21 Dec 2015

Grand New Opening - the China Cultural Centre

From Voices, 3:30 pm on 21 December 2015

It is the indoor centre to compliment the outdoor Chinese garden, all strategically placed close to Wellington's waterfront - Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington.

The location of the China Cultural Centre is strategic – close to Te Papa and Wellington’s waterfront and with the building of a new Chinese Garden it appears there are many benefits that come with embracing Chinese culture, including economic ones says Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown.

The red carpet is out, the lions are dancing and the Guangdong National Orchestra of China are here at the Capital especially for the occasion. Dedicated to promoting Chinese culture through art and performance and strengthening ties between China and New Zealand a new China Cultural Centre (or CCC) is opening on Wakefield Street in Wellington.

It’s the second centre of its kind in Oceania, the first opened in Sydney three years ago. The CCC aims to be an invaluable resource and venue for the public and for events related to the Chinese community across the country.

I’m at the launch speaking with the new Director of the CCC, Mr Guo Zhonguang. He tells me the centre will be a major venue for annual festivals, visiting Chinese writers, academics and artists.

Children from the Wellington Chinese Women’s Association present their song and dance and then the Guangdong National Orchestra of China perform Pokarekare Ana to a pleased audience. Mr Ding Wei, the vice Minister Chinese Ministry of Culture officially reveals the plaque and speaks about the importance of deepening cultural ties.

Representing the Chinese Embassy Charge d’affaire Mr Qu Guangzhou explains how important it is to encourage the West to appreciate the ancient history of Chinese art that predates the Renaissance.

Culture as a bridge for relationships between people is the key driver for the New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Chief Executive Paul James tells me that the centre will be an invaluable resource for the New Zealand Chinese community too, providing regular language classes and tutor led sessions in calligraphy, Tai Chi, Chinese cooking and so on.

Dressed appropriately Master of Martial Arts Hong Wei Guoa introduces himself, he looks forward to teaching Tai Chi at the centre.

Paul Sun, the Second Secretary from the Chinese Embassy helps translate for Mr Li Sheng, Director of the Shandong Art Museum with a large two-part exhibition of the best art by contemporary Chinese artists from across China.

The location at 259 Wakefeild Street means that regardless of renovations the centre will stay open to the public, especially for the festivals like the upcoming Chinese New Year in early February next year.

For lovers of Chinese art, the exhibition from Shandong will be displayed until late January next year. With the new China Cultural Centre it will be a case of 'watch this space...!'