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Gift from Guilin contains messages of support

frimley school guilin gift

A delivery of paintings from two schools in Guilin, Hastings’ Sister City in China, arrived at Frimley School yesterday, a gesture of support and encouragement from one country’s children to another.

The gift came about at the request of the Guilin Foreign Affairs office and also in reaction to seeing news footage of Cyclone Gabrielle, and the schools’ desire to send support to the people and children of Hastings offering encouragement and friendship.

In total, 64 paintings from Guilin Kuiguang School and Guilin Children's Palace were welcomed to Frimley School by the principal, 500 enthusiastic children, Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and councillor Kevin Watkins.

Mrs Hazlehurst said the paintings got wonderful feedback from students and staff alike.

“Not only were they enjoying looking at these bright, colourful artworks they were talking about all the details - the themes and images of Guilin and Hastings holding hands.

“This gesture from our Sister City Guilin highlights the real spirit of our relationship – connecting people to each other even over a long distance.

“I have sent our city’s thanks to Mr He Xin, the Vice Chairman of the Guilin Friendship Association with Foreign Countries, to warmly thank all those involved for this inspiring initiative.”

After having their first outing in the foyer of the Hastings District Council building, the paintings will now go on a roadshow of schools across the district – firstly Patoka School, then Hereworth School, St Matthew’s School and Hastings Intermediate.

Mr Watkins said he was sure many schools would take up the offer to enjoy and show off the paintings.

“There were wonderful messages of goodwill, and you could sense the genuine feeling behind the gift.

“Hastings also received a wonderful video from the choir at Kuiguang School – the best wishes of the children, teachers and wider Guilin community are hugely appreciated at this time.”

The Sister City relationship between Hastings and Guilin was formalised on March 4, 1981, by the mayors of the time: JJ O’Connor, Hastings, and Liang Shan, Guilin.

It has been a long and enduring relationship since that time, with very many cultural exchange visits, the sharing of important milestones, and opportunities for educational and trade initiatives.

It was the first Sister City relationship between a New Zealand city and a city in China. Find out more about the relationship and the province of Guilin here.

27 April 2023

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