What We Do
We are located in Room 104 of the Chen Shouren West Building (click here to view a map), a beautiful old style building surrounded by lush overhanging trees near the university’s famous Boya Tower and Weiming (Unnamed) Lake. There is a library of book and DVD resources available at the Centre for students and visitors to borrow. Our growing collection includes works of fiction and poetry from the likes of Allen Curnow and Witi Ihimaera, films such as Whale Rider and Smash Palace, non-fiction and reference books on topics relating to New Zealand’s economy, landscape, role within the international community and more. Students of the New Zealand History and Culture Course offered by the Centre are encouraged to visit the Centre to borrow resources and seek advice on the course with our Liaison Officers.
Origins of the Centre
In 2003 Peking University and the University of Auckland began to explore the joint establishment of a New Zealand Centre on the Beijing campus, in order to deepen the existing teaching, research and mobility relationships between the universities and strengthen China-New Zealand relationships.It was agreed that the Centre should support participation by other universities and related institutions from both countries. It was further agreed that the Centre should go beyond academic cooperation to policy development and become a forum for the advancement of China-New Zealand relations at high levels.
The New Zealand Centre was formally opened on 21 May 2007 by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister at the time, Winston Peters in the presence of Professor Xu Zhihong, then-President of Peking University, H.E. Chen Mingming, Ambassador to New Zealand, and Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Auckland. The Chief Executive of New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Developmentgave the inaugural lecture. In attendance were senior representatives of Otago and Victoria universities. Since it was founded, the New Zealand Centre at Peking University has worked to link counterparts on the Chinese and New Zealand side through meetings, guest lectures and exchange programmes. We are pleased to have received distinguished guests such as Prime Minister John Key, Minister Steven Joyce, former Ministers of Education Anne Tolley and Chris Carter, and various Professors from New Zealand universities over the years.
In 2009 New Zealand Prime Minister John Key delivered a speech at Peking University, outlining the many successes in the New Zealand-China story, including the establishment of the New Zealand Centre. For a full transcript of the speech and photographs click here.
New Zealand History and Culture Undergraduate Course, Peking University
The New Zealand History and Culture paper at Peking University is one of several courses made available to undergraduates who must complete a required number of courses instructed in English in order to fulfill their degree requirements. The New Zealand History and Culture paper is unique amongst the courses offered in English out of the Department of Foreign Languages at Peking University, as it is organized in close collaboration with the New Zealand Centre and its staff of directors, visiting fellows, and interns. The majority of lectures are delivered by visiting academics, government officials, freelance economists, and business leaders – all providing insight into New Zealand’s history and culture across a broad range of topics. It is notable that the students attending the paper come from an equally broad range of academic disciplines and interests, which enriches class discussion. In conjunction with Peking University, The University of Auckland, and The New Zealand Centre, the course is supported by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, the New Zealand Embassy, and the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee.
Aligning with the New Zealand Government 'New Zealand Inc China Strategy'
The New Zealand Centre is committed to implementing and enhancing the New Zealand government's 'Opening Doors to China Strategy' which aims to see levels of cultural and academic exchange grow to levels commensurate with the increased level of trade between the two countries. The New Zealand Centre was established in the year preceding the finalization of the New Zealand-China FTA (finalized in 2008) but even at this time the founders of the Centre were mindful of the importance of the project and its strong potential to contribute to a more unified and dyanmic approach to engagement between the two countries. That said, the New Zealand Centre is frequently engaged in hosting conferences, contributing to cultural events, assisting Chinese interested in continued study in New Zealand, and finding new ways to disseminate the 'New Zealand Story' - a new initiative developed by the New Zealand Government and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
Annual New Zealand Summer School Exchange for Peking University Students
The New Zealand Centre organizes annual summer school exchanges for Peking University students to visit participating New Zealand universities during the summer break. This programme has been available to students for several years and is generally considered a resounding success. The summer course serves as an introduction to New Zealand history, society, way of life, and approaches to academia. The programme combines academic work with tours of New Zealand landmarks as well as national parks. If you are interested in participating as a student from Peking University you can contact the Centre secretary Liu Hongzhong for more information such as pricing and schedules. Liu Honghong has been the coordinator for the trips for several years and is central to organizing the summer school schedule in collaboration with partner universities. For the year 2014 the scheduled host institution will be Victoria University located in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.
Raising the Profile of New Zealand in China
The New Zealand Centre is dedicated to raising the profile of New Zealand through various channels, especially in areas of academic exchange and cooperation. However, the Centre is often involved in cultural events such as the annual Peking University International Culture Festival, hosting of conferences on New Zealand related themes, and spreading knowledge of New Zealand scholarship programmes. This agenda is moved forward with assistance and cooperation from the New Zealand Embassy, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and New Zealand Educated. Networking events are held regularly (including an annual meeting for New Zealand Centre partners in Beijing) which enhances networking and raises the profile of New Zealand amongst important university and business leaders of China. Most vitally, The New Zealand Centre is pleased to lend a hand at cultural and sporting events organized by New Zealand students studying in Beijing, with the purpose of raising the profile of New Zealand amongst the next generation of Chinese leaders.