Sister Cities New Zealand February 2017 newsletter

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N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

2017 Sister Cities Conference: 4-6 May Venue: Civic Theatre, Invercargill

Theme: Communication Overcoming Distance

As a passionate supporter of sister cities, I invite you to come and join us in Invercargill for the 2017 Sister Cities New Zealand annual conference. We promise you a unique three-day experience, where you will enjoy our famous warm Southern hospitality, succulent local food and the fantastic scenery and attractions right on our doorstep. The theme of the conference is Communication Overcoming Distance and we’ve put together an exciting programme of high-quality local, national and international guest speakers. I’m looking forward to hosting you at the mayoral welcome drinks function and dinner amidst the grandeur and elegance of our Edwardian Civic Theatre;

and then taking delegates out and about to a variety of locations with guest speakers as we explore the theme of Communication Overcoming Distance. We’ll be visiting the iconic signpost at Stirling Point in Bluff, where delegates will also enjoy freshly caught seafood and Bluff oysters. The Sister City Awards night will be held at the fabulous, new Richardson’s Transport World – where delegates will have the opportunity to explore the world-class exhibition before enjoying the gala dinner. Delegates will finish the conference with a special coach tour to enjoy the scenery of Southland province – either with an excursion and cruise to the Glow Worm Caves in Te Anau, or to explore the seaside-village of Riverton. Check out the website at where you’ll find all the details, plus the programme and online registration form. Register online now at or for more information email our Conference Organisers at I look forward to hosting you in May 2017.


2017 SCNZ Mayoral Forum: 4 May, 1-5pm Venue: 6th floor conference room, Kelvin Hotel, Invercargill Theme: Encouraging immigrants to the provinces and keeping them The SCNZ 2017 Mayoral Forum is the opportunity for Mayors, local government representatives and stakeholders to discuss Sister City and migrant issues and concerns of mutual interest. The theme of Encouraging immigrants to the provinces and keeping them is an issue of vital importance to

sustain the economic and social fabric of provincial and rural communities throughout New Zealand. We have a varied and thought-provoking line-up of speakers, including representatives of local and central government agencies, Mayors, Sister Cities New Zealand and local migrants.

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

2016 International Youth Organisation Forum and Beijing Sister City Youth Camp By Kimberley Kilgour, Auckland representative During October 2016, 135 youths from 32 different countries gathered in Beijing for the 2016 International Youth Organisation Forum and Beijing Sister City Youth Camp. Auckland Council sent five young representatives to participate in the forum including Lit Wei Chin, Janice Auva’a and Caryn Strang (past Youth Advisory Panel Members) Kimberley Kilgour (Governance Division, Auckland Council) and Steven Eichler (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) who led the team.

took the opportunity to profile Auckland’s Māori identity that is Auckland’s point of difference in the world. As well as the ‘I AM Auckland’ Youth Action Plan which outlines Auckland Council’s commitment to children and young people in Tāmaki Makaurau. Over the course of a week, not only did they experience traditional Chinese culture, but through banquet gatherings and forums were also able to experience many different cultures.

The forum was hosted by the Beijing Youth Federation and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, with the purpose of enhancing friendship between the youth in Beijing and their partner cities.

The representatives visited two cities outside of Beijing - Langfang and Tianjin, where they learnt about development plans and how the cities are shifting to become more sustainable, ensuring their historical and cultural identity remains part of their future city.

The team embodied the vibrancy and diversity that is Auckland. They were given an opportunity to present in a sub-forum on ‘Youth and building a Cultural City’ and

Auckland Council attributes the invitation to participate in this forum, to the continued building and strengthening of relationships with cities around the world.

Pictured left to right, Janice Auva’a, Lit Wei Chin, Mme XU, Caryn Strang, Kimberley Kilgour. Photo: Global Partnerships & Strategy, Auckland Council

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

Shibukawa-Whakatāne Friendship Agreement Formalised Supplied by Janie Storey, Whakatāne District Council For over 20 years, students from Kita Tachibana and then Shibukawa in the Gumma region of Japan, following local government reorganisation - have been visiting Whakatane High School in July/August and spending up to 10 days here. As a result of a visit from a Whakatāne Mayoral Delegation in 2000, the Kita Tachibana Mayor suggested that a more formal relationship be instigated. It has taken a while and a further visit to Japan from Mayor Bonne, but a friendship agreement has finally come to fruition. Mayor Sadaji Akutsu, Hisashi Machida President of the Shibukawa International Association, Akira Goto Superintendent of the Shibukawa Board of Education and Mizuki Kano from the Planning Department at Shibukawa City Hall arrived in Whakatāne on Sunday, 6 November and departed on the morning of Tuesday, 8 November 2016. A very short visit indeed, so we looked at how we could best utilise their short time here. The purpose of the agreement is to allow the two districts to maintain regular contact, to support tourism and local specialities and encourage exchanges, especially

Caption: Left: Mayor Tony Bonne, Right: Mayor Sadaji Akutsu

in the youth and education fields. The agreement also encourages visits to each other’s areas to bring citizens together, so an itinerary was developed where aspects of this could be realised. A Sister Cities delegation met the group for dinner at a local restaurant soon after they arrived to provide a warm, friendly and informal welcome to the district. The next day, the weather gods were not on our side, so a planned helicopter trip to White Island had to be replaced with a bus tour of key points of interest throughout Whakatāne and Ōhope, and a visit to Te Koputu’s museum and art exhibition spaces. The day started with a welcome and tour of Whakatane High School, lunch at Julian’s Berry Farm and a visit to the NZ Mānuka Honey plant. The official signing ceremony was held in the Council Chambers at 4.30 pm and was followed by dinner at Mayor Tony Bonne’s residence. Prior to their departure on Tuesday morning, the group were welcomed at Te Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, where they toured the facility and were hosted to morning tea before leaving the district on their way home.

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

Wuxi-Hamilton 30th anniversary celebrations By Justine Allen, Manager Civic and International Events (Hamilton City Council) There were a number of events in Hamilton late this year in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Sister City Relationships between Wuxi and Hamilton, culminating in a visit by Wuxi First Vice Mayor WANG Jinjian in December 2016. The Vice Mayor’s delegation of 17 included a number of news media and TV journalists and photographers. New Hamilton Mayor Andrew King hosted a formal welcome and afternoon tea at Zealong Tea Estate, while Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher and Councillor Philip Yeung met with the delegation at the Hamilton Civic Building to view items gifted by Wuxi, including two beautiful large figurines of Ah Xu and Ah Fu, symbols of Wuxi

Photos - Justine Allen / Zealong Tea Estate / Waikato Chinese Weekly.

City. A special unveiling ceremony of the figurines was conducted by Vice Mayor Wang. The delegation enjoyed a visit to Hamilton Gardens, viewing the Chinese Scholars Garden (where discussions were held in regards to Wuxi assistance with garden redevelopments) before having lunch at the Hamilton Gardens Cafe with members of the NZ China Friendship Society (Hamilton Branch), Waikato Chinese Weekly, and the Hamilton Gardens team. While in the Waikato the delegation also visited Waikato Museum, Pacific Aerospace, Waikato Tainui College of Research and Development, and the Hobbiton Movie Set, before departing for Rotorua.

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

Journeying through Japan Former SCNZ director Bing Lou reports on the Jenesys programme Words cannot describe the incredible country that is Japan. The people, the culture, the food and history is as unique and inspiring as you can imagine. It’s a society where old meets new, where tradition is embedded in all areas of modern life, and where the most outlandish thing is innovative, exciting and cutting-edge. I was fortunate to be one of five Kiwis and ten Aussies selected to partake in the 2016 Jenesys programme, run by the Japan Overseas Cooperative Association, and aimed at promoting international exchange and cooperation with Japan. It was an incredible, insightful and intense week of immersion in Japanese business, culture, and local cuisine. To read the full article click here: http://sistercities. h-japan-exscnz-director-bing-lou-takes-part-in-the-jenesysprogramme Or visit

My three months in New Zealand Karen Ye, CPAFFC At the invitation of the New Zealand China Friendship Association, I visited New Zealand as the second recipient of the Margot Cornwell Scholarship, and finished a three-month study at University of Waikato in Hamilton, from early February to late June in 2016. I have been working in the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship Association (CPAFFC) for almost ten years. What we are doing everyday is carrying on all kinds of people-to-people exchanges with the aims of enhancing friendship and cooperation between China and all the other countries. My division takes care of friendly exchanges with 16 countries including New Zealand. New Zealand is no stranger to me. Although this is my eighth or ninth time visit to New Zealand, these three months are still very precious to me. What did I do? On my plane from Beijing to Auckland, I made up my mind to take my time and make good use of everyday in New Zealand. I decided to choose subjects I was really interested at school, as well as extend my understanding of New Zealand as much as I could through attending activities or visiting different places. To read the full article, click here: Or visit

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

Japan Local Government Centre staff member Internship at Invercargill City Council by Tomohiro Koike, Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR SYDNEY) From 28 November to 2 December, I visited the Invercargill City Council for an internship. During my internship, I met with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard King and several directors, gaining insights from them about a host of topics including community service, tourism policy and industrial promotion. Invercargill City has been a sister city of Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture, Japan since 1993. I noted the strong sense of connection Invercargill has with Japan as both cities share an active high school exchange programme through their sister schools. There is also a Japanese Garden in Queens Park which aims to honour the sister city relationship shared with Kumagaya City. Designed by Yoshio Miyashita in 1997, the park had a lot of visitors when I stopped by and the arrangement and overall atmosphere reminded me of Japan. It was great to see such strong Japanese presence in Invercargill. As I explored the city I noticed that there were a lot of historic buildings (Heritage Buildings) which made me feel like I was walking the streets of a European town. Not only did I manage to take a lot of nice photos, I also learnt a lot about the buildings in Invercargill City and their management through my internship. Heritage Buildings are often found in cities and serve as popular tourist attractions. Many citizens see the value in such historical sites and believe that it is desirable to preserve them. However, the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Act in New Zealand was amended in May 2016 and it became necessary to reinforce and reinstate buildings corresponding to each category of earthquake risk as described in the Act. Because the owner of the building will shoulder the cost of reinforcing and restoring heritage buildings, I understood that it is difficult to coordinate with the owners who have to rebuild and reinforce their property and want their expenses subsidised. I also managed to learn more about solid waste disposal and recycling. Unlike Japan, general waste is not incinerated

as landfill processing is carried out and waste that can be recycled are separated and recycled at the recycling separation centre and exported or reused as resources. I also noticed that there are shops that collect and sell used items in Invercargill which I thought was a great idea and should definitely be introduced to Japanese local governments. In Japan, we have shops that sell used electronics and clothing but the stores in Invercargill are unique and sell a variety of random everyday appliances such as remote controls for television sets, the front baskets of bicycles, clothes, electric appliances and many more. When I visited one of these stores in Invercargill, I met a customer looking to buy a used bicycle seat. I thought it was great that people looked for sustainable alternatives first before purchasing new things. I also learnt that aluminium smelting is the largest industry in Invercargill. Andrea Carson from New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS), a subsidiary of Australian and Japanese companies (Sumitomo Chemicals) which produces aluminium products near ports in the suburbs of Invercargill gave me a tour of the company facilities. The production of aluminium requires a lot of energy which is covered by using a dedicated transmission line from a neighbouring hydropower plant. The aluminium product is very high quality and is mostly used for airplanes. 90% of the aluminium products are exported, 70% of the exports are to Japan. Even though Invercargill and Japan are separated by a long distance, this economic tie along with the strong Japanese presence in Invercargill made that distance seem minuscule. My time in Invercargill was an unforgettable and awesome experience. I sincerely appreciate the kindness and effort of the CEO, the directors and all the staff in Invercargill city council who helped arrange and facilitate my internship.

N E W S L E T T E R February 2017

Chengdu International Sister City Youth Music Festival By Justine Allen, Hamilton City Council Taiohi Manawataki kapa haka group (who are part of Entertainment Suite Ltd) were invited by the Chengdu Municipal Government to travel to Chengdu in July 2016 to take part in the Chengdu International Sister City Youth Music Festival (the first time a Hamilton / New Zealand group has taken part in this festival). The festival included 40 art teams from China, and nearly 500 young musicians from 19 countries and regions around the world. Aside from performing with all the other sister city groups Taiohi Manawataki had the prestigious honour of being one of only five groups asked to perform

also at the opening ceremony. Entertainment Suite is a mainstream community project that seeks to empower the futures of its members by using music and culture to develop their confidence so they realise their purpose. The Maori word 'taiohi' refers to the ages of the members. 'manawa' refers to heart and love and 'taki' means rhythm. In 2017 Hamilton City Council will be calling for applications from performing groups wishing to be involved in this year’s festival.

Wuxi-Hamilton 30th anniversary celebrations By Justine Allen, Hamilton City Council During NZ Chinese Language week in September we organised with the Hamilton Central library a concert to celebrate our 30th anniversary with Wuxi. This concert was very popular and featured Hamilton based and nationally renowned guzheng player Chen XiYao, Taiohi Manawataki kapa haka group (presented by Entertainment Suite), and the Hamilton Ethnic Dance Society. On display at the library also was the signed sister city document, Wuxi's 30th anniversary gift to the city (Da a Fu figurines), past civic gifts, and silk scrolls featuring beautiful images of Wuxi.