Business Leaders Join Wellington's China Delegation

3 June 2010

A large group of business leaders from the Wellington region - representing industries ranging from film, forestry and fashion to healthcare for the aged - are leaving for China this Saturday 5 June in a delegation led by Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

The group will be the biggest New Zealand regional delegation to make use of the New Zealand Pavilion at the giant Shanghai Expo, which opened last month.

Mayor Prendergast says the delegation has three clear goals: "To make new business contacts, grow relationships, and secure deals".

Oscar-winning Weta Workshop Director Richard Taylor, film company owner Dave Gibson, fashion designer Robyn Mathieson and Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson are among the delegation.

Mayor Prendergast says the group also includes representatives from a wide range of local companies that either already have a foothold in the massive Chinese market or are making their first trip to look to establish business there (see below for the full line-up).

"New Zealand was the first developed country to sign a free-trade agreement with China two years ago - and since then business between the two nations has boomed. Only a few weeks ago it was confirmed that China had overtaken the United States as our second-largest export market. This is why so many local businesspeople are joining us."

Mayor Prendergast says she has been criticised in some local quarters for leading the delegation. "However I am going for the simple reason that mayors carry a level of prestige in China that enables us to open doors. This means members of the delegation will be able to talk to city and government officials in China in a way that they would never do if they flew there alone."

Mayor Prendergast says that having talked to delegation members, she is aware that many lucrative business deals or proposals will be discussed during the trip. "These have the potential to bring millions of dollars into the Wellington regional economy and I will do my best to help them get the access they need to the right people in order to hopefully bring them to fruition."

She says that one of the principal reasons the delegation has been formed is to help local businesspeople form or strengthen relationships with their Chinese counterparts and to learn the Chinese ways of doing business "which can be very different to what we're familiar with.

"The Chinese way is all about forming relationships, gaining trust - the long game, rather than the quick-fire way we often do business in the West.

"The concept of reciprocity is also important in China - being able to help out your business partners and then enabling them to return the favour.

"New Zealand businesses, when aiming to make money in China, should always set mid to long-term ROI (return on investment) expectations and visit regularly.

"If members of this delegation want to make good on any openings they find on this trip, they should be booking to return there within six months - otherwise they risk seeing the trail go cold."

The 10-day trip, departing 5 June will take in Wellington's Sister Cities, Beijing and Xiamen, and Friendly City Tianjin. Three days will be spent in Shanghai at the Expo.

Delegation Members


Richard Taylor - Weta Workshop

Tania Rodger - Weta Workshop

Michelle Turner - independent filmmaker

Tom Greally - Park Road Post

Dave Gibson - Gibson Group

Stephen Richardson - Gibson Group

Eric Zhang - Gibson Group

Doug Catley - Healthcare NZ

Jos Ruffell - Sidhe Interactive

Charmaine Love - Kia Kaha Clothing

Dan Love - Kia Kaha Clothing

Robyn Mathieson - Robyn Mathieson Design

Kelly Wang - Kelly Media International

Benny Ma - Kelly Media International

Ian Cassels - The Wellington Company

Caitlin Taylor - The Wellington Company

Andrew Bascand - Bascand Estate Wines

Sue Bascand - Bascand Estate Wines

Gwyn Thomas - Bascand Estate Wines

Stiphan Beher - James Cook Hotel

John Dey - Forme Consulting Group

Qing Tian - Phoenix International

Tony Drawbridge - Izzat Design

Chris Wilson - Chris Wilson and Associates

Ben van Rooy - Trade Point Distribution

Guo Qiao Hong - Trade Point Distribution

Linda Lim - Asian Events Trust

Rita Tom - Asian Events Trust

Stephanie Tims - Asian Events Trust

Emily Swan - Ramp Ltd

Peter Chen - Tang Ming Group

Ray Chung - Tekron International

Hal Josephson - Tynax ANZ

Leigh Hunt - Cervadon Ltd

Elise Webster - Cervadon Ltd

Wellington Chinese Garden Society

Esther Fung

Wellington Xiamen Association

David Tai

Chris Lipscombe (also Ground Zero Ltd)

Asia New Zealand Foundation - Young Leaders

Keiran Brown

TingTing Chen

Christopher Foulkes

Kerryn-Ruth Botting

Onnuri Lee

Maadhvi Patel

Grace Kim

Conal McMahon

Cultural Delegation


Jan Nauta

Tanemahuta Gray

Hemi Ruru

Amanda Noblett

Lemau Luliano

Highlights of the Day-by-day Itinerary

Sunday 6 June - Beijing

  • Arrive Beijing 8.00am
  • Business meetings
  • Wellington wine-tasting function (Bascand Wines Ltd), at New Zealand Ambassador's residence.

Monday 7 June - Beijing

  • Business meetings
  • Meeting with the Mayor of Beijing (Mr Guo Jinlong), signing of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation between Beijing and Wellington including the proposed Chinese Garden on Wellington's waterfront
  • Beijing Government welcome function

Tuesday 8 June - Beijing/Tianjin

  • Business meeting with the All China Youth Federation
  • Train travel to Tianjin (about 30 minutes)
  • Tianjin business meetings - including earthquake-engineering discussions, meeting with Tianjin TV executives, and inspection of Tianjin port facilities
  • Tianjin Mayoral Banquet.

Wednesday 9 June - Shanghai

  • Arrive Shanghai 12 noon
  • Young Leaders' Forum meeting
  • Delegation welcomed to New Zealand Pavilion - Shanghai Expo
  • Wellington Cultural VIP Evening at NZTE Centre (NZ Central).

Thursday 10 June - Shanghai

  • Business meetings
  • DLA Phillips Fox workshop - doing business in China - and the law
  • CD launch by Wellington musician Elena
  • Sister cities lunch
  • Gibson Group function
  • New Zealand Film Night

Friday 11 June - Shanghai

  • ANZ workshop - doing business in China
  • Visit to Cisco Pavilion
  • Farewell dinner for delegation

Saturday 12 June - Xiamen

  • Wellington Xiamen Association event
  • Meeting with the Mayor of Xiamen and MOU signing
  • Xiamen Government Banquet

Sunday 13 June

  • Return flights to New Zealand

Keeping in Touch with the Delegation