China's ambassador to New Zealand, Dr Wang Xiaolong, says there is no room for complacency in the relationship between China and New Zealand.
He said it had been a long-term strategic decision to develop a relationship with New Zealand 50 years ago, rather than a short-term choice of convenience.
"What we have achieved has not taken place as a matter of course but rather as the result of painstaking efforts from both sides.
"By the same token, nothing in the future of the relationship can be taken for granted. It will depend on our joint efforts to make it happen."
Wang was one of the keynote speakers at the China Business Summit in Auckland at which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke earlier in the day.
Wang said both China and New Zealand had a major stake in preserving peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region, "as our common home".
"Tension, let alone conflicts or wars are the last thing China wants to see in this region."
He also said China opposed "unilateralism, hegemony, Cold War mentality, military alliances, the division of the world along ideological lines, or otherwise into exclusive or even opposing blocs or spheres of influence, and coercion of countries to take sides."
He said China respected New Zealand's traditional ties and influence in the region "and stands ready to work with New Zealand on that basis to help our islands' partners achieve common development".
The differences in experience between New Zealand and Australia's recent experiences with China dominated a later session at the conference.
Australia's relationship has been dysfunctional for many years with ministerial contact only just having resumed in the past month after the election of the Labor government.
Allan Gyngell, the president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, said it was sometimes said the major difference was that Australia felt strategically vulnerable but economically secure whereas New Zealand felt economically vulnerable but strategically secure.
It the years following the Cold War, the United States and China had been happy to maintain the status quo and that had also suited New Zealand and Australia.
But neither China nor the United States were content with the status quo.
He said the changes in China and the United States were making life more difficult for Australia and New Zealand "and the choices are coming thick and fast".
Taiwan was the most dangerous and immediate focus of their competition, over the possible visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
He said the Chinese Communist Party believed its legitimacy as the ruling party would be shattered if Taiwan became an independent state and the US judged that any remaining hope it had to prevent Chinese military primacy in East Asia depended on Beijing not taking over Taipei.
"If war were to break out between the two largest economies in the world, the prospects for the New Zealand milk industry or for Australian barley will be the least of our worries."
Former prime minister Helen Clark was on a panel with Gyngell and cautioned against loud diplomacy.
"The megaphone isn't very useful," she said.
She repeated some concerns expressed in June about the language that had been used in the joint communique following the meeting between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President Joe Biden.
The communique endorsed the various alliances of democracies set up by the United States to counter China's ambition to become the dominant power in the region.
At the time she told the Herald she had concerns about New Zealand being part of "group -think" and not maintaining a balanced approach.
Today she said New Zealand's independent foreign policy had been "long worked for." But she also said that Jacinda Ardern's recent speeches to Nato, to Chatham House in London and to the Lowy Institute in Sydney had "put the record straight".
In those speeches, Ardern said polarisation was dangerous and that diplomacy had to be preferred over sabre-rattling.