News & Events

Palmerston North to host international and NZ delegation at Sister Cities conference

Monday March 18 2019

International visitors from USA, Japan, China and Australia as well as delegates from all over New Zealand are set to converge at the 2019 New Zealand Sister Cities conference in Palmerston North this week (21 to 23 March).

Photo shows people whitewater rafting on Missoula's river.


The conference is a fitting culmination to the city’s annual multicultural community celebration – the Festival of Cultures.

More than 100 attendees are participating. Sister Cities Conference is a yearly meeting of local and central government officials, ambassadors and community leaders to discuss, learn, and exchange best practice on international cooperation at a local level.

“This is an opportunity for leaders to discuss how to foster global connections as well as how to derive the best economic and community development outcomes for New Zealand cities and regions,” says Hiromi Morris, Sister Cities New Zealand (SCNZ) President.

Two of our sister cities are sending delegations to the conference: Missoula in Montana, USA and Mihara in Hiroshima, Japan.

“The focus of the conference will be ‘Prosperity through Partnership’,” says Toni Grace, PNCC’s International Relations Manager. “It’s about being proactive with our international relationships. We’re excited for our delegates to have valuable conversations and be immersed in our city’s vibrant cultural scene.”

We have lined up a myriad of activities for our sister cities. Among others, delegates will be welcomed with a pōwhiri and some will stay at Te Rangimarie Marae, arranged by Rangitāne iwi.

Missoula’s delegates will arrive next week. At the Festival of Cultures, their indigenous culture is set to shine with Native American arts leaders doing a traditional dance performance. Their focus will also be on strengthening projects, including student exchange and research cooperation between Massey University and Missoula’s University of Montana.

Delegates from Mihara will tour the city and will sign an official declaration of partnership with us. They will also visit IPU to advance cooperation on education programmes.

“We’re seeing immense benefits from these partnerships. We look forward to building closer connections as we showcase Palmerston North through the Sister Cities conference and our own Festival of Cultures,” says Grace.

Aside from the Missoula and Mihara delegation, members of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) from Beijing and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations – Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR) from Sydney will also attend.

Conference highlights

  • evening reception at the New Zealand Rugby Museum with Japanese Ambassador Hiroyasu Kobayashi, celebrating Sister City cooperation during the 2019 Rugby World Cup
  • formal dinner and awards evening, attended by mayors from around the country and members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • a talk about the 2019 China New Zealand Year of Tourism and opportunities for promotions of Sister City links
  • the release of a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report on maximising the benefits of Sister City relationships

The full conference programme can be accessed at the Sister Cities New Zealand website: