New Sister City for Capital honours Anzac links

14 April 2015

One hundred years after their people met as foes on the battleground of Gallipoli, Wellington, New Zealand and Çanakkale, Turkey will formally symbolise a friendly future.

The Wellington City Council has today agreed to partner with Çanakkale for a Historical Sister City Relationship, as a gesture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One and to honour the friendship between the people of New Zealand and Turkey.

Çanakkale is the province in Turkey where the Gallipoli Peninsula is located, and following earlier informal discussions, the Turkish Ambassador to New Zealand H.E. Damla Yeşim Say, wrote to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown proposing a Sister City Relationship between Wellington and Çanakkale.

“With this Historical Sister City relationship, Wellington honours our history and our friendship with the people of Turkey,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“The Atatürk Memorial atop our rugged South Coast is a physical connection with the Gallipoli campaign, this Historical Sister City relationship provides a civic connection in keeping with our similar relationships with Harrogate, England and Hania, Greece, both of which had their origins in the bonds formed during war.”

Ambassador Say referred to the Governor-General of New Zealand’s visit to Turkey in April 2014 and noted that while there, His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae discussed with the Governor of Çanakkale, Mr Ahmet Çinar, the establishment of a Sister City Relationship between Çanakkale and Wellington.

The Governor-General and Mr Çinar agreed that a Sister City relationship between the two cities would be a momentous initiative.  The Governor-General reiterated this at the recent Sister Cities Conference.

“The sister city relationship between Çanakkale and Wellington will serve as yet another testament to how Turkey and New Zealand have built a new friendship out of the embers of a horrible war,” says Ambassador Say.

“All the fallen in Gallipoli are all our grandfathers, and we are proof for posterity that people who once fought as enemies can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder today in remembrance of their grandfathers’ sacrifice, and in celebration of their friendship.”

“I’m pleased the Capital can mark this important time in our shared history with Çanakkale and respond favourably to the Turkish Ambassador and Governor General’s interest,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

The Wellington City Council will sign an MOU with the Çanakkale Municipality formalising this Historical Sister City Relationship.  No additional funding will be required.