Christchurch, New Zealand
Sister City since 1981
Christchurch became Seattle's seventh sister city in 1981. In July 1981, Christchurch Mayor Sir Hamish Hay paid his first of several visits to Seattle. The Seattle-Christchurch Sister City Association sponsors an ongoing faculty exchange between the University of Washington and Canterbury University, as well as high school teacher and student exchanges. The Association helped create an aviary in the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and brought two New Zealand parrots (keas) to the Zoo. The Association was very involved with helping create the New Zealand Forest at the Pacific Connections Garden in the Seattle Arboretum and they organized for a Maori carver to carve the back of a bench in the garden. The Association also helped restore the Maori exhibit in the Pacific Voices exhibit at the University of Washington's Burke Museum. After the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 the Seattle Sister City Association raised money from the people of Seattle for a rapid response vehicle for the City of Christchurch. The Association has also supported sports teams, choral groups and performing arts groups visiting the Seattle area and similar Seattle groups touring New Zealand.
Christchurch is New Zealand's third largest city and the largest city in the South Island with a population of 367,000. It is located on a large plain with mountains to the west for skiing and as deep-water port to the east for commerce and water sports. It is known as "The Garden City." The area is largely agricultural, specializing in wood and dairy products and has thriving technology and wine industries. Ten percent of the port traffic is tied to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
Seattle-Christchurch Sister City Association:
Rachel Jacobsen, President