Tauranga has hosted a delegation of city leaders from one of our oldest sister cities this week.

The group of 13 from Hitachi in Japan included the mayor and city council chairman. They arrived on Monday and will leave today.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said Hitachi became Tauranga's sister city 29 years ago.

The cities took turns to bring a mayoral delegation to visit every three years.

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Greg Simmonds of Priority One said the delegation members had been interested in aspects of how Tauranga City Council was run, including how council-controlled organisation Bay Venues worked.

They also visited Bob Owens Retirement Village to learn about how Tauranga was coping with an ageing population - a problem Hitachi shared.

Among other activities, the group experienced Maori culture at Huria Marae, saw the kiwifruit packing process at Aongatete Coolstores and were hosted by Mr Brownless for dinner at Mills Reef.

Mr Simmonds said the friendly relationship between the two cities had resulted in many education exchanges - including eight Tauranga high school students who spent six days in Hitachi earlier this month - and opportunities for local exporters to trial their products in the Japanese market.


Delegation members

The delegation from Hitachi visiting Tauranga included:

- Mr Haruki Ogawa - Mayor of Hitachi City
- Mr Mitsuo Okabe - Chairman of Hitachi City Council
- Mr Mitsunori Akiyama - President Hitachi Chamber of Commerce
- Ms Toshiko Yokota - President Hitachi International Association
- Mr Hideo Kaneko - President of Hitachi Cultural Association