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Art shout out for treasure chest

A shout out to all our wonderfully talented artists and crafters!

The Amazing China Hastings Year of Tourism project is well under way, and the next step is to send each of the participating regions of China a small gift that “sings Hastings”.

Hastings District councillor and project director Kevin Watkins’ preference is to send something made in Hastings that “goes to the heart of our beautiful district; telling our story”.

He is calling on the district’s artists and crafts people to submit ideas for the gift. “They will be going all across China and we expect they will be widely reported in media over there.”

The piece needs to be small, not much bigger than fist-sized, so it will fit inside a small ‘treasure chest’. It needs to be able to be replicated up to 33 times within a relatively short time-frame, said Mr Watkins.

“We have any number of amazingly talented people here and we would very much like to showcase that talent in a piece that truly represents Hastings. I think, because of the tight time-frames, that it may be something that an artist is already making, but it could be something specifically for this.”

More than a third of the 33 regions of China had signed up to the project, and after an official celebration of the project in Beijing on June 18, Mr Watkins says he expects many of the remaining regions to come on board.

The project will see each of the participating regions receive the gift from Hastings, after which each will send Hastings a treasure chest containing something that uniquely represents their region.

The chests from China will be prominently displayed in Hastings, initially unopened. “There is an excellent reason for that,” said Mr Watkins. “We envisage that the chests will be part of a fantastic secondary school competition which helps our students learn much more about China and all of its beauty.

“As with previous Amazing China Face Race competitions, Hastings students will need to use all of their researching skills, solving clues on China’s culture, geography, history and people, to match the gifts with the region they have come from. The first three students to correctly match all of the gifts with their home region will win a grand prize.”

The Amazing China Hastings Year of Tourism is officially endorsed by the New Zealand Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis, Tourism New Zealand, and The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It is part of the China New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019, an initiative agreed to by China’s Premier Li Keqiang and the New Zealand Government in 2017.

On the official website New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism will “strengthen the already deep ties” between the two countries.

For New Zealand, “it is an opportunity to showcase to China what makes Aotearoa a world-class destination: Stunning national landscapes, unique experiences and products, and maanakitanga, our warm and friendly Kiwi welcome”, Ms Ardern said.

Fort Hastings, it is about building cultural understanding on which tourism and trade relationships can be developed, said Mr Watkins. “Given Hasting’s strong ties with China – we were the first city to form a sister-city relationship with a city [Guilin] in China - it made sense for us to make the very best of this opportunity,” he said.

The district has strong economic links with China, through horticulture exports and international education, and many friendly-city relationships.

Ideas for the gift, including approximate size, cost and a paragraph explaining its significance to Hastings, need to be emailed to by June 14.

12 August 2019

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