SCNZ Feb 2016 newsletter

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February 2016

2016 Sister Cities Conference in Nelson No visit to Nelson is complete without enjoying time in nature. Nelson City is fortunate to have two splendid gardens created with the support of sister cities Miyazu and Huangshi. These spaces form living breathing links with the city’s Chinese and Japanese sister cities, and are highly valued by locals and visitors alike. Conference delegates will get to enjoy both these special spaces too as part of a full and varied conference programme.

Earlybird registration fees are available until 10 March after which full fees will apply. Maybe your organisation is planning to send a delegate, but is not sure exactly who just yet? No problem - register now to access the earlybird rate. Your delegate’s details can be provided later.

Anniversaries of Sister City relationships this year Auckland - Los Angeles, USA

Marlborough - Otari, Japan

Nelson - Miyazu, Japan

Auckland - Taichung, Taiwan Auckland - Busan, South Korea Masterton - Changchun, China Port Gisborne - Port Gamagori, Japan

The full programme and online registration forms are available via Nelson City Council and SCNZ. It only takes 5 minutes.

Christchurch - Seattle, USA Gisborne - Palm Desert, USA Hastings - Guilin, Guangxi, China Hutt City - Tempe, USA New Plymouth - Mishima, Japan Hawkes Bay - Zuzhou, China Palmerston North - Missoula, USA Hauraki - Jiaxsing District, China

Thank you - we look forward to welcoming you to Nelson. Lyndal McMeeking, Conference Coordinator, 2016 Sister Cities Conference

Hamilton - Wuxi, China Christchurch - Wuhan, China Auckland - Fukuoka, Japan Auckland - Nadi, Fiji Tauranga - Yantai, China Timaru - Orange, South Australia

Taupo - Building on relationships with China Lisa Nairne, Taupo District Council

As a forward-thinking district, we want to strengthen and expand our Sister City relationships and encourage the growing interest from China. Recent investments in the Taupo District from China include tourism ventures, geothermal and dry stock agriculture, dairy, sheep and beef farms, dairy processing, and residential property. Our district features on, a Chinese-based international property site, as one of the top New Zealand destinations for Chinese investment and we are keen to encourage this. We openly welcome investment in our district. It creates jobs as well as capital to partner with local businesses for growth. So what is Taupo District Council doing to support this investment and build on our relationships with our Chinese counterparts? We reactively support the already established businesses and proactively build relationships to create economic, social, cultural and educational opportunities. The Taupo District has Sister City relationships with Suzhou in China, Noumea in New Caledonia, Hakone in Japan and Kitashiobara in Japan. Our relationship with Suzhou, established in 2008, is strengthening. Suzhou is a major tourist destination in China and has many similarities to the Taupo District. We have visited Suzhou four times in the last two years and two of those were mayoral delegations. We have also hosted four delegations from Suzhou during the same period and held two exhibitions of art work, one from the Suzhou Disabled People’s Association and the other from the Suzhou Calligraphy Association. We have plans to do a joint tourism promotion and are working on a project that will see the Taupo District promoted in Suzhou and vice versa through digital signage and promotional material in i-SITEs, including the promotion of our major events.

An artist from the Suzhou Calligraphy Association creates a work of art at Taupo Library while Taupo District Mayor David Trewavas looks on. Photo Credit:Taupo District Council

From a cultural perspective, we have invited a Suzhou artist to be part of the annual Taupo Graffiato Street Art Festival in 2016 and are looking at Sister City school exchanges to visit China, including a partnership with one of our Maori language schools. The Taupo Museum is also looking to partner with our local iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa to curate a high quality art exhibition to be toured to China. Other projects include working with the Chinese-based Fenglin Group, which is looking into developing a worldclass wood processing facility in the district using geothermal energy.

Taupo District Mayor David Trewavas said if the mill progressed it could mean a $250USD million investment for the district and the creation of about 250 jobs. The project would leverage the district’s strengths in terms of access to wood, geothermal energy production and its central location, he said. “About half the logs that leave New Zealand have not had any value added and most of those go to China,” said Mr Trewavas. “This is potentially a multi-million dollar investment that will not only create employment opportunities but further strengthen ties with one of our country’s largest trading partners.” The Fenglin Group is currently undertaking a feasibility study with a decision due out early this year. We are also strengthening our relationship with Shaoxing. In 2014 we entered into a memorandum for friendly relations after a tourism investment by a Shaoxing-based company, and this relationship has also been flourishing.

The district hosted a number of business delegations from Shaoxing in 2015 and has been invited to take a business delegation from Taupo to Shaoxing and Suzhou

in May this year. This is an opportunity for Taupo District businesses to build partnerships, exporting opportunities and potentially source product. We are also in discussion about having Taupo product stocked in Shaoxing shops. Our relationships with our Chinese Sister Cities have been beneficial in other ways too. The district hosted an international women’s hockey test between China and New Zealand in 2014 which was attended by the Chinese ambassador and a business delegation. This was pivotal in strengthening the district’s relationship with the ambassador and his embassy, and we have hosted him a number of times since. We also attended the 2015 New Zealand China Mayoral Forum hosted by Local Government New Zealand and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Cities in Xiamen. The forum was a great opportunity to build further relationships both in China and with our New Zealand counterparts. By leveraging our unique assets and identifying opportunities to collaborate, we are hoping to develop these relationships into strong economic partnerships to support the local economy. We see this as vitally important to encourage growth as we look to the future.

Auckland Regional Focus Meeting As part of a nationwide series of regional focus meetings, February 11th was the date for the Auckland region. The event was held at the Auckland Council chambers from 6pm to 8pm.

Linton Rathgen

Auckland Council's Global Partnerships and Strategy team were very instrumental and helpful in the organization of the meeting and we were honoured and delighted to have Holly Warren, the current Manager of the department, deliver a keynote speech. A diverse range of individuals from government, NGOs, business and the education sectors were in attendance. Following the keynote speech, a round-table discussion was held looking at some of the current focuses in the Sister Cities movement. The evening was a successful event as it brought diverse people together to network and share current thinking. This aligned well with the Sister Cities New Zealand motto of "people-to-people exchanges". Further meetings are being held in Rotorua, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

The Toraja Project Thanks to Graham Robertson and Kelvin Coe for information about the Toraja Project.

The origins of The Toraja Project date back to 2005, when William Sabandar completed a PhD at Canterbury University. His father-in-law Ishaak Bittacacca, whose family are from Toraja, visited New Zealand. Ishaak was the chairman of a co-operative bank in Toraja, and thought that New Zealand farmers might be able to help the farmers of Toraja. This led to a visit to Toraja by Graham Robertson in 2004, and another visit by Robertson and Dick Davison in 2005. These visits resulted in the formation of a trust, first to help the farmers improve their coffee production. While the area is ideally suited to high-quality coffee, the yields were low and of poor quality.

Better husbandry, improved varieties, and better harvesting and processing techniques have seen improvement. The next push is to improve the marketing of the coffee, getting better prices through their own co-operative. That co-operative was formed in 2015, and they are selling high quality coffee directly to Indonesia, and other coffee around the world. There are plans to include New Zealand in those exports so supporters of the Trust can enjoy the coffee. To encourage the farmer to farmer link, small groups of New Zealand farmers have been taken to Toraja. One of the trustees is Kelvin Coe, Mayor of Selwyn District, and the sister city relationship grew from his connections with the local government in Toraja.

In 2014, this longstanding co-operation was recognised with the signing of a Sister District Agreement between Selwyn District and North Toraja Regency. This was the first such agreement between New Zealand and Indonesia.

Photos supplied by Graham Robertson A simple processing machine peeling newly harvested beans

Specialty coffee packaged for market


Co-op members outside their HQ

Coffee plants

Victoria University's Confucius Institute recognised as one of the best in the world Right: Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong awards the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, in December 2015.

Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong has awarded the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington (CI VUW) the accolade of 'Outstanding Confucius Institute' of 2015. The award is in recognition of the impact made by the Confucius Institute on Chinese language teaching and cultural programmes in New Zealand.Here is the Hanban website link: The award ceremony took place at the annual global conference of Confucius Institutes in Shanghai on 6 - 7 December, hosted by the Education Commission of the Shanghai Municipal Government, one of the largest education administrations in China. The global conference was attended by some 2400 representatives of Confucius Institutes around the world and their international university partners.

Sister Cities New Zealand - newsletter. All contributions and enquiries to

CI VUW was represented by the Chair of the Advisory Board Tony Browne, Director Wen Powles and Deputy Director Yang Xiaoqing. CI VUW joined 19 other Confucius Institutes recognised this year as the outstanding performers out of the 500 Confucius Institutes located in 134 countries. These 500 Confucius Institutes together delivered Chinese classes to some 2 million students. Our Confucius Institute has provided support to the Chinese classes of 90 schools in New Zealand, including te kura kaupapa in the Bay of Plenty, reaching over 12,300 primary, intermediate, high school and tertiary students in total. China is an important international link for Victoria University and our Confucius Institute plays an active role in that relationship.

Copy deadline for April issue Is Thursday 24th March 2016