Huangshi, Hubei, PRC

Link established in 1995

Huangshi (pronounced Hwong-shir), Hubei (Hoo-bay) Province, in the People's Republic of China, was first sought out as a Sister City for Nelson in 1992 by the Nelson Branch of the New Zealand-China Friendship Society (NZCFS). Subsequently, in May, 1994, Mayor Phillip Woollaston, accompanied by his wife Chan, three NZCFS members and two other citizens, visited Huangshi to sign an intention of establishing a 'friendly city relationship'.

Following this visit Mayor Woollaston reported to the Nelson City Council on its success. The Council of the day shared the Mayor's enthusiasm for the continued development of friendly links between the two cities and the fostering of co-operation between economic, educational, cultural and other institutions and citizens groups in Nelson and Huangshi.

In November, 1994, a public meeting was called, attended by 41 people, to discuss ways of strengthening the links between Nelson and Huangshi. From this a group was set up to pull together the elements for a successful visit from a delegation from Huangshi, due in the city the following May.

However, the visit from Huangshi was postponed until 6-11 November, 1995. On 10 November the Huangshi Mayor Ren Shimao and Mayor Woollaston signed an agreement on the establishment of a friendly city relationship between the city of Nelson, NZ and Huangshi city, Hubei, PRC.

Huangshi history

The Huangshi Municipality, founded in 1950 (and opened to the outside world at the beginning of the 1990s) is situated on the south bank of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and currently administers Daye City, Yangxin County and four urban districts. It has a generally warm climate with four distinctive seasons and is set in an attractive landscape of mountains, hills and lakes. Its current population is 2.5 million.

Huangshi is a mineral rich area which is known in China as the "treasure basin". Huangshi means "yellow stone", as it has a 3000-year-old history of copper mining and is the birth place of Chinese bronze culture. The well-preserved Tonglushan Ancient Copper Mine and Smelting Relics adjacent to a huge open cast modern mine are among the many outstanding sights of the area.

Friendly City Exchanges

In addition to the original establishment exchanges in 1994 and 1995 led by Mayor Woollaston and Mayor Ren Shimao, there has been a visit to Huangshi by Mayor Paul Matheson in 2001, accompanied by a councillor, and members of the business and farming community.

This was followed by a visit to Nelson in 2002 by Mayor Xiao Xuming and group. They attended a performance of WOW, visited the WOW Centre, and Mayor Xiao unveiled a huge significant rock from the Takaka Hill to mark the establishment of the Chinese Scholar's Garden in Nelson's central city Queen's Gardens.

As well as the Mayoral visits, Nelson has also hosted two Hubei Provincial Delegations. The members were senior administrative leaders from throughout the province. Both groups were led by the Chairman of the Hubei Provincial People's Consultative Conference, which represents the 60 million population of Hubei . A Huangshi Vice Mayor was included in each group.

In 1999 Deputy Mayor Jo Raine and Councillor Tui France met the group; in 2004 the group had lunch with Mayor Matheson and Councillors as part of their programme.

Since early 1995 there have been another 18 exchanges between Nelson and Huangshi representing table tennis; women's affairs; kindergartens, primary, middle, high schools and polytechs (including individuals or groups of principals, teachers, students and District Education Officials); Municipal staff; a journalist; Maori Women's Federation representatives; horticulture; and exchange of art displays.

In April, 2005, a delegation of six women representing various sectors of the Nelson community travelled to Huangshi to exchange ideas on their particular career interests.

2006 Huangshi delegates arrive

A delegation from friendly city Huangshi in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), visited Nelson in May 2006. Hosted by Nelson Branch of the New Zealand-China Friendship Society (NZCFS), the representatives from government, health, education and commerce visited the Whakatu Marae, Nelson Hospital, Nelson Boy’s College, met with business leaders and did some sightseeing.

Mayor Paul Matheson and Councillors hosted the group at a lunch at Warwick House. Ms Zhou Weifen, Deputy Mayor Huangshi Municipal People’s Government spoke poignantly in an address to Civic leaders at the function. “Even though we have different languages and different cultures, we share the same blue sky, the same brown earth, the same heart.” 

Friendly City agreement

Agreement on the Establishment of A Friendly City relationship Between the City of Nelson, New Zealand and Huangshi City, Hubei, People’s Republic of China

In keeping with the principles of the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and New Zealand, and for the purpose of furthering and developing friendly and cooperative relations and advancing mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of People’s Republic of China and New Zealand through friendly discussions, the City of Nelson, New Zealand and Huangshi City Hubei, People’s Republic of China agree to establish a friendly city relationship.

The above parties are willing to, in keeping with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, jointly promote friendly contacts between the peoples of our two cities, promote and encourage mutual economic and trade activities and to actively develop mutual exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, sports, health, education and other fields.

Huangshi Chinese Garden at Queens Garden

The Huangshi Chinese Garden in Queens Garden was officially opened on 14 November 2007 with ten delegates from Nelson’s Friendly City, Huangshi, in the Hubei Province of China, in attendance along with Mayor Kerry Marshall and representatives from Nelson City Council.  Commissioned in 2001, the garden symbolises Nelson’s relationship with Huangshi. Read more about the establishment of the Huangshi Chinese Garden.

New Zealand China Friendship Society

Read the latest newsletters from the New Zealand China Friendship Society Inc. – Nelson Branch below. 

More about Huangshi

Find out more about Huangshi at the Huangshi Municipal People's Government website.