The relationship between Hastings and Dezhou dates back to 2013, with the civic leaders of Hastings meeting in New Zealand and in China over the next two years. The two cities officially became Friendship Cities in 2017. The aim of Friendship Cities is to build understanding and friendship leading to mutual benefit through civic and community exchanges focused on trade, agriculture, education, health care, tourism and culture.
Located in eastern China, Dezhou is the northern entryway to Shandong Province. More than 5.7 million people live in Dezhou, which covers more than 10,000 square kilometres.
Dezhou has a long history, with humans settling there some 4000 years ago. Traditionally an important transport, logistics and manufacturing centre, today it is developing into a stunning tourism city. Highlights include the Oulebao Theme Park, hot springs, the Yellow River, historic buildings, primary produce, and cultural offerings.
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