A memorable interpreting experience in Taiwan

09 November 2012

Kimberley Wu, External Relations Coordinator for the New Zealand Asia Institute (NZAI), was given the honour of serving as Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s interpreter on the Auckland Council’s trade mission to Taiwan last month.

Kimberley recounts her experience:

“Professionally, as the External Relations Coordinator for the New Zealand Asia Institute, I was an ambassador for the University on the trade mission. I was grateful for the support of my director and the Business School, in taking up this role, which contributes to the NZAI’s work to ‘build a bridge to Asia’.

Over six days, the trade delegation, including Councillor George Wood and representatives from the Government as well as sectors such as ICT, education, film production and venture capital, visited my home city, Taichung, and three other major cities: Taipei, New Taipei and Hsinchu.

The partner city relationship between Auckland and Taichung was renewed by the mayors, and meetings with the two other mayors established mutual interests in furthering links and prospective collaborations between cities and businesses.

The trade mission’s programme was action-packed with site visits ranging from two of Taiwan's major Science Parks, the award-winning Industrial Technology Research Institute and the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Centre, to a refuse incineration plant that turns waste into energy and the control room of Taipei's Mass Rapid Transit system, used by more than 1.4 million passengers every day.

The trade mission coincided with the announcement of a co-investment partnership between New Zealand's Venture Investment Fund and Taiwan's National Development Fund, which sees each party committing equally up to a total of $200 million into venture capital funds in the two countries.

My highlights, if I had to choose, would be the signing ceremony of the partner city relationship between Auckland and Taichung City and a networking function hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, which was very well attended by Kiwi and Taiwanese business leaders alike. The warm receptions we received were amazing, and on more than one occasion not only gifts but also songs were exchanged as a demonstration of goodwill and friendship.

This experience proved to be very special and memorable. I was privileged to meet many people, visit a wide range of sites and learn things about Taiwan I otherwise might not have had the opportunity to learn. In addition, it was truly inspirational to witness first-hand the mayor’s passion and energy for making Auckland the most liveable city in the world.

It may well be said that this opportunity came about because I was at the right place at the right time, and knew the right people. At the end of the day (and of the trade mission), I just felt myself to be a very proud Kiwi in my home country of Taiwan and a very proud Taiwanese in my adopted home in New Zealand.”