Sister Cities

Dunedin is one of New Zealand’s oldest cities and has established links and relationships all over the world. Some of these relationships have been formalised into sister city agreements and memorandums of understanding with Chambers of Commerce.

One of the earliest agreements was with Portsmouth in the Southern US state of Virginia. While this relationship is dormant, the other three sister city agreements are active.


The Dunedin City Council resolved in early 1973 to support an official link with Edinburgh with the establishment of an official sister city relationship made on 1 July 1974.

There were few official activities between the cities during the early years of the relationship. In 2004, former Dunedin Mayor, Sukhi Turner coordinated the establishment of the Dunedin - Edinburgh Sister City to revitalise Dunedin's relationship with Edinburgh. Between 2003 and 2005, Dunedin supported a number of cultural exchanges between Dunedin and Edinburgh associated with the Fringe and Edinburgh Festivals.  Similar delegations to Edinburgh have been made mainly in a cultural vein.

Read more about the Dunedin-Edinburgh sister city relationship here.


Otaru is located on the west coast of Hokkaido, Japan, and is renowned for its fishing and tourism industries.

Established as a sister city in July 1980 at the instigation of the then Mayor Sir Clifford Skeggs, Otaru is a city of steep hills beside a large natural harbour.

A Dunedin-Otaru Sister City Society was formed in 1986 with a membership comprised of Dunedinites interested in Janapese culture, students and teachers of Japanese and Japanese nationals living in Dunedin. The committee also has a representative from the Dunedin City Council providing a liaison between the two bodies.

Read more about the Dunedin-Otaru sister city relationship and the Dunedin-Otaru Sister City Society here.  


Now a significant export link for Otago, this relationship provides significant trade and economic opportunities. Built up over a number of years this relationship with one of the largest cities by population in the world is a coup for Dunedin.

Established as a sister city in October 1994, the relationship was renewed in September 2008 and again in April 2013. The relationship also recognises the strong influence of Chinese on Otago history, and the involvement of the local Chinese population has been an important factor in developing the relationship.

The relationship is a powerful driver behind Project Shanghai, a partnership of Dunedin businesses, educational institutions, the Otago Chamber of Commerce and the Dunedin City Council which aims to develop a broad range of links between the two cities.

A Dunedin Shanghai Association formed shortly after the relationship was formalised. The Association plays a key role in introducing and facilitating business, cultural, education and sports links between Dunedin groups and their Shanghai counterparts. It also hosts and facilitates a wide range of visitors and delegations from Shanghai. This role is reciprocated by the City of Shanghai in terms of visits to Shanghai by Dunedin delegations.

Read more about the Dunedin-Shanghai sister relationship and the Dunedin-Shanghai Association here.

Project Shanghai

Project Shanghai has come out the Dunedin Economic Development Strategy from the Dunedin City Council as a direct way to increase the momentum of Dunedin and the Otago region’s interactions with Shanghai. It consists of a partnership formed between Dunedin’s business, education and community leaders to identify two-way trade and investment opportunities that can benefit the city.

The Chamber is currently the project leader and is coordinating the project in four key sectors initially:

  • Education
  • Trade
  • Technology
  • Tourism

Each of the sectors has its own tactical plan.

Project Shanghai partners include:

  • Otago Chamber of Commerce
  • Dunedin City Council
  • Otago Southland Employers’ Association
  • University of Otago
  • Otago Polytechnic
  • Dunedin Shanghai Association

Read more about Project Shanghai's achievements, future plans and find useful links here.  

For more about the Shanghai Project, please contact:

Cara Bradley
Business Growth Advisor


Other Links


Shanghai Municipal People's Government

Shanghai International Chamber of Commerce

Zizhu Chamber of Commerce

This chamber represents a privately owned technology park in Shanghai containing dozens of hi-tech businesses. Zizhu is recognised as a Chinese national level high technology research zone.

Shanghai Education Commission

This Commission has overarching administrative responsibilities for education institutions in Shanghai. A key contact when arranging secondary and tertiary exchange programmes between Dunedin and Shanghai.

Shanghai Tourism Bureau

The Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA) is a regulating arm of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. It is also responsible for promoting Shanghai’s travel industry and products in domestic and overseas markets.


Otago Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber represents the business interests of Otago with a non-political, business membership based organisation. Also leads and assists the organisation of delegations to and from China.

Dunedin City Council

Enterprise Dunedin is the body responsible for developing the economic development strategy for the city as well as the tourism and marketing arm of the Council.

Education Dunedin

Education Dunedin supports the attraction of international students to Dunedin. It represents and markets Dunedin’s secondary schools, University, Polytechnic and language schools to peer organisations around the globe.

Otago Polytechnic

Otago Polytechnic provides excellent learning experiences for a wide range of learners, nationally and internationally. It prepares learners for successful and fulfilling careers in a wide range of trades, industries and professions.

University of Otago

New Zealand’s first University, founded in 1869. The University of Otago provides a research-led learning environment with a reputation for excellence. It offers opportunities to study Science, Health Sciences, Humanities and Commerce.

Otago Southland Employers’ Association

The Association assists its business members to be successful through services including comprehensive employment law advice, human resources, industrial relations, health & safety, professional development and support.

Dunedin Shanghai Association

This group’s aim is "To promote and facilitate good relations between Shanghai and Dunedin for the benefit of the Dunedin business and wider Dunedin community and our Shanghainese counterparts".