The Whakatāne District Sister Cities Association has two Sister City relationships, one with Kamagaya in Japan and the other with Warwick in Australia. It also has a friendship agreement with Shibukawa City in Japan.
The Association meets on a six-weekly basis and holds its Annual General Meeting in September of each year. Members of the public are welcome to attend and contribute to the meetings.
The dates of the meetings are listed in the Whakatāne District Council's monthly meeting schedule.
Each year the Association offers a Y12 or 13 student a scholarship of $1,000 to spend time in Kamagaya and learn more about the Japanese language and culture. The scholarship is offered towards the end of the first term of school, but the trip can be taken at any time.
View or download our Student Scholarship information sheet (PDF, 66 KB) for further details.
An agreement between the Whakatāne District Sister Cities Association and Kamagaya City Hall was signed on November 16, 1997. Exchanges between citizens of Whakatāne and Kamagaya are encouraged, especially in the education and cultural sectors.
Mission Statement: "To encourage and promote international exchange through development and maintenance of Sister City Links."
Kamagaya is situated one hour by train from Tokyo in the Chiba Prefecture. It is classed as a dormitory suburb of Tokyo, where most of the residents work. It has a population of 104,768 (as at April 2008) and covers a total area of 21.11 square kilometres.
A number of projects have been undertaken, including the Japanese Garden situated at the river end of McGarvey Road in Whakatāne. Read more about these unique gardens (PDF, 513 KB).
A list of Objectives for the Sister Cities Association is also available: Sister Cities Objectives (PDF, 73 KB)
The Kamagaya International Friendship Association is a group of citizens which assists visitors to their community. The group has been a very active partner in the Whakatāne/Kamagaya Sister City relationship.
In 2006, Kita Tachibana merged with five surrounding areas to become part of Shibukawa City. Shibukawa City is located within the Gumna Prefecture of Japan with a population of around 87,000. It is surrounded by Mount Akagi in the east, Mount Komochi in the north, Mount Hasruna in the west and the Kanto Plains in the south. Shibukawa City has a total area of 240.42 square kilometres.
A formal agreement was signed between Whakatāne and Shibukawa City in 2000, largely due to Hokkitsu-mura Junior High school visiting every year since 2003.
Located in the heart of Queensland’s rich Darling Downs, Warwick is renowned for producing high-quality agricultural produce for its annual, monthlong Rose and Rodeo festival.
Warwick is the oldest centre of the Darling Downs and has many historic associations with the early settlement and development of Queensland. It has a district population of 32,600 and is known as the Shire of Warwick.