Whanganui's new "strategic partner city" Lijiang is ridiculously beautiful and Whanganui people can hear more about it on Wednesday night.

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall and principal advisor Marianne Cavanagh spent four nights there in late February. They'll talk about their visit in the Davis Lecture Theatre on June 12 at 7pm, with entry by koha.

Also speaking will be New Zealand-China Friendship Society national president David Bromwich. The society helped form the link between Lijiang and Whanganui.

Bronwich is involved with the Gung Ho Co-operative Movement started by former Waitotara farmer Rewi Alley. He'll talk about the work of the society over the last six decades.


Lijiang, in southwest China's Yunnan Province, is a city of 1.5 million people. It's near snowy mountains and great rivers, and its old town is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It gets about 45 million tourists a year, McDouall said.

"It's like the Queenstown or Wanaka of China. It's a very photogenic place."

Lijiang is open to a sister city relationship with Whanganui, but Whanganui's intention is slightly different - it is looking for economic benefit.

It may extend to other cities in the region. Hastings and Palmerston North both have useful relationships with nearby Chinese cities.

When the speakers have finished on Wednesday night, attendees will be able to ask them questions, which will be moderated by former Whanganui Chronicle editor Mark Dawson. The evening is expected to finish about 9pm, after a light supper.