Taichung City and Auckland, a city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island, have been sister cities for numerous years. Aimee Jephson, who was appointed as the new deputy director of New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office Taipei in February this year, visited Taichung City Government today (November 18). The delegation was received by Taichung City Deputy Mayor Bruce Linghu, and both parties exchanged opinions on agendas pertaining to firefighting, trade, economy, and indigenous people and film industry-related issues within the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC). Besides introducing Taichung City's industry, commerce, natural landscape, and tourist attractions, Deputy Mayor Linghu also hopes to facilitate collaborations in talent development and technology in order to strengthen bilateral interactions.
According to Linghu, Taichung has an indigenous population of approximately 35,000, and most of them have moved to the plains in search of employment or education. As a result, 87.76% of the indigenous population has ended up in urban areas. With the government's welfare benefits and assistance, the indigenous community enjoys comprehensive social security. In regards to firefighting collaborations, the city government was invited by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand in early October this year to attend the Experience Exchange Between Firefighters From Taiwan and New Zealand event, and today's activity aims to facilitate further understanding and learning between Taichung and New Zealand through firefighting and disaster relief cooperation.
Deputy Mayor Linghu pointed out that Taichung's pleasant climate, abundant natural landscape, and urban settings are key criteria for developing the film industry. Consequently, Taichung has a thriving film industry, and the Central Taiwan Film Studio in Wufeng is equipped with the wave pool used for filming Life of Pi, a deepwater tank, 2 studios (largest in the country), and a medium-sized studio, offering a versatile selection of filming equipment, sets, and resources. A city hall delegation visited New Zealand in August this year to observe and learn from the local film industry, hoping to co-produce films and seek collaborative opportunities.
Linghu also mentioned that interactions in the private sectors are also booming, with frequent academic interactions between CYUT, OCU, NCUT, THU, FCU, LTU, and New Zealand universities. The city government has played a proactive role in facilitating interschool collaborations. In addition, Taichung has hosted a multitude of festivities including the Pearl Milk Tea Festival, Shopping Festival, 2019 Rockin Taichung, Jazz Festival, and International Dance Carnival to facilitate international cooperation. The main exhibition area of next year's 2020 Taiwan Lantern Festival will be located in Houli, embodying the vivacity and culture of Taichung. The people of New Zealand are all welcome to come to Taichung to participate in the event.
According to Aimee Jephson, Taichung is a city of rich cultures and varied landscapes, and it has formed a profound friendship with Auckland. He expressed his commitments to continue collaborations between the 2 cities in areas such as trade, economy, cultural festivals, and the tourism industry. Furthermore, the aborigines in New Zealand are genetically connected to the Taiwanese indigenous people, thus bilateral exchanges between them will be fostered in order to carry on the development of indigenous culture.
New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office Taipei Deputy Director Aimee Jephson, his assistant, and other delegates visited the city hall today, and they were received by Deputy Mayor Linghu, Indigenous Affairs Commission Commissioner Lin I-Liu, Fire Bureau Deputy Director-General Tai Chun-Kun as well as representatives from the Economic Development Bureau, Information Bureau, and Secretariat. Both parties engaged in dialogues to discuss various agendas amidst a cordial, pleasant ambiance.