Waimakariri's sister city on show

Dancers during a display of Tujia performance art at the opening.
Matthew Salmons/Fairfax NZ

Dancers during a display of Tujia performance art at the opening.

Waimakariri's sister city Enshi, China, showed off visions of its beautiful landscapes and varied peoples at an exhibition in Christchurch over the weekend.

The exhibition of 100 photos titled Enshi Vision in Oceania was held at Ara Institute, Christchurch, in the atrium of the Rakaia Building.

The images included photos of festivals, the towns of the region, the mist-shrouded mountains, snippets of day-to-day life, busy streets and people going about their days but also more personal images of individuals.

Chinese consul general to Christchurch Zhijian Jin points out a photo to deputy mayor of Enshi, Xianhong Zhang (in blue).
Supplied/Jianhuai Chem

Chinese consul general to Christchurch Zhijian Jin points out a photo to deputy mayor of Enshi, Xianhong Zhang (in blue).

Some of the 28 minority groups of Enshi, such as the Tujia and Miao, were also showcased in the photos.

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An image capturing the Enshi Grand Canyon by photographer Liu Quansheng.
Matthew Salmons/Fairfax NZ

An image capturing the Enshi Grand Canyon by photographer Liu Quansheng.

 Around 150 people attend the exhibition's opening on Saturday, including Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers, deputy mayor of Enshi Xianhong Zhang and Chinese consul general to Christchurch Zhijian Jin.

As well as the photos, there were cultural performances from the Enshi Ethnic Song and Dance Group, kapa haka from Ko Tahitanga Otautahi to open and close the ceremony and a buffet lunch for the guests.

NZ Hubei Economy Trade Culture Association president Yafei Zhou said the exhibit was a gift to celebrate the anniversary of the sister city partnership between Enshi and the Waimakariri district.

Ko Tahitanga Otautahi performing at the opening.
Supplied/Jianhuai Chem

Ko Tahitanga Otautahi performing at the opening.

"Although China and New Zealand are separated by vast oceans, the two peoples have enjoyed a long history of friendly exchanges," Zhou said.

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Last year, an exhibition of New Zealand photography was held in Enshi and in March a delegation including Enshi mayor Liu Fangzhen visited the Waimakariri.

Lu Hao, originally of Enshi, had lived in Christchurch for three months. She said she was proud to see her homeland represented at the exhibition.

Yafei Zhou (centre left) talking with Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers.
Matthew Salmons/Fairfax NZ

Yafei Zhou (centre left) talking with Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers.

"I'm so proud, the environment is very beautiful and the air is fresh. It attracts tourists from both home and abroad."

She said she could see similarities between Enshi and Canterbury; the scenery, friendly people and attractive culture.

David Ayers said in his speech that "photography is an art form which is international."

Dancers performing a song about catching crabs, a popular catch in Enshi.
Matthew Salmons/Fairfax NZ

Dancers performing a song about catching crabs, a popular catch in Enshi.

"I have believed since the beginning of the sister city agreement of our two communities, that cultural exchanges would increase the level of friendship and understanding between our two peoples. This exhibition is a wonderful example of how the people of Canterbury and Enshi can share our cultures," Ayers said.

Consul general Zhijian Jin said the relationship between the two districts had strengthened the bond between Canterbury and the wider Hubei Province, of which Enshi was part.

"China is a country of diversity and Enshi has its own unique charms, different to the eastern coast ... This exhibition is a good chance to experience Enshi if one has not been."

Guests and performers join Ko Tahitanga Otautahi for a rendition of Pokarekare Ana.
Supplied/Jianhuai Chem

Guests and performers join Ko Tahitanga Otautahi for a rendition of Pokarekare Ana.

Jin said he hoped the exhibition would encourage Cantabrians to visit Enshi.

"We may see closer interactions between Waimakariri and Enshi in the years to come," Jin said.

 

An image of women on an Enshi street by photographer Chen Nianshu.
Matthew Salmons/Fairfax NZ

An image of women on an Enshi street by photographer Chen Nianshu.

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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