PM celebrates NZ National Day at Shanghai Expo

  • John Key
Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key is celebrating New Zealand National Day at the Shanghai Expo.

Mr Key is on a 10 day visit to the Republic of Korea, China and Viet Nam.

While at the Expo, Mr Key will take part in formal ceremonies involving senior Chinese and Expo officials and visit the New Zealand, China, Korea and Viet Nam Pavilions.

"The spot light will be on New Zealand and this is a great opportunity to promote our nation in China. Already the New Zealand Pavilion has been making a big impact," says Mr Key.

The centrepiece of celebrations at New Zealand Day is the gifting to the people of China of a Waharoa - a carved entranceway in the shape of a waka or canoe.

"The Waharoa will be a visible and lasting symbol of the strengthening ties between New Zealand and China," says Mr Key.

"It will be used to promote tourism and the cultural experiences that Chinese visitors can expect when they come to New Zealand."

The Waharoa is 10 metres long, weighs several tonnes and has been carved on the forecourt of the New Zealand Expo Pavilion by two teams of carvers from Te Puia over the past two months.

A one-metre high replica, which was carved from the same log, was presented to Premier Wen in Beijing on Wednesday.

The final home of the Waharoa will be the Baoshan Folk Museum, which is a new cultural and teaching institution being built in Shanghai.