1 May 2010

Huge value seen in NZ's Expo exposure

10:04 pm on 1 May 2010

New Zealanders have been assured they are getting value for money out of the country's $30m pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, which opened amid great pageantry on Saturday.

The Government footed the bulk of the bill for the pavilion, with sponsorship from Solid Energy, Zespri and Haier.

This country's Commissioner-General for the Expo, Phillip Gibson, says New Zealanders will get a direct return on the investment.

Forty thousand visitors a day translates into seven million people over six months, Mr Gibson says, and many of those will want to visit New Zealand or send their children there for education.

He says that business people who come will say "If that's the way New Zealanders operate, then these are the sorts of people that I'd be comfortable doing business with."

Carvers putting finishing touches to waka

Meanwhile, five carvers have been putting the finishing touches to a 10-metre memorial waka that will serve as the entrance to the pavilion.

The carvers, from Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, are working under the eye of thousands of daily visitors.

Te Puia visitor manager Karl Johnstone says about two-thirds of the work on the 3500-year-old kauri log has been done. He told Waatea News the Maori contribution should help the $30 million pavilion stand out from the others.

An 1800kg pounamu boulder stands at the entrance of the triangle-shaped pavilion and a roof top garden contains 3000 native plants.

Chinese media have called the New Zealand pavilion a "must see". It is next to China's bright red pagoda exhibit.

The Expo is open from 1 May to 31 October.