Mayoral delegations to Asia

Delegations between Wellington and China have resulted in increased prosperity for both.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown meets the Mayor of Sakai in July 2011.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown meets the Mayor of Sakai in July 2011

2014 delegation to China and Japan

In May 2014, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown led a delegation of 30 organisations, including businesses and education providers, to China and Japan.

This delegation aims to strengthen existing relationships with partners and customers in China and Japan, as well as establish new relationships that will result in business growth. 

A key focus of this delegation is on the education sector, in which Wellington is actively growing the market share of international students in New Zealand.

2012 delegation to China


In May 2012, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Jo Coughlan led a delegation of Wellington businesses to Beijing, where they attended the inaugural China International Fair for Trade in Services. The delegation featured 39 representatives from Wellington businesses and the Council.

News - 39 People on Mayoral Delegation to China - 23.05.12

Beijing and Wellington share a close sister-city relationship; Mayor Wade-Brown visited Beijing at the invitation of former Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong and was a guest of the city during her visit.

After the trip

Deals signed

Some significant deals were signed after the trip including:

  • The Village Goldsmith agreeing to design unique engagement rings for the 300-store 'I Do' bridal shop chain throughout China
  • Airways New Zealand signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing to pave the way for training Chinese air traffic controllers in New Zealand
  • Whitireia Polytechnic set up a cooperation agreement with China's Capital University of Physical Education and Sports that will see Chinese students coming to Wellington for outdoor adventure programmes

News - Results from China Trip - 11.06.12

Chinese delegation visits Wellington

A 180-strong Chinese delegation from Zhejiang visited Wellington in early September 2012 as a direct result of the mayoral delegation earlier this year.

As part of the trip, the delegation signed a new strategic economic partnership agreement with the region's mayors. The agreement is expected to increase opportunities for trade, study, exchanges and mutual understanding between between the regions.

The delegation also met with Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop and business representatives from the Wellington region.

Zhejiang, on China's southeast coast, has a population of 54 million and an economy the size of Sweden's.

News - Capital Hosts Biggest-ever Chinese Delegation - 06.09.12

Benefits to businesses

Benefits to businesses travelling with a mayoral delegation include:

  • New Zealand mayors can play an important role in opening doors in China as mayors of Chinese cities have significant political power and influence.
  • A business delegation led by a high-ranking political figure gets more traction (NZ Inc China Strategy).

2011 delegation to China and Japan

In July 2011, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Jo Coughlan led a 31-member delegation to China and Japan.

The delegation's aim on the 10-day trip was to grow relationships and consolidate business and cultural ties with these countries.

The delegation visited Sakai in Japan and Beijing, Tianjin, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong in China.

To view photos of the delegation's trip, see:

2011 Mayoral Trip to China and Japan - Flickr

Delegation members

The delegation members represented local businesses including those in healthcare, TV production, IT and renewable energy. The delegation also included representatives from Victoria University, Massey University, Whitireia Polytechnic and Te Papa.

Delegation Members (60KB PDF) | Text version (15KB RTF)

Focal points

In particular, the trip focused on:

  • city-to-city relations
  • business opportunities
  • smart and green technologies
  • a direct long-haul air connection between Wellington and south-east Asia.

After the trip

Direct air flights to Asia

Developing a Long-haul Attraction Fund is one of the priorities in the Council's Economic Development Strategy to help secure direct flights from Wellington to Asia by 2013.

Gift of 100 mountain bikes

The Mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong gifted 100 mountain bikes to Wellington. The gift of the bicycles was to recognise that 2011 is the 5th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Wellington and Beijing.

New fabric from rice waste and wool

The Formary built on relationships developed while on the mayoral delegation to create a new fabric from a blend of waste rice straw and New Zealand strong wool.

New Fabric Developed in Wellington Helps China with Waste - Scoop

Background information

The delegation was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This report on the trip was presented to Council's Strategy and Policy Committee:

Report Back on Mayoral Delegation to China and Japan in July 2011 (80KB PDF)

Importance of trade with China

New Zealand signed a free-trade agreement with China in 2008 - and was the first developed country to do so. Since then, business between the two nations has boomed.

China has overtaken the United States as New Zealand's second-largest export market.