Global friendship

Children's choir performing

Global Friendship Committee

About the committee

The Global Friendship Committee (formerly named the Sister City Coordinating Committee) has been the key driver in the ongoing relationship with Ako, Japan for nearly 15 years. The recent name change reflects the committee’s broader interests, which have extended to Kota Kinablu, Sabah, Malaysia.

The committee is dedicated to pursuing a range of issues, including the strengthening of our cultural links and developing economic, tourism, and social relationships to boost growth in our City. The philosophy propelling this initiative is the idea that it’s better for global relations to have a city as a friend rather than a stranger.

Role of the committee

The role of the committee is to make recommendations to Council on:

  • promoting awareness of the social and economic importance of the Global Friendships program to the community
  • planning and arranging visits to and from global affiliates
  • measuring the performance and effectiveness of individual Global Friendships in terms of community and economic development benefit
  • new Global Friendship proposals
  • reviewing the performance and effectiveness of each Global Friendship every four years to assess the degree of activity, value to Council and associated benefits for the City of Rockingham.


The objective is to promote relationships that affiliate Rockingham with cities in other countries where such relationships have a significant positive influence on the communities involved. In pursuit of this objective, Council through its Global Friendship Committee may undertake or facilitate such activities as:

  • exchanges of individuals, information and ideas across a wide range of interests
  • visits to and from affiliated cities
  • compilation of brochures providing information on aspects of life in Rockingham
  • arranging exchanges of news items and reports between newspapers, radio and television in the respective cities
  • supporting lectures by individuals from their respective countries
  • correspondence between individuals of the cities
  • exchanges and communications between churches, educational institutions, sporting bodies, clubs, societies or groups with common interest
  • exchanges of arts, crafts and educational material between schools and other groups
  • promotion of trade through continual cultural and goodwill visits.

Committee members

  • Mayor Barry Sammels
  • Cr Andrew Burns
  • Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin
  • Ms Caroline Hume
  • Mr Noburo Hagiwara
  • Ms Kez Wickham St George
  • Ms Fiona Nutz
  • Ms Charmaine Oosthuizen

For more information contact us on 9528 0333 or email

Global Friendship activities

Sister city relationship with Ako City Japan formed in April 1997

A sister city relationship is a formal, long term relationship based on diverse linkages between the two cities – including cultural, educational, tourism, sporting and business links. The relationship requires a high degree of commitment on both sides, as well as the active involvement of the Global Friendship Committee and Working Parties.

Friendly city relationship with Kota Kinabalu Malaysia formed in 2006

A friendly city relationship is less formal than a sister city relationship and it generally has a lower profile. It is likely to be a long term relationship, but the level of community support and involvement is not as high and the number of links may be more restricted than a sister city relationship. For example, the purpose may be for only a particular sporting event held on an annual basis.

20th anniversary

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship between the City of Rockingham and the City of Ako we have created an e-book community contributions and photos of past visits and events.

Read the e-book

World Masters Games 2021 Kansai, Japan

The World Masters Games are an international multi-sport athletic competition held every four years by the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) for athletes over the age of 30 and into their middle age and senior years. These games are open to amateur and professionals.

The games are held in the year following the Olympics. The first World Masters Games were held in 1985 in Toronto, Canada.The latest games (the ninth hosting) took place in Auckland, New Zealand in the year 2017.

In 2021 the games will be held in Japan, the first hosting in Asia. This auspicious 10th hosting will be in the western part of Japan–the Kansai region. Some of the sports will be played in Hyogo Prefecture which is Western Australia's Sister State. 

If you are interested, stay tuned for more information coming in December 2019. Registration opens on 1 February 2020. 

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