Council & City

Mihara, Hiroshima, Japan

On 21 March 2019, we signed an official declaration of partnership with Mihara. The agreement was signed by Mayor Grant Smith and Mihara Mayor Yoshinori Tenma.

Photo shows the two mayors sitting at a table decked with Japanese and NZ flags, holding copies of the signed partnership agreement.

Palmerston North and Mihara make their city partnership official through an agreement signing in March 2019.

Located in Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture, Mihara was founded on 15 November 1936 and has an estimated population of 97,324.

Its name references the three (mi) plains (hara) that the three main rivers split the area into. Mihara Castle was built upon the plains in the late 1500s and a castle town grew up around it (the castle celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2017). In 2005, the towns of Daiwa, Kui and Hongō were also merged into Mihara.

With the Hiroshima Airport located in the western hills of Mihara, it makes the city a transit hub for much of the Hiroshima prefecture. As a key junction of land, sea and air transportation, it is also an industrial city with varied economic strengths such as shipbuilding, fisheries, printing machinery and electronics companies.

The University of Hiroshima has a Mihara Campus. It is home to the Faculty of Health and Welfare, specialising in healthcare frontline service majors including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and radiology.

Photo shows the mayors of Palmerston North and Mihara standing in front a banner that reads "Welcome to Mihara City".

Mayoral-led delegations exchanged visits in 2016 and 2017, with key areas of discussion including education, sport, economic, and emergency management cooperation.

In recent years, Palmerston North and Mihara have exchanged mayoral-led delegation visits, with key areas of discussion focused on education, sport, economic and emergency management cooperation.

In March 2019, Mihara Mayor Yoshinori Tenma led a delegation to Palmerston North for the Sister Cities New Zealand Conference. Among others, the Mihara delegates visited IPU to advance cooperation on education programmes and participated in the Festival of Cultures opening ceremony. Mihara also permanently loaned a suit of samurai armour to the Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History.

Photo shows people in traditional Japanese dress dancing with locals at the Festival of Cultures.

Mihara delegates showcased Japan’s Yassa dance during the 2019 Festival of Cultures World Food, Craft & Music Fair.

Common interests with Palmerston North

Emergency management

Palmerston North and Mihara share many similar civil defence risks, including earthquakes, floods and landslides. In March 2018, the Mihara Superintendent of Emergency Management visited Palmerston North to exchange knowledge and best practice on civil defence and emergency management. This knowledge exchange visit was reciprocated by PNCC’s Head of Emergency Management in October 2018, where he learned about Mihara’s response to the devastating floods that occurred in Japan.


Palmerston North triathlete David Martin was sponsored by the Hiroshima New Zealand Friendship Society to take part in the Sagishima Triathlon in August 2018, where he achieved second place. He has been invited back to Japan in August 2019, to compete in the 30th anniversary of the Sagishima triathlon.

During their March 2019 visit, the Mihara delegation also went to Massey’s Manawatū Campus for a tour and to hear about successful sport development initiatives involving the Manawatū Triathlon Club.


Several school partnerships and exchange programmes are being explored at both the primary and secondary level.

A JET (Japan exchange and teaching programme) teacher from Palmerston North is currently teaching in Mihara and supporting school-to-school connections.

In March 2019, a mayoral-led Mihara delegation visited IPU to advance cooperation on education programmes.

Contact the International Relations Office if you are keen to know more about this opportunity.

Photo shows our international relations manager, her daughter and global ambassadors with the mayor of Mihara.

Mihara Mayor Yoshinori Tenma with PNCC International Relations Manager Toni Grace and Palmerston North’s Global Ambassadors.