Hon. Nikki Kay, Members of NZ Parliament,
Hon. Tuariki Delamere, Political Adviser to King Tuheitia,
Mr. Danny Chan,
Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a very special and very auspicious day. It happens to be the mid-autumn festival, one of the most important Chinese traditional festivals. At the outset, please allow me to extend my best wishes to all the friends present here tonight, and through you to my Chinese compatriots, students, business people and friends in NZ for a very happy moon-cake festival.
Today marks the beginning of Chinese Language Week of New Zealand in 2018. Invited by the University of Auckland and the Confucius Institute Auckland, the Arts Troupe of Minzu University of China has come to NZ to perform a medley of traditional song, dance and music of Chinese ethnic minorities. At this very special moment of double-happiness and joy, I would like to extend on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland our warmest welcome to the artists of the troupe and to all the audience present here tonight. Thank you so much for your participation.
China is a unified multi-ethnic country with a long history, composed of 56 ethnic groups including Han, Tibetan, and Uygur, to name a few. Diversified ethnic cultures have played a crucial role in building the time-honored, sustained and splendid Chinese civilization. The Chinese central government attaches great importance to the social, economic and cultural development of ethnic minorities and has laid out a series of ethnic policies featuring equality, unity, mutual assistance, harmony and common prosperity for all ethnic groups. The basic principles of these policies are oriented to promote science, education, health and culture in ethnic minority areas, and to encourage the development of minority languages, respect ethnic customs, and protect freedom of religious belief. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, particularly over the past 40 years of China's reform and opening up, the central government has made a huge investment in economy and has implemented various supportive policies in ethnic minority areas. Since then, tremendous achievements have been made in these areas with people's living standard greatly improved and their cultural life significantly enriched.
The Arts Troupe for tonight's performance comes from Minzu University of China, a prestigious tertiary institution dedicated to the education of ethnic minority talents and the study of ethnic cultural practices. They come to NZ, not only to show the ethnic cultures but also bring the friendship and best wishes of the Chinese people of 56 ethnic groups towards the people of NZ. I am confident this visit will generate another push to the fast growing China-NZ relationship.
As NZ's largest trading partner, largest source of international students and second largest source of tourists, China is working together with New Zealand under the BRI to bring more benefits to both sides. Enhancing People to people exchanges is one of the most significant parts of building 21st Maritime Silk Road between China and NZ. Chinese language learning and cultural performance serve as an important bridge in promotion of the mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples and two countries.
Today's performance, a very best show of Sino-NZ cultural exchanges, opens a window for our New Zealand friends to the various cultures of Chinese ethnic minorities. I wish you enjoy the cultural feast brought by the arts troupe of Minzu university of China and have a wonderful night!