Council & City

Newly developing city partnerships

We're in the early stages of exploring a new friendship city relationship with Mihara, located in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

The city was founded on November 15, 1936 and has an estimated population of 97,324. 

Its name references the three (mi) plains (hara) that the three main rivers split the area into. Mihara Castle was built upon the plains in the late 1500s and a castle town grew up around it (the castle celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2017). In 2005, the towns of Daiwa, Kui and Hongō were also merged into Mihara.

Hiroshima Airport is located in the western hills of Mihara City, making it a transit hub for much of the Hiroshima prefecture. As a key junction of land, sea and air transportation, it is an industrial city with economic strengths including shipbuilding, fisheries, printing machinery and electronics companies.

The University of Hiroshima has a Mihara Campus, which is home to the Faculty of Health and Welfare, specialising in healthcare frontline service majors including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and radiology.

Photo shows the mayors of Palmerston North and Mihara standing in front a banner that reads "Welcome to Mihara City".

Mayoral-led delegations exchanged visits in 2016 and 2017, with key areas of discussion including education, sport, economic, and emergency management cooperation.

Common interests with Palmerston North

Emergency management

Palmerston North and Mihara share many similar civil defence risks, including earthquakes, floods and landslides. In March 2018, the Mihara Superintendent of Emergency Management visited Palmerston North to exchange knowledge and best practice on civil defence and emergency management. This knowledge exchange visit is being reciprocated by PNCC’s Head of Emergency Management in October 2018, where he will also learn about Mihara’s response to the devastating floods that occurred in Japan this year.


Palmerston North triathlete David Martin was sponsored by the Hiroshima NZ Friendship Society to take part in the Sagishima Triathlon in August 2018, where he achieved second place.


Several school partnerships and exchange programmes are being explored at both the primary and secondary level. A JET Programme teacher (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) from Palmerston North is currently teaching in Mihara and supporting school-to-school connections. Contact the International Relations Office if you are keen to know more about this opportunity.