On July 27, an event to mark the signing of the agreement was held at the Beehive in New Zealand’s parliament, hosted by Chris Hipkins, the country’s minister for education, coinciding with year long events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New Zealand–China diplomatic relations.
Jan Thomas, vice-chancellor of Massey University and chair of Universities New Zealand, said it was a “privilege” to sign the MoU.
“It is a measure of the important role the New Zealand Centre plays, and the esteem in which Peking University is held, that this renewed MoU signing and previous such occasions have been high-profile events involving government ministers from both countries,” added Thomas.
Many current and former New Zealand ambassadors to China and China experts from across New Zealand’s universities were among delegates at the ceremony, with other guests and speakers tuning in via Zoom.
The New Zealand Centre was established in 2007 with the aim of promoting the study of New Zealand in China and China in New Zealand and to strengthen ties between the two countries, while promoting mutual understanding and co-operation across the academic sector.
The Centre was initially a partnership with the University of Auckland, with the other seven New Zealand universities all joining by 2014 and the first MoU signed in 2016.
“The Centre has gone from strength to strength during its first 15 years and with this renewed MoU we look forward to it continuing to do so,” said Alister Jones, senior deputy vice-chancellor of Waikato University and chair of the New Zealand Advisory Board of the New Zealand Centre.
In a LinkedIn post discussing the event, Thomas reminded that from August 1, New Zealand’s visa processing will fully reopen for international students.
“We have missed the vibrancy and diversity they add, and the mixing and mingling of ideas and viewpoints that come when you bring people together from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences,” she added.