand.

"The 50-year celebration of our joint relationship is a milestone and something that we do need to work on together to make sure that we have mutual understanding and, with that understanding, I think, we'll grow a better relationship, and not only with China, but across the world," said the mayor.

Both exhibitions ran through Monday. The books will be donated to local libraries and schools, and the paintings will be given to local children's hospitals and children's rehabilitation institutions.

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