New Zealand Ambassador Jane Coombs, left, poses with Ha Ji-won, a Korean actress appointed as a New Zealand cultural ambassador to Korea, during "Celebrating New Zealand" at Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, Wednesday.
/ Korea Times Photo by Kim Se-jeong
By Kim Se-jeong
Preparation was under way last week for New Zealand to share its cuisine, music, art and movies next April in Seoul.
As part of the New Zealand Cultural Diplomacy International Program, the three-day cultural presentation will be the first and largest New Zealand event in Korea. The presentation will take place at the COEX, in southern Seoul.
The preview event, "Celebrating New Zealand" last week allowed guests to get a quick glimpse of New Zealand culture, which is expected to widen perspectives of the island country to Koreans, about which little is known other than it is an English-speaking country.
The country in the Pacific has recently made its name in films, drawing attention from filmmakers around the world, including Koreans.
Exotic, beautiful landscapes for films such as "Lord of the Rings" and ``The Chronicles of Narnia" were located in New Zealand.
Korean films shot in New Zealand include "Snow Queen," "The Ghost," "Black Sheep," "Silmido" and future release "Soul Mate," with Korean actress Han Chae-young. Last September, the two countries agreed on a co-production treaty.
New Zealand Ambassador Jane Coombs called the treaty "a true milestone" in Korea-New Zealand relations.
New Zealand wine was served, whose promotion anticipates a push from the new New Zealand Chamber of Commerce that opened last Wednesday.
It separated itself from a coalitional Australian New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. Calling itself the Kiwi Chamber, the office will likely focus on strengthening bilateral trade and passing the Korea-New Zealand free trade agreement.
Also, Ambassador Coombs named a Korean actress Ha Ji-won as New Zealand's cultural ambassador to Korea. The actress first became associated with New Zealand in 2005 when studying English there, and has played a role in promoting a New Zealand film festival in Korea.
During the event, Whirimako Black, a prominent jazz singer in New Zealand, performed. The singer introduced tunes of the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.