New Zealand was one of the first countries to announce their participation in Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China and Phillip Gibson was again appointed Commissioner-General to lead the project.
The crowd at Expo 2010 was diverse from the educated Chinese middle class to visitors who had limited or no knowledge of New Zealand. The pavilion needed to accommodate both these different needs and experiences.
To entertain crowds at the long queues to the pavilion, New Zealand had interactive screens and at the pavilion entrance was the same two-ton Pounamu nephrite jade from the Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, which also left a strong impression with Chinese visitors.
Once inside the pavilion, visitors were able to enter a walk-through installation that depicted a day in the life of New Zealand. It was a composite city with digital elements that began at dawn and took visitors through the New Zealand countryside and city scape. A main feature of this was the life size, realistic model of a Pohutukawa tree on a rooftop garden, which was a highlight for many visitors.
New Zealand’s presence at Expo 2010 Shanghai was important to establish personal relationships in the region and to conduct business in the context of a newly signed Free Trade Agreement, while authentically being ourselves and showing the best New Zealand has to offer.