Credit goes to Wellington City Council for helping to put more Hawke's Bay products on Chinese supermarket shelves.

Recently the Chinese Seashine group was looking for high-quality produce to stock their supermarkets with, so the capital's authority pointed them towards Hawke's Bay.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said three months later, when he was in China, he saw Te Mata wines and Bay apples in a Seashine store.

"They came to New Zealand on a sourcing mission and by working with Wellington City we got our market access," he said.


The issue of trade with China was raised at a Hastings council committee meeting yesterday by economic project development manager Lee Neville.

He said because trade with China was on such a "huge scale" often individual regions did not have the supply to meet demand.

To address this issue Mr Neville said his team looked for councils that had sister city arrangements with Shandong province. In the process they found Auckland, Tauranga, Timaru, Gisborne, in addition to Hastings, all do.

"We are now going to proceed to reach out to four of them and see if we can form a trade group across the country with other councils.

"So that we have some mass into the market in China."

Mr Yule said the concept of leveraging other parts of New Zealand together was gaining real momentum.

He used the example of the Seashine Group and Wellington City Council saying: "that is how it could work". "The collective view in New Zealand is we need to do more of that," Mr Yule said. Looking at how the five councils could supply product from right across New Zealand into Shandong province had "real possibilities".

Other ways Mr Neville's team is looking at how to access the Chinese market is by putting together a portfolio of Hawke's Bay products, working with exporters on using e-commerce to access the market and utilising the Chinese media in Auckland to promote what the region sells.