Sister cities or twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, districts, provinces, regions, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. New Zealand has some 160 sister city relationships from Istanbul to Nuku’alofa, with more than half of those in Asia – the majority of them being in Japan.
When managed actively sister cities and other unofficial local government diplomacy can become an enabler for community and economic development. The people-to-people links are key to building cross-cultural understanding and friendship. While the foundation of good-will and trust they build provides a good platform for business exchange and cooperation.