Kurashiki - Christchurch
In July of 1968, Mr. Michael Gorman a native of Christchurch, New Zealand came to Kurashiki. Mr. Gorman, while researching the cultural traditions and the economic situation of Kurashiki, soon became the major advocate of establishing some kind of exchanges between Kurashiki and both Christchurch and New Zealand. The holding of an exhibition of Kurashiki products in Christchurch and the visit of a delegation of New Zealand business leaders to Kurashiki was the result of his efforts.
Thanks to all of the efforts of Mr. Gorman, the idea of establishing official sister city ties between Kurashiki and Christchurch soon began to gain momentum. In July of 1972, the Christchurch City Council established an exploritary committee to investigate this possibilty. In September of 1972, the City of Christchurch officially invited the then Mayor of Kurashiki, Mr. Shigeki Oyama, to attend to opening ceremony for the new Christchurch Town Hall complex and James Hay Theater, as well as, the Christchurch Art's Festival to be held in January of 1973. Along with that invitation, the City of Christchurch expressed its desire to formally establish friendly ties with Kurashiki. Finally, in October of 1972, the head of that committee visited Kurashiki and met with Mayor Oyama, to discuss this idea.
On March 7, 1973, the Kurashikii City Council approved the establishment of sister city ties with Chistchurch and on March 13, the Christchurch City Council did the same. Thus, the 1st sister city relationship between a Japanese City and a New Zealand City came into being.
(*Pictures are from the official signing ceremony attended by Kurashiki Mayor Shigeki Oyama and Christchurch Mayor Hamish Hay)
Facts About Christchurch
Christchurch is located on the South Island of New Zealand. It has a total area of around 510 km2 and a its population of over 300,000 people makes it the largest city on the South Island and the 3rd largest nationwide.
Due to Christchurch's location in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasonal patterns are the exact opposite of Kurashiki's. When it is summer in Christchurch it is winter in Kurashiki. The average daily temperature of 11.7 ℃ does not vary much between winter and summer but the temperature can change drastically throughout a given day. Summers generally are warm and dry and New Zealanders seldom have to deal with the heat and humidity of an average Japanese summer. And, although Christchurch does not experience a "rainy season" like Japan, they do get some rain and have an average yearly rainfall of about 650mm.
First settled in the 1850's by immigrants from London, in a relatively short time, Christchurch has become the main economic, transportation, cultural and educational center of New Zealand's South Island. The city is known world wide for its beautiful and extensive park system as well as for its many museums and art galleries, universities and traditional architecture.
Christchurch is said to take its name from the famous English university, Oxford's Christ College. Its residents are very proud of their English heritage, tradtions and customs and Christchurch is often referred to as being the "most English city outside of England.
The Christchurch Art Gallery
Mona Vale Homestead Gardens
Christchurch's Street Cars
The Avon River
The Arts Center
View of the Port Hills
View of the South Alps
The Christchurch Cathedral
Over the years, a variety of different exchanges have taken place between the cities at many different levels.
Since 1989, the yearly hosting of student groups （Kurashiki Youth Goodwill Mission，Christchurch Student Goodwill Ambassadors）have become one of the major exchange programs between the cities.
In recent years, exchanges between elementary schools, art groups, culture groups, music groups, as well as, the Sculpture/Sculptor Exchange and the Disabled Persons Exchange have also been held.
Currently, both cities are investigating ways to increase their economic ties and are exploring the possibility of exchanging information regarding IT technology and administrative policies.
(* Except for the Disabled Persons Exchange, all of the above links are in Japanese only)
▲ July 1993, 20th Anniversary Celebrations in Kurashiki. An official delegation visited Kurashiki and participated in various commemorative events.
▲August 2005, Visit from Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore.
Mayor Moore's August 2005 visit
Click the above link for more information about this visit (Japanese Page Only)
▲October 2003, 30th Anniversary Celebrations in Christchurch. A Maori Youth Group performed traditional Maori songs and dances at the commemorative ceremony.
▲2016 Student Goodwill Ambassador Group
(Japanese Page Only)
Christchurch, New Zealand Official Homepage
Christchurch's Sister Cities Official Homepage