Free public events to mark sister city celebrations

Wednesday 23 January 2013, 12:58PM

By Invercargill City Council



Two free public events will be the major focus of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Invercargill’s sister city relationship with Kumagaya, Japan.

A high-powered delegation of 13 Japanese, led by long-serving Kumagaya Mayor, Kiyoshi Tomioka, will visit Invercargill for the three days from Thursday, February 14.

The newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Yasuaki Nogawa has also been invited to join in the celebrations, which begin with a welcome function at the Kelvin Hotel.

The sister city agreement was first signed in 1993, and a re-signing ceremony held ten years later.  The 20th anniversary is seen as a major milestone and in 2012 Council voted to re-sign the sister city agreement in 2013.

The major day of planned events is Friday, February 15:

  • Mayor Tim Shadbolt and Mayor Kiyoshi Tomioka will make a morning visit to the Children’s Ward at Southland Hospital to give gifts to the children who are unable to join in the celebrations because they are in hospital.
  • At the same time the Superintendent of Education for Kumagaya and a group will visit James Hargest College junior campus.
  • Then, after a formal meeting with Mayor Shadbolt, the delegation will go to the Civic Theatre to take part in the official ceremony for the re-signing of the sister city agreement.  This event will involve schools and other groups with long-standing links to Kumagaya.  Members of the public are invited to attend and entry is free.
  • That afternoon the delegation will take part in a commemorative tree planting ceremony at the Japanese Garden in Queens Park, and then travel to Anderson Park for a garden party hosted by members of the Kumagaya Friendship Association.

  • In the evening the whole of Invercargill is invited to Rugby Park for The Great Mayoral Rugby Challenge – where the Mayor of Invercargill’s Team will play the Mayor of Kumagaya’s Team.  The teams will be made up of current and former Stags, plus up and coming players from Invercargill.  Gates open at 5.30pm and Kick Off is at 7pm.  Entry is free.



The following day, Saturday, February 16, the Kumagaya delegation will visit Stewart Island and Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff, which marks the end of their stay.

The total cost of the 20th anniversary celebrations in Invercargill, including the two, free entry public events, is expected to be around $39,000 and will be met by the existing sister city budget.