May 2016 2016 Conference Special
The special focus for the 2016 Sister Cities NZ annual conference - the 35th Anniversary of the establishment of the organisation - provided inspiration for the conference theme.
The Board wishes to thank everyone who participated in the special annual conference. Special thanks to the following organisations for their generous sponsorship. Nelson City Council ~ Air New Zealand ~ Japan Local Government Centre, CLAIR Sydney Nelson Economic Development Agency ~ Tasman District Council Nelson Tasman Tourism ~ Education New Zealand Food Revolution ~ Infinite Botanical Skincare ~ Potton & Burton Wine Nelson ~ Kahurangi Estate ~ Brightwater Vineyards Neudorf Vineyards ~ Seifried Estate ~ McCashins Brewery ~ Aronui Wines Apbee Manuka Honey & Propolis ~ Pics Peanut Butter ~ Proper Crisps Nancy and Bill Malcolm ~ Mark Soper The 2017 Conference will be held in Invercargill 4~6 May, to be hosted by Invercargill City Council, and we all look forward to welcoming you. www.sistercities.org.nz
– reflected the Sisters Cities mission “to foster a people to people network” and “enhancing relationships” After 35 years SCNZ is well established respected organisation and Nelson as a venue attracted registrations from international delegates, government departments, local government staff, Mayors and councillors, plus community organisations and business groups looking to learn from the diverse range of speakers, and importantly to have networking conversations sharing experiences, successes and information. Keynote speaker Nancy M Huppert, Global Envoy for Sister Cities International covered the entire conference theme in her address. The intent in establishing the Sister Cities movement 60 years ago was for Americans to meet and connect with counterparts around the world - people to people interaction would result in better cultural understanding and stronger outcomes for world peace. Nancy spoke of SCI strategic planning to leverage from the 2016 anniversary by building broader public awareness of the organisation than has happened previously. The future will see focused promotion of positive outcomes from international Sister City relationships, the changed perspectives of people and cultures from people to people interaction. Mark Pearson from MFAT linked the need to expand on the pioneering role of early relationships, ensuring that they continue to grow, respond and develop. Promoting our place, learning about other cultures and investing in Sister City relationships means the world comes to our cities – creating a fresh future.
The launch of the SCNZ Youth subcommittee and the chance to meet some of the talented young people who will take the sister cities concept into the future combined with a youth development focus and presentations on Saturday was extremely rewarding. The young people were buzzing, the presentations by college and university students were stimulating and uplifting as they related how their exposure to new cultures when completely out of their home comfort zones had increased their cultural understanding. Jessica Czarnecki of Tempe USA, found her Sister Cities exchange year was to be spent in New Zealand, a country previously totally unknown to her. Jessica embraced her time here and then chose to study in Wellington for her university degrees, graduating in 2016. The future will see an increased use of electronic exchanges and connections via the web as all the art works were transported by flash drives for the Nelson-Huangshi Schools’ Art Exchange - winner of a SCNZ Air NZ award. Technology as it responds and develops will open up the world for international relationships. Ambassador Takata, Mayor Rachel Reese of Nelson, Hiromi Morris, President of SCNZ.
- the celebration dinner provided the opportunity to celebrate and applaud each city with significant anniversaries in 2016 – a list of 21 relationships covering 17 councils along with the 60 anniversary of Sister Cities International. The keynote dinner speaker was SCNZ first executive officer Marie-Louise Blockley who related her story of the beginnings of the organisation sponsored by Air NZ, who 35 years on are still a supporting sponsor with a special focus on the Sister Cities annual awards. SCNZ President Hiromi Morris presented certificates acknowledging the role of Marie-Louise and to Kath Crawshaw for her late husband’s valuable contribution. The programme scheduled visits to Miyazu Japanese Gardens and the Chinese Huangshi Gardens complemented by commentary from the creators from Nelson City Council – perfectly timed around a picnic lunch in the warm Nelson sun. The investment value of sister city gardens highlights the return from these special spaces as they continue to enhance and illustrate the story of the relationships for the foreseeable future. Many people and organisations contributed to the success of the 2016 Sister Cities Conference, not least of which were the joint hosts, the speakers, sponsors and MC Neil Hodgson who did a terrific job. It would be remiss not to also acknowledge the goodwill and volunteer support of Nelson community organisations and individuals. These included: the New Zealand China Friendship Society Nelson Branch, Nelson-Miyazu Sister City Association and the Nelson Japanese Society. A special thanks also to volunteer helper Sanjayan Kandarth, an overseas business student at NMIT, who gave up paid work to be part of the conference support team and learn from this experience.
Guests at the afternoon tea with Nancy Huppert.
On Wednesday 27 April, SCNZ had the pleasure of attending an afternoon tea kindly hosted by American Ambassador Mark Gilbert at his residence in Lower Hutt. The afternoon tea was in honour of Nancy Huppert who was invited to speak at the 2016 SCNZ Conference in Nelson as Global Envoy for Sister Cities International, as well as to celebrate 60 years of Sister Cities International in the United States. In attendance were members of the diplomatic corp from various embassies, along with members of the SCNZ Board. It was great to share more about the sister city movement and the importance of people-to-people connections, as well as the significant contribution young people can provide for intercultural links. Great connections were made for potential new sister city relationships and future collaboration with the embassies and the diplomatic corp. SCNZ looks forward to continual discussions on fostering greater multilateral links across the globe!
Feedback on Conference – we are keen to receive your feedback on the conference to add to the planning for the 2017 conference and would appreciate any contribution you have time to make. Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
L-R: Mayor Ray Wallace, Hiromi Morris, Nancy Huppert, Ambassador Mark Gilbert, Bing Lou
Mayoral Workshop Preceding the conference a Mayoral workshop was hosted by Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, attended by mayors and council representatives from most active council members of SCNZ. Workshop presentations all contained positive reinforcing messages with a strong emphasis on the investment value returned to individuals and the local economy via Sister City international relationships. LGNZ CE Malcolm Alexander believes the value returned is to our entire country and is not confined to the local scene. His message was one of positive encouragement for councils to be proactive about these relationships, to drop the reactive and look at “selling the sister city relationship story” Simon Draper is the Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. His presentation gave a brief overview of the increasing numbers of Asian immigration and some interesting statistics as to where the fastest growing amount of Asians are within
the New Zealand regions. He also shared his views with us in regards to the need for New Zealand to avoid being "short-termist" in its engagement with Asia. Ambassador Takata from the Embassy of Japan promoted the value of the long standing JET programme celebrating 30 years since it was established. During that time many returning young people have become staunch “ambassadors” for each country, illustrating that the rewards of inter country exchanges have multi faceted rewards. Ian Lister of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology spoke about the partnership model established over a number of years between Nelson and seven universities in China. He believes the Huangshi Nelson Sister City relationship and long term friendship was instrumental in advancing the progress of the agreements established with educational facilitates in Huangshi City.
Best Business or Commercial Project Winner: Auckland Council – Tripartite Summit Runner up: Wellington City Council – Opening of NZ section at Seashine Supermarket, Xiamen
Best Cultural Sport or Recreation Project Winner: Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society – St Andrews Day Event Runner up: Gisborne District Sister Cities- 15th Anniversary Gamagori-Gisborne photo competition
Best School Cultural Awareness Project Winner: Halswell School – Many hearts make a school Runner up: Tui Glen School – Sister City Experiences
Best Youth Education or School Project Winner: Nelson City Council (NZCFS) – Nelson-Huangshi Schools' Art Exchange
Conference Programme and Presentations available online: URL: http://sistercities.org.nz/?s=news#2016-scnz-conference-presentations URL: http://sistercities.org.nz/?s=news#scnz-2016-conference-programme
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