Council’s Outstanding Sister City Work Recognised
Winning the top award for a project that connects primary schools and residents in Lower Hutt with Minoh City, Japan along with Mayor Ray Wallace’s appointment as Vice President to Sister Cities New Zealand reflects the strong commitment Lower Hutt has made to its Sister City relationships.
Lower Hutt received the top Air New Zealand Award at the recent Sister Cities New Zealand Annual Conference for a project that uses Skype to connect Tui Glen and Epuni Primary schools and the War Memorial Library in Lower Hutt with two primary schools and the Multicultural Centre of Minoh, Japan.
Mayor Ray Wallace says, “This Skype project is a wonderful example of how much Sister City relationships can contribute to our communities.
“It opens up so much potential for young people, awakening them to the world of possibilities available to them.”
Hutt City Council Projects Manager Linda Goss-Wallace says, “This project’s aim is to exchange conversation, culture and education and since its launch in 2014 it’s gone from strength to strength.
“The children really enjoy meeting with their virtual classmates, they connect daily and have built relationships across the world.
“Locating Skype in the War Memorial Library and Multicultural Centre has allowed members of the public to also be part of the exchange programme in the virtual world.”
NEC New Zealand Limited partnered with Hutt City Council to provide the Skype equipment and Linda Goss-Wallace says, “We’re investigating opportunities to find sponsorship to give more of our local students the experience of connecting with our Sister Cities through the virtual classroom.”
Mayor Wallace was also appointed Vice President of Sister Cities New Zealand at the Sister Cities New Zealand Annual Conference. He will be able to provide insight and support as a Local Government representative, and contribute his experiences as Mayor of a city that greatly values its own Sister City relationships.
“There’s so much great opportunity through these civic connections,” says Mayor Wallace.
“We’re gaining so much educational, cultural and economic insight and enrichment and are actively seeking to further these relationships.
“I’m pleased to also have the opportunity to contribute to this at a national level as Vice President to Sister Cities New Zealand.”
Lower Hutt has formal Sister City agreements with Tempe City in Arizona, Minoh City in Japan, and Taizhou City and Xi’an City in China.