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Mayoral Party Going To Japan For Celebrations

Media release
13 September 2002

Mayoral Party Going To Japan For Sister City Celebrations

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis is heading a civic delegation of 51 citizens of Manukau travelling to Manukau's sister city of Utsunomiya in Japan on Monday. The cities are this year celebrating the 20th anniversary of their sister city relationship, which began in 1982.

The Manukau representatives include high school students, community members, councillors, deputy mayor Ann Candy, and City Manager Colin Dale. The group will be in Japan for ten days. As with previous visits, they will be staying with Japanese families in homestays.

They will be taking part in a series of civic events, celebrations and other activities organised by Utsunomiya city council.

Over the past twenty years the relationship has led to exchange visits both ways by thousands of citizens for educational, business, sporting and social experiences. Each year Manukau City hosts groups and individuals from Utsunomiya including study tours, bands, piano recitals, business people and students.

Last year a group of 62 students from Howick and St Kentigern's Colleges made a very successful trip to Utsunomiya.

Sir Barry Curtis says, "These visits have led to increased understanding of our respective countries, the sharing of our cultures, and to many friendships.

"The homestays are a big part. It makes such a difference staying with a family because we get a much richer understanding of everyday life, and make contacts that will last a lifetime.

"Because of the enduring and regular contact between our two cities over the past 20 years, many Japanese know more about Manukau and the rest of New Zealand, and many of my fellow citizens have got to know Japan and to experience the hospitality and friendliness of its people."

There is also an economic spinoff for the city. It is estimated that the students spend $79,000 per year in Manukau and the relationship has led to honey and clothing exports from Manukau, and the opening of a Japanese restaurant in Pakuranga.


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