Speech of SDEV at the opening ceremony of "A Partnership with the People: KAAA and Post-war Agricultural Hong Kong" exhibition (English only)

Following is the speech delivered by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (April 12) at the opening ceremony of "A Partnership with the People: KAAA and Post-war Agricultural Hong Kong" exhibition at the Museum of History:

Sir Michael, Mr (Peter) Greenwood, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to join you today to mark the opening of "A Partnership with the People: KAAA and Post-war Agricultural Hong Kong" exhibition.

As many of us will know, the long and dedicated commitment of the Kadoorie family and its business endeavours towards the development of Hong Kong has been multi-faceted. One of them is the provision of agricultural aid to farmers in need of support. Under the leadership, passion and philanthropy of Lawrence and Horace Kadoorie, the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA) has made tremendous efforts in supporting farming activities and preserving the agricultural heritage of Hong Kong since 1951. Many local farmers benefited from the aid provided by the KAAA through livestock improvement scheme and low interest loans for infrastructure development.

Apart from providing assistance to the local agricultural community, the KAAA also offered agricultural training to Gurkha soldiers so that they could be independent to attain security in their lives after retirement from the British Army.

Nowadays, following the rapid transformation of Hong Kong's economy, whilst KAAA still exists, most of its original functions have diminished. But the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden still plays an active role in promoting conservation and biodiversity in Hong Kong and South China.  

The development of the KAAA and the Kadoorie Farm witnessed the transformation of Hong Kong's rural society from an agriculture-based economy to a semi-urbanised community. The history of KAAA was well-preserved by the archive of the Hong Kong Heritage Project.

In recent years, I am delighted, both as a citizen and Hong Kong's Antiquities Authority, to see that the Kadoorie family has become increasingly active in preserving Hong Kong's cultural heritage for the benefit of the community. Sir Michael initiated the Hong Kong Heritage Project in 2007 to acquire, collate, and make available to the public, documents, photographs and films relating to the history of his family, its businesses and charitable works in Hong Kong. This audio, visual and documentary archive of the family activities and business since the 19th century is a valuable source for education and research. I was shown part of the archive during a recent visit to the CLP headquarters and could not help admiring the visionary plans of the late Lawrence Kadoorie as contained in some of his then correspondences with Government officials.

This exhibition is a good example of partnership between Government and non-government organisations in the preservation of Hong Kong's cultural heritage and a good opportunity for Hong Kong people to revisit some important episodes in our collective memory.  

Talking about partnership, I am pleased that the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) Corporation, which has long and strong ties in Tai Po and its community, has been selected as the Government's partner in revitalising the Old Tai Po Police Station into "The Green Hub for sustainable living" under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme launched in this term of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.

The Green Hub project will transform the Old Tai Po Police Station into an influential landmark for Hong Kong and the region to promote sustainable living and integrated conservation. The project will be adopting an integrated approach to conserve the unique historic, architectural, cultural and ecological values of the Old Tai Po Police Station.

The project will also serve as a centre for promoting simple, affordable and meaningful strategies for ecologically responsible and low-carbon living by engaging renowned professionals and local organisations in delivering education programmes to promote heritage conservation and sustainable living. It will also provide training capacity and facilitate community collaboration in cultivating a low carbon economy

I eagerly anticipate the commissioning of the Old Tai Po Police Station project and would like to express my gratitude to the Kadoorie family, whose many initiatives have been, and will continue to be, making valuable contribution to the society of Hong Kong.

I wish the KAAA exhibition a success and every one an enjoyable visit to the exhibition.

Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:32