The Sister Cities Committees in Christchurch have exciting activities on throughout the year. These might be local cultural events, celebrations, or visiting sister city delegations, both incoming and outgoing.
A sister cities plenary was hosted by Christchurch City Council with neighbouring districts including Hurunui, Selwyn and Ashburton on Saturday 2 September.
Caroline Blanchfield, Business Development Manager of ChristchurchNZ spoke about Tourism, Airlines and Christchurch as an international city and said that sister cities are a conduit for links and partnership in tourism, education, arts and culture across the world. Rob Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Development Christchurch Ltd spoke about the future of international relationship in business and investment and stated that it is important that we get the positive messages about Christchurch and Canterbury out internationally to inspire confidence - and that Cantabrians are our greatest ambassadors.
A youth panel led a lively discussion on how to involve young people in Sister City activities. One said that young people would be very interested if they knew more about sister cities and would take the opportunities they provided such as cultural exchanges and events. This led into the publicity and social media panel where the discussion was around how to better promote sister cities and engage with the community.
The Christchurch-Songpa Gu Sister City Committee were pleased to be able to support two students from Casebrook Intermediate School, Ben Donaldson and Bronte Perriam, who have been selected to attend the 7th e-iCom international collaboration event at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Busan, South Korea.
They will join 140 students, from middle and high schools specialising in communication and education from 18 different countries. Their teacher, Casebrook Intermediate Deputy Principal, Nick Leith said that Ben and Bronte, who are also the school's head pupils, have been invited to the event collaboratively create pieces of technology for global education.
The students have held a Skype meeting and exchanged emails with their Korean peer school in Busan, and are looking forward to the learning opportunity. They will be reporting back to the Songpa Gu Sister City Committee when they return to Christchurch.
A group of 14 students accompanied by a staff from City Hall and a member of the Friendship Society from Kurashiki, Japan arrived in Christchurch on the Sister City Exchange organised by the Christchurch-Kurashiki Sister City Committee.
They were welcomed by members of the Committee, including Gus Fahy (Chair) and Shoko MacFarlane, who arranged the Christchurch programme.
During their two weeks stay in Christchurch, they attended school, learned English conversation, took day trips to places of interest and engaged fun activities.
The Christchurch-Songpa Gu Sister City Committee enjoyed their final meeting of the year by joining together for a Korean meal at Eden Alley in Riccarton.
The Committee remains strong and positive and is looking forward to a busy and productive 2017.
Chair of the Christchurch-Adelaide Sister City Committee Mr Keith Cowan stood down from the position and Prof. Peter Cottrell stepped up to take his place. Mr Cowan had enthusiastically led the committee for many years and will remain as a committee member.
Mr Lindsay Penman, who was also a long serving committee member also stood down from the committee.
Both gentlemen were thanked for their tireless work to ensure the sister city relationship between Christchurch and Adelaide remains strong and both said they were confident that the committee will continue to go from strength to strength.
David Bolam-Smith, who is a member of the RSA and of the Christchurch-Songpa Gu Sister City Committee, visited South Korea and the city of Busan.
As part of that visit he organised a visit to the cemetery [PDF, 356 KB] as an ex-soldier in the NZ Army, to place an ANZAC Poppy on the New Zealand Memorial and to pray for the fallen soldiers and world peace.
Mr Bolam-Smith said, "the warmth of the Korea people's welcome and their gratitude to the New Zealand soldiers for their sacrifice was overwhelming."
14 Christchurch high school students participated in the 2016 Kurashiki student exchange [PDF, 3.3 MB] organised by the Christchurch-Kurashiki Sister City Committee.
The group were led by Committee Chair Steve Wright and members Shoko Macfarlane and Courtenay Grenon.
The students were home hosted in Kurashiki and were able to experience Japanese culture, society and school life and also visit places of interest in within Kurashiki and the region.
Visiting Korean students at Halswell School had a wonderful New Zealand experience enhancing the Songpa-gu Sister City Garden with Park Ranger Robbie at the Halswell Quarry Park.
Yubin Kim of Jamsin Middle School from Christchurch's sister city Songpa-gu visited Christchurch for 3 weeks as the Christchurch Songpa-gu Scholarship winner 2016. Yubin was hosted by Casebrook Intermediate School, where she attended school and experienced a wide range of Christchurch activities, including Kiwi homestay.
View Yubin's winning video application for the scholarship programme, which is supported by Songpa-gu Office and New Zealand Embassy in Seoul and Education New Zealand.
Halswell School Proud Winners: Sister Cities New Zealand Award
The school was recently congratulated by Mayor Lianne Dalziel and presented with a certificate for the Sister Cities New Zealand Award for 'Best School Cultural Awareness Project' for their entry based on the school's trip to China and Korea, including sister city Songpa-gu, in 2015. The awards are sponsored by Air New Zealand and the school receives a prize of $1500 of Air NZ travel. The students travelled to Wellington [PDF, 80 KB] to visit the Beehive and other places of interest using the prize.
Gaku Hashimoto, member of Japan's Diet, representing Kurashiki visited New Zealand in April as a Guest of Government. One of the youngest of Japan's parliamentarians he holds several vice-ministerial portfolios.
On a visit to Christchurch he met the Hon Nicky Wagner, MP Christchurch Central, the Chief Executive of CERA to be briefed on the Christchurch rebuild, and Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Councillors.
Members of the Kurashiki Sister City Committee arranged a tree-planting in the Kurashiki Sister City Garden in Halswell Quarry Park to mark his visit. Mr.Hashimoto also visited the Transitional Cathedral, the CTV site and Bishopspark Retirement Home during his brief stay. Kurashiki Sister City Chairman Steve Wright, Deputy Chairman Keith Nicholson and Past Chairman David Bolam Smith hosted Mr. Hashimoto on behalf of the Committee.