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July 10, 2010

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Kiwis gift Maori canoe to city

THE big canoe in front of the New Zealand Pavilion will stay in Shanghai after the Expo, authorities said yesterday.

The gift was a special feature of the country's Pavilion Day yesterday, with Prime Minister John Key presenting the Maori canoe to Shanghai.

Si Fumin, director of suburban Baoshan District, accepted on behalf of the city.

The canoe, which was carved over the last two months in front of the pavilion, will be moved to Baoshan International Folk Art Exhibition Hall in Gucun Park in September, a spokesman said.

The 10-meter long, 3-meter wide vessel, also known as Te Kakano which means "seed," consists of the canoe cenotaph, which represents the relationship between New Zealand and China, and a traditional, permanently open access point which represents a pathway between the two nations.

After carvers finished the canoe's preparatory work in New Zealand, it was shipped to the World Expo site and worked on continually in front of the pavilion.

"We wanted to signify the Chinese community's journey to New Zealand and back to China," said the canoe's master carver, James Rickard. "It also represents a journey, from now to another point in time."

Prime Minister Key also yesterday presented gifts to three Chinese tourists who had traveled to New Zealand and uploaded their photos and experiences on a designated website.

"Their work ranked the top three among all Chinese tourists in perfectly matching the philosophy of New Zealand tourism," an official said.

Key said China is an important market for New Zealand tourism and he hoped more Chinese people could get a taste of the country.

The Pavilion Day celebration also featured a characteristic performance last night, which took the viewers on a journey of the country through song, film and dance.

Since its opening, more than 1.6 million people have visited the pavilion.


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