New Zealand’s landmark Guest of Honour participation at the Taipei International Book Exhibition is underway.
Muriwai Ihakara, Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager Māori Engagement, blessed the national stand in the Taipei World Trade Center on Wednesday morning with a large delegation of New Zealand and Taiwanese publishers, authors, illustrators and officials in attendance.
After the official opening, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou spent time on the New Zealand stand with his large entourage – taking time to peruse the book displays and the live exhibition of Māori carving by Ngā Kete Tuku Iho carvers Arekatera Maihi and James Teepa.
Taiwan’s Minister of Culture Hung Meng-chi had represented the government the previous evening at the Gala Welcome Dinner hosted by the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office (NZCIO) Taipei, in the city’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.
In a speech to the more than 200 guests, Minister Hung praised the cordial relations between New Zealand and Taiwan, and expressed his hope that the Guest of Honour programme would deepen our exchange of cultural relations.
NZCIO Director Si’alei Van Toor, Publishers Association of New Zealand President Sam Elworthy, distinguished author Witi Ihimaera, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright also addressed the gathering.
The fair’s first day is seeing a busy flow of visitors to the New Zealand stand, with well-attended author sessions and publishers engaged in meetings with Taiwanese and other Asian counterparts.
Rounding out the day was a networking reception for education publishers, showcasing fine New Zealand wines.