Sister and Friendly Cities

Nelson City maintains Sister City relationships with a number of cities from around the world.

The very first links set up by New Zealand came up after WWI with French and Belgian connections. In 1956 US President Eisenhower made a call to establish ‘People-to-People’ programmes between cities and towns around the world. Most of these were focused on the USA, UK, and Australia, but from the 1970s New Zealand began to start links with Japan, and from 1981 to China. These were initiatives of city and district councils, with support and involvement of Rotary and RSAs, and sometimes schools.

On 3 November 1980, an inaugural seminar was held in Wellington about the creation of a possible national Sister City organisation. This seminar was attended by Sister Cities International, and the agreement suggested that the entity was a branch of this global organisation. At the second conference in 1982, it was agreed an Incorporated Society called Sister Cities New Zealand would be set up. Since then Sister Cities New Zealand has grown to having 159 links spread across 24 countries; the most being in Japan with 44 cities. The organisation partners with many other companies and groups such as Air New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sister Cities International, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Local Government New Zealand.

In 2021 Sister Cities New Zealand celebrated its 40th anniversary, reflecting the enthusiasm and drive of its membership, and speaking to the wide-ranging benefits that can come from Sister City links.

Visit the Sister Cities New Zealand website

Nelson's Sister Cities


Display of gifts presented to Nelson City by our Sister Cities 

A cabinet displaying various objects gifted to Nelson City by our Sister Cities is located in the Elma Turner Library, with the displays rotating the cities every six months.