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

2017 SCNZ Conference 4th - 6th May 2017, Invercargill Theme: Communication Overcoming Distance

SCNZ/JETAA Joint meeting organised and hosted by CLAIR Sydney By Aaron Liew, SCNZ Youth Subcommittee Sister Cities New Zealand and the recently appointed Youth Sub Committee was invited along the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) to a meeting by delegates from The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) Sydney to discuss ways in which each association could collaborate with each other. A lot of what was discussed at this meeting was how JETAA and Sister Cities New Zealand could help form relationships with CLAIR and the JET Programme. In terms of sister city involvement with the JET Programme, the Youth Sub Committee proposed to the CLAIR representatives that JET participants from New Zealand, be posted to their sister city or to a city with a relationship with a New Zealand city or town. The point was raised in which having a Kiwi Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) present in cities that have connections to New Zealand, can help form bond between the cities in many ways. Even if that participant themselves is not from the New Zealand sister city, they can still help promote New Zealand and learn about the relationship between the two cities. The other main topic that arose was the discussion to

help JET participants, past, present and future, in terms of career goals and employment opportunities. As the JET Programme period can only last up to five years, the point was raised by Sister Cities New Zealand Director Linton Rathgen, who is also a former JET Programme participant, that he has seen many returnees from the JET programme go in obscurity, not knowing what to do next and have no support for their professional development. Being on the JET Programme, returnees come away with many skills such as language, inter-cultural, interpersonal and Japan “expertise�. Rathgen said that these skills are highly sought after, especially with the world becoming a smaller place. He proposed that we find and create ways in which past, present and future JET participants can seek career help and advice. As this was the first meeting with SCNZ, JETAA and CLAIR, we were able to open new lines of communication and let each other know we are available and ready when the time arises. Also as a member of the Youth Sub Committee and having being a part of the JET Programme, I think that these idea seedlings blossom into something that could help and change the way sister cities interact and viewed from the outside.


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Halswell School Proud Winners: Sister Cities New Zealand Award By Penny O’Connell, Halswell School The school was recently congratulated by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and presented with a certificate for the Sister Cities New Zealand Award for 'Best School Cultural Awareness Project'. The awards are sponsored by Air New Zealand and the school received a prize of $1500 of Air NZ travel.

trip, said it was an amazing experience. “It’s definitely changed me, I feel more mature and worldly.” Highlights included performing at the opening of the Baekje Festival in Songpa Gu, getting to know her Korean homestay family, wearing the traditional hanbok and visiting a music performance school.

Halswell School Principal Bruce Topham said he appreciated the Mayor’s recognition.

Penny O’Connell, a Halswell School teacher and its International Director, said the planning, organisation and travel were just the beginning of international links, life -long friendships and deeper meaningful understandings of our multicultural world for the whole school community. Our students were superb ambassadors portraying positive images for our school, city and New Zealand. We have also worked with other schools and organisations to host students and their families from a range of countries to come and have wonderful Christchurch experiences and return home with great stories.

“Historically we have tried to foster relationships with Sister City schools because of the fact that the nearby Halswell Quarry Park is the home of Christchurch Sister City Gardens. It’s invaluable to help our children become global citizens. If you’re going to compete as a country we need our children to be comfortable moving into different countries.” The Christchurch City Council works to foster cultural and business relationships with seven cities through its Sister City Programme. The school hosted Mayor Park Choon-hee of SongpaGu (our South Korean sister city) when she visited Christchurch soon after the earthquakes and the Mayor invited the school to visit her district in South Korea. A group of 13 students from Halswell School visited China and Korea for three weeks last year as part of the school’s international programme. They joined a Christchurch delegation led by Councillor Ali Jones to South Korea for the embassy-hosted New Zealand Festival and to Songpa-Gu to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sister Cities Relationship. Another group of Halswell School students will visit China, and hopefully Korea, again this year.

Halswell School plans to use the air travel grant towards either a cultural trip to Wellington for a group of students or to foster Christchurch’s Sister City relationship with Adelaide, Australia. The school student council will be involved in the decision making. Halswell School wishes to thank everyone involved in this project and the recognition our students have received.

Cailin McVicar, a Year 8 student who went on last year’s

L to R: Mr Bernard Duncan (Sister Cities NZ Board Member), Bruce Topham (Principal Halswell School), Penny O’Connell (International Director Halswell School), Christchurch Mayor Hon. Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch City Councillor Ali Jones, Mr Phil Tappenden (Honorary Korean Consulate & Chairman of the Christchurch Songpa-Gu Sister City committee).


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Tui Glen School receives SCNZ award By Linda Goss-Wallace, Hutt City Council At the recent SCNZ Conference it was announced that Tui Glen School, in Stokes Valley, Lower Hutt won the Air New Zealand, Runner Up for “Best School Cultural Awareness Project” award. The award was collected on behalf of Tui Glen School, by Hutt City Council’s Sister City liaison officer, Linda GossWallace at the Conference. Linda arranged for Mayor Ray Wallace to present this to the school at a later date, however, with SCNZ President Hiromi Morris living in Wellington, she decided it would be a better idea for her to join the Mayoral visit and present the award to Graeme Penty and the students of Tui Glen who were part of the project. Prior to the presentation, Graeme arranged to Skype to the Principal of Saito no Oka Gakuen, their sister school in Minoh. Their project was about the students visit to Minoh City in October 2015, and the interaction they had with students at Saito no Oka Gakuen and being home-hosted in Japanese families during their stay. Graeme was thrilled to accept the Air New Zealand voucher for two return domestic air fares which could help them get to the SCNZ Conference in 2017.

Mayor Wallace and President Morris chat to the Principal of Saito no Oka Gakuen on Skype

Guests at the presentation included Mayor Wallace, Linda GossWallace and their mutual friend Miho Maeda who was visiting from Minoh City at the time, plus students who travelled to Minoh last year who are now attending Taita College.

Hurunui Changping Our first sister district relationship - not a journey for the faint-hearted! By Winton Dalley, Mayor Hurunui District Council Hurunui is an expansive agricultural district in North Canterbury which is particularly famous for Hanmer Springs. The district has an area of 8,646 sq. km and a population of 12,000. The main source of income is predominantly from the agricultural sector but there is also a significant visitor/ tourism focus, particularly with Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools being one of our precious gems. Hurunui also has a high quality, growing wine industry. As a district we stretch from the Pacific Ocean pounding our coastline to the top of the Southern Alps. Our relationship with China has been developed with the strong support of the Christchurch Chinese Consulate and over the course of almost 5 years. Although we had a number of other approaches from a variety of regions in China my council and executive management team elected to further explore the relationship advanced by Consul General Jin Zhijain with Changping district Beijing, just north of Beijing. Changping district is 35 kms from central Beijing and is the third most important district of the fifteen districts within Beijing prefecture. It has world heritage status with the famous Ming tombs and two of the key Great

wall passes most visited by those traveling from Beijing. It is also considered an important food basket of Beijing and has many thermal spa resorts all within easy reach of Beijing. It was the agriculture/tourist combination, similar to that offered by Hurunui, and Changping’s proximity to Beijing, that saw us interested in further developing this relationship. Taking this relationship to the next level required us to do adequate due diligence before making any commitment and we used the professional services of Mr Chris Mouat and Ms Michelle MacWilliam who, whilst in China on other business, represented Hurunui district on a fact finding mission to better determine whether we were comfortable that Hurunui could sustain a solid and mutually beneficial relationship and that there were sufficient commonalities that could be developed over the medium to longer term. We believe that these commonalities are: •

Tourism. This is a key sector for both regions and with counter-cyclical seasons we discussed the possibility of Hurunui being promoted by Changping as their “summer in winter / winter in summer” destination

Agriculture. This is clearly an area of specialisation within Hurunui, and where Hurunui can be a gateway


N E W S L E T T E R June 2016 for Changping into the rest of NZ’s agri expertise. Changping are anxious to up-skill their agriculture industry and NZ (via Hurunui) can offer valuable connections in this regard. As part of our land based economy, our wine industry, based on the Waipara Valley holds interest for both parties •

Education. There is great value on both sides for sister school relationships and virtual (e.g. Skype) / actual exchanges.

Investment. Changping, as a wealthy district on the outskirts of China’s capital, has a number of large businesses and companies interested in expanding offshore and with some of them operating in the sectors above both sides believe that Hurunui provides an opportunity both directly, and as a gateway into NZ and Australia.

Following extensive engagement with officials in Changping they provided us with the positive endorsement we needed to feel comfortable in proceeding to the next step. It was important to us though that, given Hurunui’s relatively small rate base, and recognising the necessity to have any such relationship viewed positively by those living in Hurunui, that the relationship needed to be one that was built upon trust, transparency and consistency of attitude across both parties. The first high level interaction took place in December 2014, facilitated by Consul Jin Zhijain , when I met with and made a comprehensive presentation to the Mayor of Changping Zhang Yanyou and a delegation of Government officials at the Christchurch Consulate. The following day I hosted the Mayor and his Delegation to a tour of the Hurunui District. The consequence of that visit was an invitation from the Mayor to visit Changping to formalize a Memorandum of Understanding. As we were not able to take up that invitation at that time, the Mayor offered to send a delegation back to Hurunui to formalize the relationship. The next high-level, formal interaction took place in December 2015 when Hurunui hosted a delegation from Changping led by the Executive Deputy Mayor Sun Wei. The delegation gained a good appreciation of Hurunui’s key sectors namely education, tourism, agriculture, and saw first-hand how business and investment operated within Hurunui. The formal Sister District Relationship Agreement was signed at a ceremony at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and this committed both parties to actively work to further develop the relationship. During the visit we also assisted the Executive Deputy Mayor to extend his stay in order that he could attend events celebrating the China Southern Airlines inaugural flight between Christchurch and Guangzhou.

One of the key initiatives arising from this visit was agreement to develop a targeted sister district website that could be used as a portal for activity between Changping District and Hurunui, and as an opportunity to showcase each other’s district to a wider audience. The website, in English and Mandarin, has now been developed. In addition to the personal contacts developed during the visit of this delegation, other positive outcomes have been in the three key areas of education, youth and tourism and since December both sides have been working on ways to develop and expand these, and other, initiatives. An invitation has now been extended to us to go to Changping District for a reciprocal visit. We have always been open with Changping as regards our relatively limited resources and that, whilst we recognised the great benefit in committing to the relationship with Changping, we would need to be both prudent and smart about how we will progress identified opportunities. Despite the limited resources available to us as a small district we have recognised the value in such a relationship and therefore undertaken at our own cost, a lot of work to take the relationship forward, including where people have financed themselves. I do believe for districts such as ours there is value in having a central agency which can provide support, on a limited basis, where needed and where clear value is recognised. We appreciate that not all sister city / district relationships are equal and that there are examples where the misdirection of resources has delivered little in the way of tangible value. The challenge however is not to put all such attempts to build a meaningful relationship such as the Hurunui-Changping one into a common basket but to develop a simple, cost-effective (and relatively inexpensive) way to provide a small level of real support to those NZ districts who are legitimately trying to develop relationships of real potential. This is also important if we are to acknowledge the need to expand relationships beyond the major NZ cities whose much larger financial resources make this much less of an issue. As a small district we believe there therefore needs to be support available that is there to increase the understanding of New Zealand values, policies and growth initiatives that help enable small districts to develop key international relationships. At the same time we fully acknowledge and appreciate the necessity to ensure that any such scheme does not become one of “public money for private benefit”. It is essential that it is aligned with clear evidence of commitment, and a demonstrable pathway to success, and is designed to offer relatively small amounts on a co-funded basis. Development of these relationships


N E W S L E T T E R June 2016 need not be a costly affair but at the same time, in small districts, especially in difficult economic times, the reality is that many activities, particularly travel, are being selffunded. The ability to undertake defined, limited but necessary travel, such as my trip to Changping, which nonetheless meets an established co-funded criteria, would be extremely valuable to smaller districts without imposing any significant cost impost. Guidelines for such a support fund should not be difficult to establish and must ensure that city/district relationships have already been well researched, are supported with an accountable and realistic strategic plan already undertaken. The plan would need to articulate and demonstrate both short and longer term benefits and have clear support from both elected members and executives of councils. Every agency and level of government has a role to play in promoting public diplomacy and advancing New Zealand’s international engagement and it should not be left solely to central government or the 3-4 large metros, which is largely the case at present, particularly given that much of the offshore interest is directed at opportunities in the regions which is where agriculture, and most of our tourism attractions, sit. We are already seeing issues with visitor over-concentration in some key locales (an issue forecast to be a problem in a Ministry of Tourism report on the Chinese Visitor Market in 2013) however as we have discovered there is a lack of a coordinated approach and all too often aspects of self-interest. This needs to be addressed given that public diplomacy is the most cost effective form of engagement and can deliver real economic growth if actioned correctly in a rapidly changing and challenging digital world. It is our belief that the smaller districts and townships will struggle to build sustainable international educational programmes, develop tourism initiatives and other economically sustainable projects without some degree of support from government that can nudge districts towards better development of long term sustainable sister- city/ district relationships and ensure that the

relatively small co-funding needed is used appropriately for the betterment of all. This model also puts the onus on the district to deliver outcomes and results which is critical. We are not advocating any existing or new agency to take responsibility for this work. There are already sufficient organisations already operating in the NZ international engagement space, from NZTE, the Asia NZ Foundation, Sister Cities New Zealand etc; the issue is rather that none can offer tangible support, to small districts that have realistic international strategies. Regional economic development agencies, which might otherwise assist, tend to shy away from non-domestic activity and are overly cautious of being seen to favour one district over another. This is an issue exacerbated by the closeness of personal networks in regional areas. In July I will be leading a small delegation to Changping District on the outskirts of Beijing. This trip is being undertaken in a very fiscally responsible manner and each member has had to justify their attendance. In the case of me and my deputy we are, notwithstanding the fact that we are going to represent Hurunui, paying all costs personally. We strongly believe that the development of this relationship continues to offer significant value to the district and as evidenced above. We have undertaken considerable work to date to demonstrate seriousness of our intent. We have also looked to engage with the NZ Embassy in Beijing and whilst we as yet have not heard back from them, we will continue to try and connect with them to seek their advice and input. It is well understood that well founded local relationships drive economic growth. If these relationships are to develop and flourish central government support, whilst necessarily limited in nature, is I believe both important and indeed critical for smaller population based districts, particularly when engaging with large, well-funded partners who do generally have backing from their central government agencies. I look forward to sharing with you more about our Changping - Hurunui District relationship and the journey as it evolves.

Nelson Investment Office Open Two Chinese businessmen from Nelson’s Sister City, Yamgjiang in Guangdong Province have opened an office in Nelson in partnership with Mary Chen, a Nelson businesswoman who moved to Nelson from Hong Kong with her husband Steven and family. The business is called Nelson Capital Investments Limited and the office will be the Head Office for their New Zealand

business of providing investment funding, sourcing quality Nelson products for the Chinese market, importing quality Chinese products for distribution throughout New Zealand. The office will also represent the interests of Yangdong District Chamber of Commerce of Yangjiang City and Yangjiang Electronic Commerce Association.


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#tripartiteAKL = success! By David Shamy, Auckland Council After months of preparation and a significant collaborative effort across the Auckland Council Family, especially by the Global Partnerships and Strategy Unit in conjunction with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the Tripartite Economic Alliance Summit kicked off on Monday 16 May at the Viaduct Events Centre. More than 700 delegates from Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles met to pursue business opportunities and hear from worldrenowned speakers and panelists over the two days. The energy and buzz felt across the two days was unbelievable with Mayor Brown hailing the Summit a “huge success far beyond our expectations”. The initial target of 100 business matching meetings was immediately surpassed with over 300 meetings scheduled by midway through the second day. New opportunities were broad ranging – at one end of the spectrum there were a number of potential deals developed and secured. At the other end of the spectrum there were a number of other fortuitous and leftfield opportunities. Several Memoranda of Understanding between businesses and research institutions covering biomedicine and innovation were also signed.

of Prime Minister John Key, Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Stephen Joyce and the Minister of Local Government, Sam Lotu-liga ensured active contributions from central government were made at the Summit. Guangzhou will host the next Tripartite Economic Summit in 2017. In the meantime, a focused programme of work will focus on trade, tourism, investment and tri-government cooperation More information on the immediate outcomes from the Summit can be found at: http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/ news/2016/05/tripartite-summit-a-success-forauckland-businesses

The attendance of Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and Guangzhou’s Vice Mayor Wang Dong and President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Madame Li provided the necessary political representation to lead high-level business leaders and delegates from the other two cities. All three leaders undertook a range of targeted political, business and tourism activities in Auckland. The participation

Lower Hutt sends art to Minoh for joint exhibition By Linda Goss-Wallace, Hutt City Council “Minoh and Lower Hutt are exchanging artworks for reciprocal exhibitions in each city this year and next”, says David Balm of Hutt Art Society.

“This followed an introduction when President Minoru Kugo, from Minoh Art Association and fellow members, were in Lower Hutt in February 2015 to celebrate the 20 year sister city relationship between the two cities. It was agreed to exchange 25 artworks between the two creative organisations – Hutt Art Society and Minoh Art Association, to grow further exchange between Lower Hutt and Minoh. Final steps were made in March to complete the collection of 25 artworks donated by Hutt Art Society members to be sent to Minoh City, Japan. David Balm and Iris Kauffeld, Gallery Manager; photographed above, catalogued and packed the artworks for transportation in time for the 60th anniversary celebrations of Minoh City in June 2016. The Hutt Minoh Friendship House Trust supported the project with a grant to help transport the artworks to Japan.


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The Minoh Art Association are planning to send a reciprocal exhibition to Lower Hutt to be shown at the Hutt Art Centre in April 2017.” Hutt City Council sent large posters and information to promote Lower Hutt, which has attracted a lot of interest from people attending the exhibition. Below is a message from Minoh Art Association, President Minoru KUGO: “We succeed to exhibit many arts from Hutt Art Society at our 60th year anniversary exhibition in Minoh. I thank you from the bottom of my heart to David Balm, president of Hutt Art Society, and members of Hutt Art Society. This is one of my impressions that many people said these arts from Hutt are different from Japanese

arts. Colours are brighter, different way of painting, and interesting impression as they even painted edge of the canvas. Depending on people, there are several ways of feeling but I felt especially the differences of atomospheres of the scene from these arts from Hutt. We have different history, culture and way of feeling so that we are feeling interesting world from the arts directly not by words. Moreover, when people saw the posters from Lower Hutt, and they were impressed by the beauty, they said they want to visit Lower Hutt, New Zealand. This is our first time exchange project, and I am feeling very successful and excited. Thank you very much”.

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Sister Cities New Zealand newsletter June 2016  

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