TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE IN A MODERN STREET
Prior to the signing of a formal sister city agreement, the links between Kunming, Yunnan Province and New Plymouth District involved regular contact between the horticulture, education and business sectors.
We have hosted official groups from Kunming of officials from the education, police, corrections, health and local government sectors. Similarly, Kunming’s local government has hosted delegations from the Council.
A formal sister city relationship began in 2003 after the agreement and memorandum of understanding was signed in New Plymouth on 11 August 2003 and in Kunming on 8 October 2003.
During the sister city signing celebrations in New Plymouth, the Mayor of Kunming gifted a garden to the city’s people. In collaboration with landscape professionals from the Council a team of designers from the Kunming Landscaping Bureau created a traditional Chinese garden within Pukekura Park. The garden features a moongate entrance and pavilion connected by a meandering pathway. Chinese species were used to emphasise the landscape character. Costs of building the garden were met by the Kunming Municipal Government. We hosted the Kunming construction team during their stay in New Plymouth.Return to top
LocationKunming is the capital of the Yunnan province in south-west China. It is skirted on three sides by mountains, with one side opening onto the Dianchi Lake. Kunming is located on a 2km high. The jurisdiction of Kunming has an area of 6,200 square km, including five city districts, one city and eight rural counties.Kunming is the hub of communications in Yunnan and a gateway to China for southeast Asia. ClimateThe city is nicknamed “City of Spring” due to it always being spring-like in Kunming. The reasons for this are its elevation and location just north of the tropic of cancer. The average temperature in winter is 8ĒC and 20ĒC in summer.PopulationKunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Twenty five ethnic minorities live in the area. This is nearly half of the total number of ethnic minorities in China.EconomyTourism is a key part of Kunming as it is one of the major cities that mainland Chinese go to as tourists, with more than 16 million Chinese visiting it per year and another 600,000 foreign tourists visiting annually. The city's produce includes foodstuffs, trucks, machine tools, electrical equipment, textiles, chemicals, building materials and plastics, and it has its own steel plant.Return to topHorticultureKunming is a significant horticultural centre in China, providing products such as grain, wheat, horsebeans, corn, potato and fruit such as peaches, apples, oranges, grapes and chestnuts. Kunming is world-famous for its flowers and flower-growing exports. More than 400 types of flowers are commonly grown in Kunming. The camellia, yulan magnolica, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of the city.The horticulture sector in Kunming and Taranaki have close ties. The Kunming Botanical Institute and Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust established a relationship over a decade ago. This produces exchanges of botanical information as well as a number of specialist tour group exchanges.A key part of the relationship is the exchange of seed material and sharing of research and knowledge. Pukeiti is helping protect the genetic stock of rare plants found in Yunnan Province by growing these plants on the slopes of the Pukeiti Range. If these plants ever disappear from Yunnan, the can be restocked from the Pukeiti material. Similarly, the Kunming Botanical Institute is growing New Zealand plants in Yunnan as part of the conservation project.Kunming Botanical Institute coordinates and leads tours from Pukeiti around Yunnan gardens. Pukeiti has sponsored a Kunming scientist at Massey University to study the genetic finger-printing of camellias.DevelopmentThe city continues to develop rapidly during the modernisation efforts of China. Kunming's streets have widened while office buildings and housing projects develop at a fast pace. Kunming has been designated a Special Tourism Centre and as such has proliferating high-rises and luxury hotels.Return to topHistoryKunming has a rich history going back 2000 years. It was a remote outpost within China until the eighth century, when it became a secondary capital of the kingdom of Nanzhao which was centred to the northwest of it at Dali. Kunming obtained wide fame during the Ming dynasty, and during World War II it was a key point on the Burma Road.Education linksOne of the first exchange programmes between a New Zealand secondary school and a Chinese middle school was established between New Plymouth District and Kunming.Every year, Kunming Number 15 Middle School and Inglewood High School exchange students who live with host families and attend classes at their host school. Some Kunming students, who have experienced life in Inglewood, have returned to New Plymouth to study at the Pacific International Hotel Management School.A number of educational institutions have developed strong links with Kunming and other parts of China. Education Taranaki and local education providers have worked hard to establish a New Plymouth identity in Kunming. This work was facilitated by the sister city links with Kunming.
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