Friday, 08 June 2012 09:26

Maori-China agri exchange announced

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The People's Republic of China's Government of Guizhou Province and New Zealand's Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development) have launched an international agricultural exchange programme.

The programme recognises that investing in the education of young people is a vital way to boost development in rural areas, the Vice Governor of Guizhou Province, Mu Degui and Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive, Leith Comer, signed a joint statement on agricultural cooperation in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China.

New Zealand's Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples is currently leading a trade mission in China. His 2010 business delegation included high level meetings in Guizhou, as did a smaller trade mission led by Comer in 2011.

"We have developed a strong and close relationship with the people of Guizhou: a beautiful and unique province, rich in cultural and natural resources with significant tourism and agricultural potential," said Sharples.

"Centering on agriculture, indigenous/ethnic development, community development and cultural tourism, the programme will also enable cultural exchange and collaboration."

The exchange will focus on building the capacity of young farm managers and animal husbandry technicians from ethnic minority communities in Guizhou. They will be given the opportunity to visit pastoral farming institutions in New Zealand. Moreover, Māori farm managers from New Zealand will have the opportunity to gain experience and provide practical support to agricultural development projects in Guizhou such as the Dushan Pastoral Seed Demonstration Farm. Te Puni Kokiri is investing in this agricultural and educational exchange to help strengthen the relationship between Maori and Guizhou's ethnic minorities.

Sharples says the auspicious Year of the Water Dragon also marks the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between the New Zealand and Chinese governments. New Zealand and Guizhou province share a special 27-year relationship built upon practical agricultural and development work.

"New Zealand's 100% Pure brand is one Maori have held for generations. We are people of the land, tangata whenua, guardians. We also share ancient cultural bonds to the people of Asia and China, bonds that we are proud to strengthen and celebrate."

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