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:
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.
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.