Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Friday that China-New Zealand relations will embrace an even brighter future with joint efforts made by the two peoples.
Xi made the remarks when attending a welcome lunch reception in Auckland held by New Zealand people from all sectors.
Upon their arrival, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and his wife, and were received with a welcome ceremony performed by Maori warriors and Chinese dragon dancers.
Xi extended his greetings and good wishes to the New Zealand people.
The two countries, though being geographically far apart, have enjoyed long-standing friendship and interaction, which date back to the middle of the 19th century when the first generation of Chinese immigrants arrived in New Zealand, Xi noted.
"Our New Zealand friend Rewi Alley came to China in 1972 and devoted his whole life to supporting the independence of the Chinese nation and construction of the country," said the president.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 42 years ago, China and New Zealand have joined hands and forged ahead their relations, said Xi.
Bilateral cooperation scored a string of breakthroughs which were unseen in China's relations with other developed countries.
"Among developed nations, New Zealand was the first to recognize China as a market economy, the first to launch free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with China and the first to ink and implement a bilateral FTA with China," Xi said.
"During my visit, New Zealand has become the first country to sign an inter-governmental agreement with China on jointly producing TV programs," he added.
The development of China-New Zealand relations has proved that differences in social system and development model are not obstacles to the growth of bilateral ties so long as both sides treat each other with mutual respect and on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
The Chinese president stressed that his country unswervingly pursue peaceful development and firmly uphold an open-door policy for mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
"The more China develops, the more benefits it will bring to the world peace and development, and it will also create greater space for China-New Zealand cooperation," he said.
The Chinese people are willing to work with the New Zealanders to "ride through waves" to embrace a brighter future, he added.
Hailing Xi as an old friend of the New Zealand people, John Key noted that the past 42 years have witnessed increasingly closer interaction and cooperation between the two sides, and that China has become one of the most important partners of his country.
Xi's state visit, he added, has lifted bilateral ties to a new height and opened up new prospects for future cooperation.
During Xi's three-day visit to New Zealand, which started on Wednesday, the two countries decided to upgrade their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Xi will fly to Fiji later on Friday to continue his South Pacific trip, which has already taken him to Australia.