Sister city relations flourish

Cambridge’s unique sister city relationship with Le Quesnoy in France will be in the spotlight at the annual Global Cities two-day conference in Blenheim next month.

Sir Donald McKinnon, who chairs the Le Quesnoy Liberation Museum Trust, is the keynote speaker at the conference’s opening day on March 14.

Mayor Susan O’Regan, Museum trust board chair Sir Don McKinnon, Liz Stolwyk and Jo Davies-Colley

He will talk about the relationship between Cambridge and Le Quesnoy which culminated in the opening of Te Arawhata – New Zealand Liberation Museum in October last year.

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan and Cambridge Community Board chair Jo Davies-Colley represented the district at the ceremony. The board has responsibility for Waipā’s sister city relationships with Le Quesnoy and Bihoro in Japan.

Final costs of $4361.51 – $108.66 under budget – for the trip to France by O’Regan and Davies-Colley were tabled at the Cambridge Community Board meeting last night (Wednesday) after The News went to press.

Deputy mayors of Waipā and Le Quesnoy, Liz Stolwyk and Axelle Declerck, in the Jubilee Gardens in front of the Cambridge Cenotaph and outside the Town Hall look over the World War I memorial roll.

Costs for trips to Cambridge by delegations from Le Quesnoy and Bihoro were also received. The French group visited for Armistice Day and other activities for $8286 – $3072 under budget – while Bihoro’s mayor Koji Hirano brought an eight-strong group later in November costing $6520, nearly $4000 under budget.

Sundry costs and gifts cost $1442.

Davies-Colley said she and the board valued the sister cities’ relationships and will attend the Global Cities conference hosted by Marlborough District Council. The budgeted cost is $1600 plus GST.

The conference will also feature speeches by the Australian, British, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and United States high commissioners and ambassadors on the importance of citizen diplomacy through sister city connections.

It will wrap up with an awards prize-giving.

Bihoro sister city visit to Cambridge

Earlier this month NZ Rugby donated a carved All Blacks bench to Te Arawhata.

The ceremony was attended by Caroline Bilkey – New Zealand’s ambassador to France, Marie Sophie Lesne – mayor of Le Quesnoy, former All Black Andrew Mehrtens, and more than 300 Le Quesnoy locals and visiting Kiwis.  Mehrtens first visited Le Quesnoy with the All Blacks back in 2000.

The bench is one of four donated by the NZ Rugby to France to mark the sporting bond and friendship between the two countries.

Sit here: The new seat at Te Arawhata – New Zealand Liberation Museum donated by NZ Rugby. Front row (from left) Geraldine Williamson, Ngāti Rānana; Caroline Bilkey, New Zealand’s ambassador to France, Le Quesnoy mayor Marie-Sophie Lesne, and Tamara Fleming, Ngāti Rānana. Back row (from left) Logan Carroll, Ngāti Rānana; Josh Hansen, NZ Liberation Museum manager; Aritaku Fleming, Ngāti Rānana; former All Black Andrew Mehrtens; Sam Martin, Ngāti Rānana; and Mike Moeahu, NZ Rugby.

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