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Strengthening Bonds: Marsden School Embraces Visit From Xiamen Shuangshi Middle School

Published: Thu 16 May 2024 02:40 PM
The Wellington-Xiamen sister city relationship has long been a beacon of cultural exchange and
educational collaboration. Last week, this partnership took a significant step forward as Marsden
welcomed 11 students and three teachers from Xiamen Shuangshi Middle School in China.
The visit marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship between Marsden and Xiamen Shuangshi
Middle School. In a momentous occasion, Marsden’s Principal Paula Wells and Director of
International Students Jo Burns joined Mayor Tory Whanau and members of Xiamen Shuangshi
Middle School to sign a memorandum of understanding between the two schools.
The roots of this relationship trace back to the early 1980s when the Wellington City Council,
inspired by then Prime Minister David Lange's vision, sought to establish friendly ties with a city in
China. Xiamen emerged as a natural choice due to the striking parallels between the two cities. The
signing of the Sister City Relationship Agreement on 23 June 1987 between Mr Zou Erjun, Mayor of
Xiamen and then Mayor of Wellington, Jim Belich, laid the groundwork for a partnership based on
mutual respect and cooperation.
Since then, the Wellington-Xiamen Association has been instrumental in nurturing this bond,
facilitating cultural and educational exchanges, as well as fostering trade partnerships. Last
September, a Wellington business delegation, led by Mayor Tory Whanau, embarked on a journey to
further strengthen ties with Xiamen. Marsden, representing the pinnacle of education in Wellington,
was honoured to be the sole school invited to showcase the excellence of education in our city.
During their stay, guests from Xiamen Shuangshi Middle School were immersed in Marsden’s culture
and educational practices. They had the opportunity to experience Te Reo Māori, share in morning
tea and take a tour of the school, giving the students and their teachers an insight into Marsden’s
academic programmes and facilities, while a Kiwiana lesson provided an introduction to New
Zealand's culture and phrases.
Music, a universal language, served as a bridge between the two schools, with performances from
both visitors and Marsden students. Through these shared experiences, the schools aim to deepen
their understanding of each other's traditions and foster lasting friendships.
Marsden embraced the visit from Xiamen Shuangshi Middle School, and was reminded of the
transformative power of international partnerships in shaping the future of education and cultural
understanding.From left to right: Marsden Principal Paula Wells, Mayor of Wellington Tory Whanau and Xiamen ShuangshiMiddle School Principal Ouyang Ling (photo supplied)

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