In 2017, the Eastern Bridge company was contracted to identify a potential sister city partner for the Ōpōtiki District Council, located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. The company consulted with three Eastern Bay of Plenty councils, and after analyzing a range of criteria related to compatibility, 12 options were identified, with Jiangxi Province being selected as the most suitable.
There are many parallels between the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Jiangxi, including similar economies based around horticulture, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and tourism, as well as a rich and diverse cultural identity and supportive local governments. Geographically, both regions are significantly forested with important rivers and lakes, as well as being in geothermal zones. Additionally, the people of the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Jiangxi enjoy similar outdoor activities.
The sister city relationship between the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Jiangxi Provincial Government was formalized in 2019, with Ōpōtiki signing with Xinyu City, Whakatāne with Fuzhou City, and Kawerau with Yingtan City. Various projects were identified for the two sides to consider, and a $500,000 fund was established to fund two-way scholarships and exchanges between the people of Jiangxi and the Bay of Plenty. The Bay of Plenty Center in Nanchang was also officially opened to support Bay of Plenty organizations in running events and activities in Jiangxi Province.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the two regions remained in contact through online school and community group exchanges, highlighting the importance of sister cities in maintaining international relationships. Overall, sister cities provide a valuable opportunity for communities to share their cultures, ideas, and experiences while building meaningful connections and promoting global cooperation.
Jiangxi Province, located in southeast China, is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and diverse culture. The province has a long history dating back to ancient times, with numerous historical sites and relics such as the Jinggang Mountains and the ancient city of Pingyao.
The population of Jiangxi is approximately 46 million, with a mix of Han and minority ethnic groups including the She, Hakka, and Miao people.
Jiangxi is home to a variety of stunning natural environments, from the Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, to the towering Wuyi Mountains. The province has made great efforts to protect its environment and improve water management, with initiatives such as “sponge cities” to improve water retention and reduce flooding.
Jiangxi’s economy is diverse, with horticulture, forestry, tourism, and freshwater aquaculture being among the main industries. The province has a rich agricultural heritage, with tea, rice, and oranges being among the main crops. In addition, Jiangxi is a major producer of non-ferrous metals such as copper and tungsten.
The province is also home to a vibrant tourism industry, with attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mount Sanqingshan National Park and the Lushan National Park.
In terms of culture, Jiangxi is known for its traditional crafts such as porcelain, paper-cutting, and embroidery. The province is also home to a number of festivals and celebrations, including the Gannan Shaolin Kung Fu Festival and the Wuyuan Flower Festival.