Gansu Province — relationship with Selwyn extends back to Rewi Alley

Sister act

by Mike Isle

‘Sister’ similarities in China could lead to opportunities for local business, says council delegation.

The four-person delegation has just returned from a 20-day trip to China and Japan, as part of the Sister City Programme, which aims to promote cultural understanding, cooperation and economic development.

Mayor Sam Broughton, who led the delegation, said that while in China’s Gansu Province the delegation saw a number of industries Selwyn businesses could identify with and potentially form relationships with.

“What we saw in Gansu Province was an area that farmed grain and lamb, as well as producing wine.

“It was fascinating to see so many parallels between some of our key export earners and what one of our sister cities produces,” he said.

Mayor Broughton undertook to investigate how to take advantage of the similarities, saying that he and the council will be looking at ways local businesses can develop relationships with firms in Gansu.

Selwyn’s relationship with Gansu stems from a common association through New Zealander Rewi Alley, who was born in Selwyn in 1897. Alley, through his literary writings on Chinese industry and communist philosophy, became an icon in the Shandan County, Gansu Province, China where he lived for 60 years.

As well as Gansu, which is located in north-central China, Selwyn has Sister City status with population centres in Japan and the United States.