Marlborough mayor welcomes sister city students

Students visiting from high schools in China are welcomed to Marlborough by mayor John Leggett.
PAULA HULBURT/FAIRFAX NZ

Students visiting from high schools in China are welcomed to Marlborough by mayor John Leggett.

The first students to visit Marlborough from the region's sister city in China have been personally welcomed by the mayor.

John Leggett wore his chain of office as he welcomed eight students from high schools in the north-central province of Ningxia​.

Each student was gifted a piece of Pounamu, or greenstone, to take home with them.

Welcoming the group to council chambers, Leggett said he hoped to visit the province later this year.

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"We can learn a lot from this visit and I'm absolutely delighted the students have come here today.

"I'm not putting myself on a pedestal but we wanted them to know just how important this visit is to us as a region.

"This relationship has a lot of long-term potential for Marlborough viticulture, winemaking, wine technology and wine education businesses.

"The year is shaping up to be a very busy one, especially with the annual plan coming up but I would love to find the time to go over in person."

Travelling with their interpreter Shu Chen, or Kiki, the students have spent time at Marlborough Girls' and Marlborough Boys' colleges, immersing themselves in Kiwi culture.

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While six students will return home shortly, two are staying on. Dzng Haixzn​ will stay until February 21 and Yang Xinhang​ is set to spend the next three years in New Zealand.

"He will spend all of Year 13 studying at Marlborough Boys' College before going on to university here to study computer animation," says Shu Chen.

For students arriving from the city of Yinchuan​, which has a population of 2 million, the visit has been an eye-opener.

Telling the mayor what it was they liked about Marlborough, blue skies and clean streets were high up the list.

Tan Zhen​ says she has never seen such cloudless skies.

"It is so clean I have walked in my bare feet for the first time. I have never seen such a clear blue sky." 

 - The Marlborough Express

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