On November 20 local time, President Xi Jinping attended the welcome ceremony held by Governor-General Jerry Mateparae of New Zealand in Wellington.
On the lawn in front of the Government House, the Government of New Zealand firstly held a grand traditional Maori welcome ceremony for President Xi Jinping's visit, which is the most courteous reception from the people of New Zealand for distinguished guests. When Xi Jinping and his wife Mme. Peng Liyuan arrived, they were warmly received by male and female Maori elders. They respectively hongied with Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan. Some Maoris lined up and presented the challenge ceremony, the most ancient reception of Maoris. Five half-naked and barefooted warriors wearing flax skirts wielded their spears while shouting and stretching out their tongues occasionally. The leading warrior walked to Xi Jinping and cast a sword onto the ground, and Xi Jinping bent and picked it up. The Maori people were convinced that Xi Jinping and the followers were kind-hearted people pursuing peace. Some Maori girls sang loudly, and the crowd cheered and danced in chorus, expressing their excitement and joy with their tongues and eyes. Dozens of Maori teenagers performed their traditional haka dance.
Governor-General Mateparae and his wife greeted Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan at the center of the lawn. Xi Jinping stepped onto the reviewing stand. The military band played the national anthem of China, and a 21-gun salute was presented. Xi Jinping reviewed the guard of honor. Then Xi Jinping went back to the reviewing stand, and the military band played the national anthem of China again. On the other side of the lawn, a group of local students waved the national flags of China to welcome Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan. Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan went over and waved hands to them. Mateparae introduced to Xi Jinping the senior officials of New Zealand and foreign envoys to New Zealand.
After the welcome ceremony, Xi Jinping and his wife held talks with Mateparae and his wife in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Mateparae welcomed Xi Jinping on behalf of the people of New Zealand. He said that it has been the third time for President Xi Jinping to visit New Zealand. According to the Maori custom, a guest having visited three times is to be regarded as a family member.
Xi Jinping said that I am very glad to visit New Zealand again. A similar Chinese saying goes that "first time a stranger, second time an acquaintance, and third time a friend!" China and New Zealand are good friends. Both sides have respected each other, cooperated for mutual benefits and conducted all-around exchanges and cooperation. The China-New Zealand relationship stands in the front of China's relationships with developed countries, serving as a model of relationship between countries with different political systems, histories and cultures at different development stages. Looking into the future, the two countries enjoy broad cooperation prospect and face many opportunities. Through this visit, I expect to jointly chart the blueprint for the development of the China-New Zealand relationship with you and other leaders of New Zealand, promoting the bilateral relations for more achievements so as to better benefit both peoples.
Mateparae expressed his hope that New Zealand and China strengthen cooperation, promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and deepen the friendship between the two peoples.
Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others attended the above activities.