Cairns Sister Cities program
The Sister Cities program aims to develop meaningful and long term links with cities and communities in other countries to achieve a greater level of international understanding and goodwill between peoples, and to share economic, community, cultural and social interaction.
General information about the Sister Cities overall program is available at the Sister Cities Australia website.
Our Sister Cities
Cairns has sister city relationships with seven cities:
Hiwasa became Cairns' first sister city in 1969. In 2006, Hiwasa and neighbouring town Yuki merged and were renamed Minami. The relationship was sparked by the Mayor of Hiwasa's interest in the Loggerhead turtle and the decision by Cairns to send an example for display at the Hiwasa museum. Minami has approximately 10,000 residents and is located on the island of Shikoku in the south east of the Japanese archipeligo.
The second largest city in Papua New Guinea, Lae shares a similar history to Cairns, being founded on gold mining and then agriculture. Located on the central east coast, the city is home to Papua New Guinea's largest port and acts as the entry point to road travel into the central highlands. It is considered the industrial capital of the country. Lae has a population of approximately 100,000.
Like Cairns, Sidney is a year-round tourist destination with an extensive waterfront and artificial reef. Associated industries include fishing, ocean science and marina operation. It is located on the northern end of Vancouver Island, at the extreme south west of Canada and has a population of approximately 11,500 residents.
Scottsdale, in the desert state of Arizona, is considered one of the world's premier golf and resort destinations. The population of approximately 227,000 swells dramatically during the North American winter, when its year-round warmth and sunshine make the city a popular annual destination for Americans and Canadians escaping the cold. Consequently, almost 40 per cent of residents are employed in the tourism industry. The city is steeped in Native American culture and cowboy lore, and is officially "The West's most western town".
The mayors of Riga and Cairns forged their sister city relationship at the International Sister Cities Convention hosted by Cairns in 1988. The capital and largest city in Latvia, with approximately 645,000 inhabitants, Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. This history is recognised in UNESCO World Heritage status for its city centre. Riga lies on the central western coast of Latvia and provides an important port on the Baltic Sea.
Surrounded by centuries-old rice fields and industrial mega-factories for some of Japan's biggest companies, Oyama is well known for its mix of traditional and contemporary lifestyles. Located in the central region of Honshu Island, the largest of the Japanese island chain, the city has a population of approximately 164,000 people.
One of China's four major sugarcane areas, Zhanjiang has a lot of parallels with Cairns. The most recent city to forge a relationship with Cairns, it is also the largest with approximately 7 million residents. On the South China Sea, Zhanjiang is China's southern-most port, part of the Southern Economic Zone and close to Hong Kong, making it a hub for mining, mineral explorations, the petrochemical industry, off-shore oil exploration, agriculture and marine products.
Sister Cities Advisory Committee
Council's Sister Cities program is managed by the Sister Cities Advisory Committee. This Advisory Committee provides recommendations to Council and contributes to the on-going development and maintenance of Council's Sister Cities relationships.
Sister Cities activities
Delegations to Cairns
Cairns Regional Council welcomes delegates from around the world who wish to explore our region and the vast array of opportunities it presents.
Do you or your group seek to visit Cairns Regional Council for purposes relating to Sister City relationship, trade and investment, or technical knowledge sharing? Please complete and submit our online application form at least one (1) month prior to your visit to the Cairns region. We will assess your application and, if accepted, make appropriate arrangements.
Youth Ambassadors program
The Youth Ambassadors program is a biennial event which seeks to promote international understanding and friendship, and to give young people a chance to experience another culture first-hand. The program invites two students from each of our seven Sister Cities to travel to Cairns to experience our lifestyle and culture. The youth ambassadors attend local schools, where they interact with students to learn more about Cairns and share information about their city and its culture. Read more about the Sister Cities Youth Ambassador program.
Cairns Says Hello video
As an initiative of the Cairns Sister Cities Advisory Committee, a short film (8 minutes) was created to send to all of our seven Sister Cities that depicts our lifestyle, environment, culture and people, all of them saying "Hello". The Cairns Says Hello film was given Special Recognition at the 2014 Sister Cities Australia Conference Awards ceremony. Read more about it or watch the video on YouTube.