The Chinese authorities suggested that Xiamen was a good partner because there are similarities between the two cities. Xiamen had recently become one of the first four Special Economic Zones in China.
On 23 June 1987, Mr Zou Erjun, Mayor of Xiamen, visited Wellington and signed the Sister-City Relationship Agreement with Wellington Mayor Jim Belich.
In 1998, the Wellington Xiamen Association was set up to support and encourage the relationship. The association has been instrumental in developing a healthy and interactive relationship between the two cities, including culture and education exchanges, as well as library exchanges and trade partnerships.
Victoria University of Wellington has a very valuable relationship with Xiamen University and collaborate in various research and language learning initiatives, including the successful Confucius Institute.
The current relationship focuses on:
- Education cooperation and exchanges
- Economic development and investment in urban development projects
- Cultural exchanges and projects
- Civic engagement