Chinese garden planned for waterfront park

The history of the Chinese community in New Zealand is to be celebrated in a new waterfront attraction.

A Chinese garden is planned for Frank Kitts Park with hopes it will open in 2016 - 20 years after the idea was first raised.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will today sign an agreement with the mayor of Wellington's sister city Xiamen to partner in building the garden.

The signing will take place in Auckland at the launch of the China New Zealand Mayoral Forum, which will be attended by Prime Minister John Key and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Under the arrangement for the Garden of Beneficence - which will feature a tea house, pavilion, terraces, ponds and a courtyard stone carving - Xiamen will provide materials and ship them to Wellington and send Chinese technicians to assist in construction.

The Chinese community in Wellington will raise money to build the garden, while Wellington City Council will provide the land and deal with resource consents.

Wade-Brown said the cost to the Chinese community would be between $3 million and $4m.

The garden would be a "very special addition" to the waterfront that would help solidify Wellington's relationship with Xiamen, she said.

"Our Chinese garden will signify the strength, warmth and ongoing prosperity of the relationship between the people of China and Wellington."

The garden was included in the waterfront framework which sets out plans for the area and the signing was an important step to achieving that goal, Wade-Brown said.

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Esther Fung, secretary of the Wellington Chinese Garden Society, said the idea had been around for years and the signing was "the culmination of many years of aspiration".

"It represents the integration of the people and it represents that we are now New Zealanders."

Frank Kitts Park was a great location for a garden, she said.

"It is meant to be a park for the people and the site we have is admirably suited for people just going and dropping in and enjoying some peace and quiet."

Xiamen Mayor Liu Keqing is due in Wellington today leading a delegation on a two-day visit.

 - The Dominion Post

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