13 June 2018
A Whanganui delegation to Japanese sister city Nagaizumi-cho for 30th anniversary celebrations will foster international relations and explore education and economic benefits, says Mayor Hamish McDouall.
The August visit coincides with Nagaizumi-cho’s annual Waku Waku Festival and includes an anniversary ceremony and exchange event to celebrate 30 years of the sister city relationship along with town tours and meetings with various officials. There will also be an opportunity to present information about education opportunities in Whanganui and New Zealand.
Mayor McDouall and Whanganui District Council’s Chief Executive Kym Fell are part of a seven-strong official Council delegation that includes Whanganui & Partners General Manager Phillipa Ivory, New Zealand International Pilot Academy Chief Executive Phillip Bedford, Principal Advisor Corporate - International Relations Marianne Cavanagh, Councillor Rob Vinsen and former Sister Cities co-ordinator Malcolm Hunt.
Thanks to the generosity of Nagaizumi-cho hosts, the accommodation and internal travel costs of the Council’s seven representatives will be taken care of, with the Council only needing to cover airfares. These are expected to cost around $2000 to $2,500 per person return, including flights from Whanganui to Auckland.
Mayor McDouall says Nagaizumi-cho’s generosity is greatly appreciated.
“Nagaizumi-cho has shown by this gesture that its puts a huge value on this relationship. This is a significant anniversary. It’s exciting to honour this 30-year relationship and appropriate that we send a strong Council delegation. We have benefited annually with visits from Nagaizumi-cho schools and hope to strengthen the mutuality of these benefits.”
Around ten other delegates will travel to Japan on a self-funded basis. They are invited to attend celebratory events and will travel as part of the wider delegation. Among them are community members with previous and current ties to Nagaizumi-cho, including education providers, business leaders and Rotary members.
Mr Fell’s international travel and airfares were approved by the Council on Tuesday, while Mayor McDouall’s travel was approved in March this year.
Council Chief Operating Officer Bryan Nicholson says supporting this anniversary aligns with the development of the Council’s International Relations Strategy, as well as supporting key strategic objectives within the Leading Edge Strategy.
“This includes supporting our existing international relationships, being positive ambassadors and self-promoters of our district and encouraging those with a connection or interest in Whanganui to do the same. We want everyone to be able to leverage sister city relationships to achieve cultural, educational and economic benefit and investment.”
The Mayors of Whanganui and Nagaizumi-cho signed a sister cities agreement in 1988. A Whanganui delegation attended the tenth anniversary celebrations of the sister city relationship in Nagaizumi-cho in 1999 and former Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon led a small group visit to Nagaizumi-cho to celebrate the 20th anniversary in 2008. In 2014 former Mayor Annette Main and former Chief Executive Kevin Ross visited Nagaizumi-cho.
A delegation from Nagaizumi-cho will visit Whanganui in January next year and will send a strong contingent to take part in the February 2019 New Zealand Masters Games to be held in Whanganui.