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Public invited to hear about strengthening ties to Wuhan gardens

10 August 2006

Reports of China rushing to develop no matter the environmental fallout overlook important ecological work being done there, according to experts who visited the central Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this year as part of mayoral delegation.

On Wednesday, 16 August at 5pm, Crop and Food chief executive Paul Tocker and landscape architect Di Lucas will give a presentation about Wuhan Botanic Gardens, how science and public education about science is integrated with the gardens operation and about some of the greening techniques being used to improve the city’s streets and parks.

Mayor Garry Moore expects the presentation, in the Philip Carter Family Auditorium at the Christchurch Art Gallery, will contribute to public discussion about the future of our own botanic gardens, which, along with Hagley Park, are subject of a major public consultation starting next weekend.

Relationships between Canterbury organisations and those in Wuhan have been developing for several years and, in an effort to further encourage these links, in April Mayor Garry Moore led a delegation there of 18 Canterbury people with expertise in science, technology, horse racing and education.
“Wednesday’s presentation will be of interest to anyone thinking about where we’re heading with our own Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens or with the building of mutually beneficial links with other places around the world,” Mr Moore says.

“We hear an awful lot about China’s headlong charge into the future and it was a real eye-opener to me to learn how concerned they are about environmental issues and building liveable cities and about other environmental work being done there.  I’m sure Paul Tocker and Di Lucas will be very interesting speakers.”

While in Wuhan, ties between the cities’ councils were also elevated with the signing of a formal friendship agreement with Wuhan Mayor Xiansheng Li, who described the change as “old friends becoming new relatives”. The increased emphasis being placed on Wuhan by the City Council is in line with its revised international relations policy, which in part aims to put more effort into links which could lead to economic spinoffs for the city and region.
At the time of the visit, Christchurch institutions and businesses were operating around 20 memorandums of understandings with Wuhan counterparts. Wuhan is China’s fourth-largest and one of its fastest-growing economic areas. It is also a centre of learning and research, being one of three “knowledge capitals” in the country. The Wuhan Botanic Gardens cover 78ha and are home to a progressive centre for research and saving endangered species.

● The public presentation on the Wuhan Botanic Gardens is being held in the Philip Carter Family Auditorium at the Christchurch Art Gallery at 5pm on Wednesday, 16 August.

● RSVP: Members of the public interested in attending are asked to let Rosie Halligan (Mayor's office) know on 941 8558 or email her at

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