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Wife of China's Ambassador to New Zealand, Yang Pengbo, visits the National Library of New Zealand

On August 11, 2016, the wife of China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Yang Pengbo, was invited to visit the National Library of New Zealand. The Director of the Chinese Embassy’s Cultural Section, Shen Ming, and staff member Zheng Lin accompanied Ms Yang during the visit.

National Librarian Bill Macnaught and Senior Advisor Winston Roberts warmly welcomed Ms Yang Pengbo and the visiting diplomats from the Chinese Embassy. In particular, Mr Bill Macnaught noted the five-year friendly cooperation and academic exchange program carried out between the National Library of New Zealand and the National Library of China in recent years. Mr Macnaught also noted that the two Libraries will conclude the second five-year cooperative program to further advance cooperation and enhance communications next year.

During the visit to the Alexander Turnbull Library, Ms Yang Pengbo and the guests from the Chinese Embassy viewed the precious collections of Rewi Alley, including: student art work from the Shandan Bailie School founded by Mr Alley, his secondary school exercise books, photos of him during his stay in China and his photography works. Ms Yang Pengbo noted that, last year, during a visit companying the Governor General of New Zealand to the former residence of Soong Ching Ling in Beijing, she also saw valuable documents relating to Rewi Alley. Ms Yang was pleased to see Rewi Alley’s articles are preserved in such good conditions both in China and New Zealand. It is the best way to remember Mr Alley. Next year is the 120th anniversary of Rewi Alley’s birth, the 90th anniversary of his arrival in China and the 30th anniversary of his death. Mr Alley is an old friend of the Chinese people, and the Chinese people will never forget him.

Ms Yang Pengbo and the guests from the Chinese Embassy also visited some of the reading rooms of the National Library and the ‘Unfolding the Map’ exhibition. The exhibition illustrated the evolution of the content and pattern of maps from a cartographic perspective, displaying both traditional printed paper maps and digital maps of modern science and technology. The exhibition covers a wide range of areas including navigation, surveying, tourism and environmental protection. The exhibits are exquisite, meticulous and creative.

At the end of the visit, Ms Yang Pengbo noted that the National Library is an important platform to learn and understand a country. With China – New Zealand relations marching towards new levels, bilateral cultural and academic exchanges continue to advance. Ms Yang believed that the friendly cooperation between the two National Libraries would play a greater role in the promotion of bilateral exchanges.

The National Library of New Zealand was formed in 1965 when the Alexander Turnbull Library, the General Assembly Library, and the National Library Service were brought together. The National Librarian is appointed according to New Zealand’s law. In addition to the National Library in Wellington, there are branches of the National Library in Auckland and Christchurch.

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