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New Zealand PM: Education an “important way” to grow awareness, understanding

Peking University, Apr. 12, 2013: Visiting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key vowed closer educational ties with China.


“Our two education ministries are working together to see how we can assist China in its education reform and development plans,” said Key in his PKU address [FULL TEXT] on April 11.


It is natural that the two countries have a different perspective on some issues; “But the important thing is that we are able to express our views with openness, honesty, and respect,” said Key. “There is much that we can share and learn from one another.”


John Key in his speech


Key with PKU students


Speaking to PKU students and faculty members, the prime minister encouraged New Zealand students to study in China, “and we are very keen to see more young Chinese come to New Zealand.”


Education is an “important way to grow awareness and understanding between our two countries,” said Key in the speech on bilateral relations in education.


“Forty years ago, New Zealand provided three scholarships for Chinese students and China accepted three New Zealand students in return. Today, China is the largest source of international students in New Zealand, numbering over 24,000,” said Key. “In New Zealand schools, a growing number of young people are learning Chinese.”


The prime minister also noted that the country has “a code of practice to ensure a high standard of care for overseas students.” “We offer high-quality, cost-competitive schools and institutions in an English-language environment,” Key added. “Our educational institutions have growing links with their Chinese counterparts, including with Peking University.”


PKU Council Chairman Zhu Shanlu (L) and Key


PKU President Wang Enge (L) presents a photo of Key's 2009 speech as a gift (File photos)


PKU President Wang Enge welcomed the guest prior to his speech. “The deep and lasting friendship of China and New Zealand can be traced back to 1972. New Zealand was the first developed country with which China signed a free trade agreement,” said President Wang in his welcoming remark.


“To enhance the exchange and cooperation between the two countries, PKU has made its own contributions,” said the president. “In the past few decades, PKU has forged ties with several most prestigious universities in New Zealand such as Auckland University and Victoria University of Wellington, and the PKU New Zealand Center was founded in 2007 to propel further studies of New Zealand history and culture.”


“Dajia hao! Hello! Tēnā koutou!” Prime Minister Key greeted the audience in Chinese, English, and Māori as he started his speech.


New Zealand has seen a reawakening and revitalization of Māori culture and identity over the past decades, Key noted. “Compared with 40 years ago, a much greater proportion of the population identify as having Māori, Pacific, or Asian ethnicity.”


New Zealand has a lot to offer China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, said Key. “Our changing society means we have a shared stake in this region and its future.”


Co-sponsored by the PKU School of Government, Public Policy Forum International, and the New Zealand Center, it was John Key’s second speech at PKU as prime minister.


“He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata,” Key said in his first PKU address on April 15, 2009 titled “New Zealand and China: Our shared economic future.”


“What is the most important thing? It is people. It is people. It is people,” the prime minister translated the Māori proverb.



Written by: Li Chiyang and Jacques

Edited by: Jacques