Minister Kelvin Davis,

From link)


Amokura Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Good morning everyone.

I wish to acknowledge and welcome our esteemed guests from China, particularly my counterpart, His Excellency Mr Luo Shugang Minister of Culture and Tourism – thank you for your kind words.

I also wish to acknowledge Ambassador Wu Xi, Members of Parliament, Mayors and the many senior business leaders here today.

I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the unprecedented tragedy that occurred in Christchurch, only 15 days ago.

The New Zealand Government has no tolerance for violence or extremism of any kind – this isn’t us, or what we represent. Aotearoa is about showing visitors manaakitanga – our unique Kiwi hospitality that promotes diversity, inclusivity and warmth to visitors from all over the world. 

I’d like to thank everyone who has provided support, well-wishes and stood with us during this tough time.

While it may seem strange to be standing here today in light of recent events, we must continue to build strong relationships with countries all over the world – and today is a day to mark the special relationship between China and New Zealand.

Today we acknowledge a year-long series of initiatives across both countries to celebrate the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.

The Year of Tourism is an important opportunity to showcase the depth of our people-to-people connections. It’s a time to reflect on our relationship, share in each other’s culture through travel and look to the future, strengthening our already deep ties.

Today we celebrate the opening of the Year of Tourism at New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa Tongarewa, which means ‘container of treasures’ in Māori.

This is a fitting location because Te Papa is home to not only treasures or taonga from New Zealand and the Pacific, but also the host to taonga from China.

The Terracotta Warriors exhibition, which contains ancient taonga from China’s earliest dynasties, provides kiwis with an opportunity to deeply engage with China’s cultural heritage, and I know that many New Zealanders have come to Te Papa to marvel at the Terracotta Warriors already.

We have been lucky enough to receive these taonga from China

And to that, I thank my Chinese colleagues who have made the long journey to be here.

Tourism makes a positive and multifaceted contribution to our relationship with China. It brings economic benefits, brings people together and promotes cultural exchange between our two countries.

China is already a popular destination for New Zealanders travelling abroad.

As Prime Minister Ardern has said about her previous visits to China – China is a country with so much culture, history and natural beauty to engage with.

I am looking forward to travelling to China, and experiencing this for myself as part of the Year of Tourism.

For our Chinese visitors to New Zealand, we want to showcase our special kiwi-style of hosting, our manaakitanga.

Manaakitanga is a Māori expression that talks about acknowledging the mana or status of others through hospitality, generosity and mutual respect.

Being generous to manuhiri, our visitors and guests, is an integral part of Māori custom.

When manuhiri enter the Marae it’s important that they’re well fed and looked after by the hosts – the tangata whenua. 

By welcoming and celebrating our Chinese manuhiri, the Government sees this as an opportunity to help support the tourism industry in both countries to:

  • encourage visitors to stay for longer periods;
  • explore our regions more widely;
  • refer others; and
  • come back to visit time and time again.

The Year of Tourism will also provide an unparalleled opportunity to show what makes New Zealand so special: Our stunning natural landscapes; unique cultural experiences and products; and of course our manaakitanga.

Tourism is our largest export earner.

It brings prosperity into our regions and helps make our communities exciting, thriving places to live through the growth of hospitality, transport, recreation, retail and other sectors.

The Year of Tourism will benefit our other export sectors, such as international education, dairy, transport, wine and meat.

While not widely acknowledged, tourism mutually reinforces our international trade and flows of people. It creates awareness of New Zealand as a supplier of quality products and creates stronger international connections.

If anything, the Year of Tourism will act as a milestone in our relationship with China.

It will recognise the phenomenal growth in recent times in economic, people-to-people, and cultural links, while also looking to the future, and building upon the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries.

I encourage Chinese and New Zealanders alike to take advantage of the Year of Tourism, explore the magic on offer in both countries and to celebrate our friendship and further deepen the connection between our countries.

We know that many Chinese people share our kiwi values – the opportunity to get outside and experience native wildlife, explore beautiful landscapes and our beaches, and meet local people.

A lot of work has been put into the Year of Tourism and I’m excited by the opportunities the Year will bring to both New Zealand and China, not only for this year, but in many years to come.

I am honoured to roll out the welcome mat for our guests here this week , and extend my welcome to all Chinese visitors to New Zealand during the year of tourism and beyond.


Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

It is now my pleasure to read for you a letter from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcoming the opening of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism:

On behalf of the New Zealand government and people, I congratulate President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and the people of China on the successful opening of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism – a milestone in the China-New Zealand relationship.

China is one of New Zealand’s most important partners.

Our links are far-reaching, spanning from the first immigrants from Guangdong during the gold-rush era through to today, with Chinese New Zealanders now numbering more than 200,000, and two-way trade now exceeding $30 billion.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner.Tourism is a crucial strand in our bilateral relationship, and is a particularly important driver of economic growth.

There was an 8.8% increase in Chinese holidaymakers to New Zealand from 2017 to 2018, and China is New Zealand’s second-largest tourism market. The number of New Zealanders visiting China has also reached a new high.

The Year of Tourism is an opportunity to build on this, showcasing New Zealand’s unique value proposition to Chinese visitors – from World Heritage designations such as the spectacular Milford Sound, an area we view as the eighth wonder of the world, to a unique Māori heritage and indigenous culture, and a burgeoning ecotourism industry.

At the same time, I also encourage New Zealanders to use the Year of Tourism to learn more about China. Like many New Zealanders, I have been to China several times, and was blown away by its richness and diversity.

I look forward to visiting again very soon – it is a country with so much culture, history and natural beauty to engage with.

New Zealanders have a unique opportunity to learn about China through the magnificent Terracotta Warriors exhibition at Te Papa – the first return of the Warriors to New Zealand since the 1980s.

Chinese people will also be able to learn about New Zealand in the Year of Tourism.  As Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, I am pleased to announce the Tuku Iho cultural visit to China later this year.

This exhibition of Māori culture includes traditional carving and weaving, as well as live performance of kapa haka and contemporary musical expression.

The recent Christchurch terrorist attacks brought into sharp relief the importance of building interactions and understanding across peoples, cultures and borders.

Initiatives during the Year of Tourism reflect China and New Zealand’s shared commitment to doing just that.

I hope Chinese and New Zealanders alike will make the most of the Year of Tourism, and I look forward to hearing about the many new and exciting cultural, economic and people-to-people connections I am sure will be developed between our two countries this year.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister of New Zealand

Back to the news