May 24, 2018, 4:47 p.m.
China visits Te Taitokerau. The Trade and Investment Forum at the Copthorne Hotel in Waitangi was hosted by the Consul-General for the People’s Republic of China in Auckland, Madame Xu Erwen. The investment meeting was attended by elected members of The Far North District Council (FNDC), local iwi representatives of Te Taitokerau, and over 20 Chinese business representatives who are looking at how and where to invest in Northlands Economy. Chinese business people took to the forum stage to give 5 minute 'lightning talks' introducing themselves and the industries they work in. These talks were complimented by local northlanders leading in their respective business areas.
Madam Xu discussed opportunities for mutually beneficial trade, tourism and investment cooperation under China's Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese business leaders emphasised how Far North businesses and Māori can benefit from an initiative designed to promote closer links with China.
Far North Mayor John Carter said that until now, conversations with the Far North and China have mostly been at a government level. The FNDC has already signed a joint memorandum of intent with Chinese company Tus Holdings regarding a $1 billion investment and council officials visited the country last year. The purpose of today's forum is to extend the depth and breadth of the engagement with Chinese officials and companies.
Will Māori benefit from the agreement and Chinese investment in the Northland region? Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine, and Dick Dargaville of Ngāpuhi drew the forums attention to the large tracts of Māori land, forestry and authentic Māori tourism opportunites in the wider Taitokerau.