Wuxi has a population of over 6 million people and
is a short 30 minute bullet train ride to the northwest of Shanghai.
2016 was the 30th anniversary of the sister city signing between Hamilton and Wuxi. The relationship was formalised on 15 July 1986 signed on behalf of Hamilton by Mayor Ross Jansen.
Wuxi and Hamilton have had a close relationship right from the start. In fact The Chinese Scholars Garden at Hamilton Gardens was built in collaboration between the two cities
The garden was a joint project between the Hamilton City Council, Wuxi, the NZ Chinese Association (Waikato Branch) and the New Zealand China Friendship Society (Hamilton Branch). Work on the garden officially commenced with the planting of a Magnolia (officially called 'The Friendship Tree') in the Blossom Court by the Mayor of Wuxi, Mr Wu Donghua in July 1986.
The city of Wuxi gifted to Hamilton Gardens the tiles, turtle, table, seats and rock that currently sit in the Chinese Scholar Garden. The Ting Pavilion, which is a replica of a ting in Wuxi, is called 'Leaning-against-river-pavilion'. A ceremony to mark the capping of the Ting Pavilion by Hamilton's Mayor, Ross Jansen, was undertaken in 1989.
The Taihu rock was presented to the garden by Mr Lei Huanwen, President of the Wuxi Municipal People's Association for Friendship at a ceremony on 17 March 1991. This rock, located in the Court of the Frozen Cloud, comes from Lake Taihu, next to Wuxi.
Mr Wang Hong-min, Mayor of Wuxi, and Hamilton Mayor Margaret Evans formally opened the garden, on 28 February 1992.
On 1 October 1998 a Wuxi delegation presented the Celestial Yuan of Taihu (bronze turtle). Named the Celestial Yuan of Taihu, a figure from Wuxi legend, the turtle was sent by the Dragon King to save the people of Wuxi. It stands on its rock overlooking the great river Waikato symbolically protecting the garden from floods.
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