Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel has signed a memorandum of understanding with her counterparts in China's Gansu that will see local science and technology trust Science Alive help to roll-out sci-tech programmes across the north western province.
Dalziel is on a three-week tour of China, leading a 35-strong delegation to deepen relations between Christchurch and its sister cities, and also to test the commercial waters for potential investment.
That has included the signing of an MoU in Gansu where Science Alive, which seeks to promote science and technology in Christchurch, will help develop outreach programmes for the Chinese province's science and technology association, which is in the process of building centres across the area.
"They're going to be helping developing the thinking for the science centres," Dalziel told BusinessDesk.
Science Alive has been operating outreach programmes for the past four years since its primary centre was damaged in the 2011 earthquake, and Dalziel says it will use that experience in supporting the development of the Chinese centres.
The trust will also be able to draw on the experience when rebuilding its own centre in Christchurch, she said.
Dalziel also flagged plans to deepen economic ties with Gansu, which has traditionally focused on cultural and educational links.
The region is poised to benefit from China's central government plans for the Silk Road Economic Development plan, and Dalziel said she was "taken aback" by the level of investment and construction that was under way in the region.There was also considerable investor interest in supporting the Canterbury rebuild, and Christchurch will be hosting a delegation from Sichuan, which was devastated by a 2008 earthquake, at the end of April.
Paul McBeth is on an exchange at the Shanghai Daily News, with support from Asia NZ.