Sister cities Auckland and Los Angeles are celebrating 50 years of friendship — a relationship that was established in 1972 following the launch of Air New Zealand’s direct flights between the two cities.
Since then, Auckland’s longest-standing sister city partnership has provided economic and cultural benefits for each city, from the sharing of ideas and expertise around climate change and tech to the formation of the Los Angeles-Guangzhou-Auckland Tripartite Economic Alliance in 2014.
A reception to celebrate the anniversary hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Council was held at the Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday night.
A message from Mayor Garcetti
Speaking at the event via a pre-recorded video message, mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, congratulated Auckland on the anniversary, and recalled the impression the city made on him when he visited for a Tripartite Economic Alliance summit in 2016.
“Very few cities rival LA in having a downtown that’s so close to pure natural beauty, but Auckland is one that truly made an impression on me when I was lucky enough to visit and see just how gorgeous your town was as well,” he said.
“As sister cities we share much more than that, we exchange goods and ideas, best practices with one another, we support each other during challenging times, but we also strengthen one another’s economy. As sister cities, the bonds between Auckland and Los Angeles are strong and everlasting and I look forward to all that we can accomplish working together for many decades to come.”
Building strong ties for business
The sister city relationship has led to a number of important economic opportunities for Auckland, the most important of which was the Tripartite Economic Alliance in 2014.
Speaking at Tuesday’s event, mayor Phil Goff described this as an alliance that has “fulfilled a lot of its potential in terms of developing opportunities for trade and investment. For us to have that grouping with LA as the gateway to the Western United States and Guangzhou as the gateway to Southern China was really very important.”
Tripartite events and delegation visits between the cities have strengthened ties and provided crucial networking opportunities for many Auckland companies with links to the US, including internationally renowned tech and film companies like Staples VR, Department of Post, Moxion, Method and Curious Film.
“The opportunity for us to connect with the city that’s the strongest base for creative industries through Hollywood and through high tech is something that provides real opportunities for our city,” said Mayor Goff.
Despite the difficulties in travel posed by the pandemic, Nick Hill, CE, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited said the relationship between Auckland and Los Angeles was “alive and well,” particularly when it came to the sharing of ideas.
“Auckland, like the rest of the world, is confronting climate change. Los Angeles is a key inspiration for an initiative called Climate Connect Aotearoa which will be launched later this year, with funding from Auckland Council, working with businesses, government, academia and communities around climate innovation. We have learnt from a model developed in Los Angeles, and it’s with these kinds of initiatives that we can catch up very quickly with the best in the world.”