Sister Cities New Zealand December 2016 newsletter

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N E W S L E T T E R December 2016

Christmas Message The Board of Sister Cities New Zealand sends a special greeting this Christmas time. To you all we extend our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and look forward to working with you and your sister city relationships in 2017. Photo: J Corbett

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

Theme: Communication Overcoming Distance

Enjoy Southern hospitality with Mayor Tim in 2017 Hello, Mayor Tim Shadbolt here! As a passionate supporter of sister cities, I invite you to come and join us in Invercargill, from 4-6 May, 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.

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 conference-2017 where you’ll find all the details, plus the programme and online registration form.

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.

Register online now at conference-2017/registration- form/ or for more information email our Conference Organisers at

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;

I look forward to hosting you in May 2017.


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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.

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.

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.

For more information email our Conference Organisers at

"Championing China Connections in Chongqing" 5th China International Friendship Cities Conference (CIFCC) Theme: Innovation for Development and Cooperation for Sharing By Hiromi Morris An invitation was extended from CPAFFC (Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries) to the 5th China International Friendship Cities Conference held in Chongqing, Sichuan Province, 9-11 November. The conference was initiated in Beijing in 2008 and followed in Shanghai (2010), Chengdu (2012) and Guangzhou (2014). Hiromi Morris attended for the first time with Alistair Crozier, NZ Consul-General to Southwest China and

Jack Chaney, Civic & International Relations Coordinator from Christchurch City Council. Both Alistair and Jack are fluent Mandarin speakers with great knowledge of China that helped Hiromi during the entire Conference. Jack was staying in Gansu Province, under their Fellowship Programme at that time. There were 760 participants including 300 delegates from 56 countries. It was extremely well organised for the size of the Conference with assistance of 200 voluntary university students. It provided an opportunity for Hiromi to meet with Madam Li, President of CPAFFC, and to reassure the continued working relationship between SCNZ and CPAFFC through a meeting with Xie Yuan, Vice President, Wang Lidan, Karen Ye and Liu Wei of Department of American and Oceanian Affairs. CPAFFC has regularly participated in SCNZ's annual Conferences. During the Conference, Friendship City Awards Ceremony was held and Auckland City received an award for Exchanges and Cooperation with China, accepted on Auckland City’s behalf by Hiromi Morris. There were 76 Award recipients and Wellington and Hawke's Bay Region were among those from New Zealand.

Alistair Crozier reports: Good fortune (and kind facilitation by Sister Cities New Zealand) brought me to the 5th China International Friendship Cities Conference in the city of Chongqing: as New Zealand Consul-General to Southwest China, my ‘consular district’ includes Chongqing Municipality as well as the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou. Perhaps largely unknown to many New Zealanders, the ‘mountain city’ of Chongqing is one of the emerging

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economic powerhouses of Western China, with the population of 30 million, just a 90-minute commute by high-speed train from my home in Chengdu City. It’s also known as the usual start or finishing point of a cruise through the famous Yangtze River Three Gorges. The scale of the Friendship Cities Conference impressed me: almost 150 international delegations joined over 100 Chinese cities and provinces. This confirms the growing importance and value of city-level links as a core pillar of many national bilateral relationships with China these days, including our own. I also noticed the strong business focus of many of the foreign cities present. In some cases this included business sector delegations, as well as civic officials. It was clear that cities around the world now view engagement with their Chinese partners through an economic development lens, capable of delivering concrete mutual benefit to both sides, in addition to more traditional civic and cultural exchanges. The need for cities to innovate together also featured heavily throughout the meeting. One speaker suggested that as local governments are “closest to the people”, they have a real contribution to make in response to global challenges and opportunities. Innovation is of course also a central goal of China’s own domestic policies for the 2016-2020 period. As a New Zealander I was therefore proud that the tripartite partnership between Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles was referenced several times by Chinese speakers - including Vice President of China Mr Li Yuanchao - as a great example of an innovative new city-based framework delivering added value for all sides. I believe New Zealand cities are very well placed to take the lead in working with Chinese and other international

counterparts to explore other genuinely innovative approaches in future. My final lasting impression from the meeting concerns scale, and focus. In the Southwest China region which I cover, and across China, a long list of cities are queuing up to strengthen engagement with New Zealand city partners. This is a positive sign, but creates challenges for New Zealand as well given the huge number of Chinese partners relative to our much smaller pool; and the consequent pressure on New Zealand cities to balance quality engagement with quantity, when faced with a seemingly endless flow of eager interest. Some innovation may be required in this area, too. It was a pleasure to support Sister Cities New Zealand at this year’s conference. I am sure New Zealand will be well represented at the next CIFCC, in Wuhan in 2018.

Auckland City award

L-R Jack Chaney, Karen Ye, Viv May, from NSW Australia, Sim Hayward, Sister Cities Australia, Hiromi Morris, Alistair Crozier, Wang Lidan

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Sister cities 'really important in this troubled world’ Tracy Neal, Nelson Reporter • Reprinted with permission from Radio New Zealand. Sister city connections have gone beyond fostering friendships to developing economic ties, say advocates, as Nelson re-signs a relationship with the Japanese city of Miyazu. A Japanese delegation will be in Nelson this Friday [Ed. 11th Nov 2016] to re-sign a sister-city relationship with the city of Miyazu, 40 years after it was first signed. Questions have been raised about the value of these ratepayer funded programmes, but the vice president of the New Zealand sister cities organisation said they served a valuable purpose. Ray Wallace - who is also Hutt City Mayor - said the sister city philosophy of building stronger relationships was "really important in this troubled world". He added that progress in technology had allowed opportunities to develop international relationships, without the huge costs that councils might have had previously. Nelson and Christchurch were the first cities in New Zealand to establish sister connections with Japan in the 1970s, after Rotorua first set the trend when it linked arms with Oregon's Klamath Falls in 1962. There are now 50 cities and towns in New Zealand with twin connections around the world, built on the concept of former US President Dwight Eisenhower. He came up with the idea in 1956 in the hope that citizen diplomacy would lessen the chance of future world conflicts. The programmes have gone beyond fostering friendships to developing economic ties. The chief executive of Japanese-owned Nelson Pine Industries, Murray Sturgeon, said he did not expect commercial gains from the relationships. He said the company's head office was in Tokyo and it would be hard for him to say there were any great benefits from the sister city connections shared between Nelson and Richmond, and their sister cities in Japan. "There are many cities in Japan connected with cities in New Zealand, but it's more of an ambassadorial role," Mr Sturgeon said. Mr Wallace said spending on sister city budgets was not huge.

Nelson city has set aside $22,000 this year to cover events associated with its three sister cities. A council spokesperson said $8000 of that amount was in grants to the Nelson Miyazu Association and New Zealand China Friendship Society. But in July, Wellington spent $51,000 on a single event, when it signed a new sister-city agreement with Canberra, tying in celebrations with a new international air service to Asia via the two capitals. Mr Wallace said the returns were worth the spend. "We have the educational aspect, we have a lot of international students coming here and who see New Zealand as a safe country and a place where they want to study. There's also the opportunity for business-tobusiness exchanges," he said. But the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research said quantifying the economic benefits was tricky. It said in a 2003 report that data was often scarce, and sometimes commercial confidentiality restricted the information available to them. However, New Zealand was named by the American Journal of Economics and Sociology as a good example of how to make twin town partnerships work for economic gain. In 2012 the Palmerston North City Council reviewed its sister city connections in an exercise to measure their worth. It has just appointed Toni Grace to the newly created role of international relations manager. She said the review found there was a lot of untapped potential in these relationships. "Especially in relation to Palmerston North, to support the growing international sectors in education, research and trade. It was seen as a really vital component of the city's strategy," Ms Grace said. She said councils had to be strategic in order to get the best out of a sister city connection, and that advances in technology would help reduce costs. "It's not all about international trips. A lot of it can be down to putting effort into building the communications and people-to-people links, and engaging with the local schools and communities, as well as the formal official links between cities," Ms Grace said.

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The 29th Ship for World Youth care) and made progress putting together their national presentation, an exercise they are given to showcase New Zealand to the other participating countries. Delegation national leader Jay Rerekura of Whanganui is project manager at Nga Tai O Te Awa by day and youth mentor by night, supporting young people find opportunities in recreation, education and employment across the Manawatu-Whanganui region.

Twelve of New Zealand’s finest youth leaders assembled for the first time over the weekend of 26/27 November as they prepare to embark on the journey of a lifetime. The 29th Ship for World Youth Leaders programme will bring present and future world leaders together from eleven countries for seven weeks in January 2017. Operated by the Japanese Cabinet Office, countries participating this year are Japan, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, New Zealand, Tonga, Kenya, Fiji, Ukraine, Canada and Egypt. This year the ship will make ports of call in New Zealand and Fiji. The programme aims to strengthen intercontinental relationships, international cooperation and to foster dialogue about global issues from the perspective of the next generation inheriting the earth. The team of young kiwis met at Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae in Mangere to bond and begin preparing for the programme. They set delegation values of Aroha, Respect, Tautoko (support) and Manaakitanga (duty of

Jay says that the programme is incredibly significant for both New Zealand and for the world. “Taking up the role of leading this inspiring group of young leaders is incredibly humbling. SWY has left such a legacy in youth development globally and the impact for participants is indescribable. It has cemented the leadership reputation of New Zealand on the world stage and that is why we are invited to participate so often”. The programme is largely funded by the Japanese government, however, the delegation faces a significant fundraising challenge to cover expenses of over $3,000 associated with preparation including national uniforms, travel in Aotearoa, and official gifts. The group is also looking for corporate partnerships and sponsorship of products from New Zealand organisations that are interested in showcasing their goods in international markets. To support the New Zealand delegation on their journey or offer of sponsorship, contact For more information about the programme and this year’s delegates visit or

Celebrating 40 Years of Friendship Lyndal McMeeking, Chairperson - Nelson-Miyazu Sister City Association Nelson City were thrilled to welcome a 7-strong delegation from Miyazu in November.

area sightseeing and highlights hosted by the NelsonMiyazu Sister City Association.

The group, led by Deputy Mayor Kiyokazu Ueda, were invited by Mayor Rachel Reese to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this longstanding relationship with an official re-signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two cities. The relationship was originally formalised in May 1976. “To mark 40 years is a great achievement and shows how strong this relationship is,” says Mayor Reese.

Two locally crafted matai seats were gifted by Nelson City to Miyazu to be placed on Amanohashidate (one of Japan’s top 3 scenic wonders and very similar to Nelson’s own Boulder Bank). They will offer a place to sit and reflect on this special friendship.

Japanese Ambassador Toshihisa Takata also joined the celebrations which included a Japanese film screening hosted by the Nelson Japanese Society, an official dinner hosted by Mayor Reese and local Nelson

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Hutt & Tempe - 30 Years of Signing Julianne Hutley, Communications Co-­ordinator - Hutt Sister City Foundation The Hutt City Council and Hutt Sister City Foundation co­ -hosted a function at The Dowse in Lower Hutt on Wednesday 25 November to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the signing of the sister city agreement between Lower Hutt and Tempe.

About 100 people attended the event -­a lot of those were past and present students, parents and teachers, as well as our guests from Tempe ­- David Carrera and David Birdsell and his daughter Kelly. It was very special to have the first three Lower Hutt students to visit Tempe in 1985 attend. A poignant moment was seeing them show a photo album of their trip to current students. Mayor Ray Wallace began the proceedings by going through the history of our relationship with our sister city, Tempe. Marie-­Louise Blockley, our guest speaker, explained how she was involved in working with Tempe to establish a sister city. Paul Duffin, President of HSCF spoke and revealed a new logo for the Hutt Sister City Foundation with the help of David Carrera, Tempe/ Lower Hutt Student Co-ordinator. After speeches and presentation of gifts to the Tempe guests, a cake was cut and supper was served. Kiralee Cooke, a student delegate for this year along with fellow dancers from Step by Step gave a dance performance in the Atrium. It was a fun evening for all those who attended ­- reliving memories and celebrating the strong connection that our two cities have had for 35 years.

Armistice Day in Cambridge Julie Epps, Cambridge Community Board On 4 November 1918 New Zealand soldiers liberated the 14th century, fortified French town of Le Quesnoy from a four year German occupation. And so began the story of two towns inextricably linked by war. In the year 2000, the Mayors of Cambridge and Le Quesnoy signed a sister city agreement to raise awareness of the connection between the two countries. As part of this sister city connection, both Cambridge and Le Quesnoy recognise significant annual commemorations of World War I - Cambridge holds Armistice Day commemorations annually in November and Le Quesnoy holds ANZAC Day commemorations in April. On Sunday 13 November 2016, Cambridge held the annual commemorative service on Remembrance Sunday, at the Cambridge Town Hall Plaza and Cenotaph. A marching parade was led by the Cambridge and District Pipe Band before the service, and many countries were represented at the service. In recognition of Le Quesnoy, fraternal greetings from the Mayor of Le Quesnoy were read by Waipa District Council Mayor Jim Mylchreest during the service. Photographs supplied by Noelene Barr Allwood

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Nelson Festival Choir - A Hit in Japan Lyndal McMeeking, Chairperson - Nelson-Miyazu Sister City Association A 48-strong tour party including a 32 member choir were heartily welcomed in Miyazu for the first time in the 40 year history of the relationship between sister cities Nelson and Miyazu. The choir was formed by Carl Browning of the NelsonMiyazu Sister City Association specifically to tour Japan and celebrate this milestone in the relationship between the two cities. They performed five concerts in four cities finishing with two performances in Miyazu. A feature of the concerts was the opportunity for the largely Japanese audiences and the Nelson choir to mix socially afterwards. “ This was a really key part in allowing us to link people and cultures through music” said tour organiser Lyndal McMeeking. “ Music has a unique way of transcending language barriers, only a handful of our tour party could speak any Japanese at all but we talked, sang and laughed together. It was very special”. Choir Director Mr Browning combined singers from NelsonTasman with several from

Auckland and 15 well-known to him from the UK to form a high-quality balanced group. Huge support from Minoh City, Osaka, Kyoto and Miyazu, which included venues, promotion, ticketing and hospitality arrangements allowed such a tour to be staged. A concert in Minoh City was arranged by Hutt City Council, with support from SCNZ. Motueka-based choir member John Rimmer composed a special piece for the tour, aptly named ‘In Friendship’ . Among the highlights for the choir was the opportunity to sing with the acclaimed ‘Ensemble Academy Kyoto’. Their joint rendition of the wellknown Japanese song ‘Furusato’ was very well-received https:// The opportunity for the tour group to be part of Miyazu‘s annual Kimono Festival was also eagerly anticipated. Four of the tour party were given the chance to be dressed in traditional kimono and participate in the Kimono Parade. A true privilege be involved in this tour – a once in a lifetime experience.

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Mihara and Palmerston North explore a relationship By Toni Grace, International Relations Manager Palmerston North recently had the pleasure of hosting a visiting Mayoral delegation from Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. The purpose of the visit was to explore a friendship connection and tangible cooperation between Palmerston North and Mihara cities. Sister Cities New Zealand has been supporting the development of the relationship between two cities for the last 18 months. The delegation of nine, led by Mihara City Mayor Tenma Yoshinori, spent three days in the city including visits to Te Apiti Wind Farm, St Peter’s College, International Pacific United (IPU), Universal College of Learning (UCOL) and the Palmerston North City Council. The visits to various education institutions highlighted Palmerston North’s strengths as an attractive student city and identified several opportunities for student and teacher exchange. The Mihara delegation was also hosted for lunch with Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith and City Councilors, followed by a meeting to explore mutual interests. The Mayors discussed similarities and opportunities in business and trade, education, civil defence and emergency services, sport and cultural events. Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said the main focus was on education links between the cities. “Education

is one our natural strengths. Japan was once a big part of that and now there’s a chance to re-engage,” Mayor Smith said. In addition, the recent earthquakes and floods in New Zealand prompted a timely discussion about possible emergency and disaster management cooperation – especially relevant given the similar challenges faced by Japan and New Zealand. “In civil defence and emergency management they [Japan] are experts and they could help us,” Mayor Smith said. Hideaki Umemoto, Chairman of the Mihara City Council, hoped that a stronger connection with a city like Palmerston North would make it easier for Japanese students to learn English, either through exchanges or technology links like Skype. The Mihara delegation hosted an evening function where guests were treated to a live calligraphy demonstration by delegation member Ms Mitsue Fujimura. After this the evening was capped off with guests taking part in a customary Mihara dance! Mayor Tenma extended an invitation for Mayor Smith and other Palmerston North delegates to come visit Mihara in 2017 to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the city’s foundational Mihara Castle. Mihara also holds an international triathlon and encouraged people from New Zealand and the Manawatu to compete in the annual event.”

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N E W S L E T T E R December 2016

Suzhou influence at street art festival A little piece of China is now gracing a wall in Taupō thanks to the talents of a Suzhou artist. Renowned Suzhou artist Mr Huayiu Qin and director of research and production at the Suzhou Art and Design Technology Institute travelled from Taupō’s sister City Suzhou to take part in this year’s Graffiato festival. The festival is New Zealand’s premier street art event and features creations by award winning international artists. Organised by Towncentre Taupō and held over Labour Weekend in October each year, the festival sees original street art created on blank walls all around the Taupō District while locals and visitors watch on. This was the first year a guest from China had been a part of the festival, with Mr Qin receiving support from the Asia New Zealand Foundation for part of his trip to Taupō. The relationship between Taupō and Suzhou has

developed since its inception in 2008 with civic exchange trips, exhibitions and the sharing of knowledge and skills. While Suzhou is known for its beautiful gardens and canals and bridges, Taupō is known for its natural landscape and the majestic Lake Taupō. Mr Qin was welcomed to Taupō by Mayor David Trewavas before he gathered art supplies and commenced work on the wall he had been allocated to compose his artwork. Mr Qin drew crowds while he was painting his wall, with many members of the public engaging with him and his interpreter to chat about his art, Suzhou and the city’s ties to Taupō. While in New Zealand, Mr Qin experienced some of Taupō’s finest visitor attractions such as Huka Prawn Farm and the Hukafalls Jet as well as the famous Huka Falls and the Taupō Museum and Art Gallery. He even plucked up the courage to do a bungy jump! Mayor Trewavas said Mr Qin’s visit had strengthened the sister city relationship between Taupō and Suzhou. “The relationship between our two cities continues to grow, and we are grateful to Mr Qin for visiting and sharing his talents with our community. We are also excited he has invited a street artist from the Graffiato festival to travel to Suzhou next year to complete a piece of public art in his university.” The Graffiato Street festival and Taupō District Council would like to take this opportunity to thank the Asia New Zealand Foundation for their generous support of the festival and Mr Qin’s visit.

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Wainuiomata High School and Iizuka High School Trip to Iizuka city with our school principal, Mr Martin Isberg from Wainuiomata By Daiji Kataoka In October, Martin and I were invited to visit Iizuka high school, located 50 minutes north of Fukuoka city, in order to sign a sister-school agreement. Iizuka high school is a private co-ed high school in Japan, with just over 700 students enrolled. The school has a strong hospitality programme with an award winning cookery course at a national level. The CEO of the school, Mr Shimada, runs 6 schools in the region, including the kindergarten located right next to the high school. This is where our ex-student, Connor Grindlay, is doing a GAP year teaching English and learning Japanese. Connor, along with 3 other Kiwi Y14 students, teach English at the kindergarten every morning, and in return they get to study Japanese at high school in the afternoon. The school also takes care of their return flights between NZ and Japan, accommodation and foods for the duration of 10 months.

When we arrived in Iizuka, we were blown away by the hospitality of Mr Shimada. He took us everywhere in the city, including historical places, Japanese pottery, and nice Japanese restaurants. We have also met the Mayor of Iizuka city, Mr Saito. We met with the Mayor just a day before the Iizuka city parade, which is where Mr Saito and Martin dressed up as a Daimyou (the feudal lord) and walked through the main shopping street in the city. Like it or not, we are living in a global world now. Our young students need to be prepared for working and living with our neighbouring countries in Asia, Japan. It is our first time ever Wainuiomata High School has a sister school relationship with another school, and we are very excited about it. We believe that this will help us provide more opportunities for our students and people in our community, including sending our students over to Japan, inviting more Japanese students to our school, and raising the profile of our community.

Iizuka high school is starting up the new international global course next year, and they wanted to build a relationship with a high school in New Zealand. Connor has talked highly of his school, Wainuiomata HS, so Mr Shimada decided to come and visit us in NZ, in June. They really liked our students in Wainuiomata – friendly, approachable and happy. They have talked to our Japanese exchange students, met with Martin and I, and had a great impression with our international programme.

Mr Shimada, Daiji Kataoka, and Taro (English teacher) on top of the Wainui hill

Iizuka High School Principal (left), Mr Shimada, Martin, and Daiji Kataoka

Martin Connor (left), and Miss Iizuka City (middle) along with 3 gap year students from New Zealand