Coastal walkway one of Betty's darlings

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 02/01/2014
Betty Leung
CHARLOTTE CURD

Betty Leung, president of the Taranaki Chinese association shows us her favorite place in Taranaki the Kunming Friendship Garden.

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Betty Leung is an expert when it comes to showing off Taranaki's attractions to her overseas friends.

Mrs Leung's guests from China and Hong Kong will be whisked away to the New Plymouth coastal walkway, Lake Mangamahoe, Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, the Kunming Garden in Brooklands, Puke Ariki, a visit to Mt Taranaki, and finished off with lunch at Okurukuru Winery.

Asked if she considers herself a tour guide, Mrs Leung said she could probably qualify as one as she has lived in New Plymouth for almost 37 years. Mrs Leung is the president for the Taranaki branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association and was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in 2010 for her services to the Chinese community.

Lake Mangamahoe and Kunming Garden are two of Mrs Leung's favourite Taranaki spots, She holds the garden close to her heart.

"It's something different and also quite significant because it represents the relationship between Kunming and New Plymouth," Mrs Leung said.

The garden was opened in 2005. a gift from the city of Kunming.

She said rapport between New Plymouth and Kunming was already in place prior to the sister-city relationship which was formed in 2003. "Pukeiti had a relationship with the gardens in Kunming and they would often exchange plants."

Mrs Leung enjoys Lake Mangamahoe for its scenery. "It's lovely there. When my children were little we'd often go there for a picnic, we'd bring some bread and feed the ducks."

Mrs Leung said guests, when taken for a stroll along the coastal walkway, praised the view. "The feeling you get when you're down at the walkway, it's overwhelming with the waves hitting the stones. It's peaceful and quiet and clean."

When Mrs Leung is not showing her visitors around town, she can be found relaxing at home. "I don't drink or smoke and I'm a vegetarian so it's not much fun to hang out in a bar."

But Mrs Leung would never turn down the chance for a delicious meal outside. "We like to eat out," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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