Global friendship

Children's choir performing

Global Friendship Committee

About the Global Friendship Committee

The Global Friendship Committee has been the key driver in the City's ongoing relationship with Ako, Japan since 1997, and more recently with Kota Kinablu, 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 which boost growth in our City. 

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 Deb Hamblin - Chairperson
  • Cr Lorna Buchan, Deputy Mayor
  • Cr Kelly Middlecoat
  • Ms Fiona Nutz
  • Vacant
  • Vacant
  • Vacant
  • Vacant
  • Vacant
Contact details

If you want more information, contact Governance and Councillor Support on 9528 0333 or by emailing

Global friendship relationships

Sister city relationship with Ako, Japan

Sister city relationship with Ako, 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.

Celebration of the 20th anniversary 2017

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of our sister city relationship with the City of Ako, the City created an e-book detailing community contributions, photos of past visits and events.

Read the e-book



Ako City Video

The city with fresh wind

Watch this video to experience the charm of Ako City, Japan

Friendly City relationship with Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

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.

Global friendship activities

2024 City of Ako Children's Choir Visit

This year we celebrate 27 years of our sister city relationship and this visit is the ninth time a group from Ako has travelled to Rockingham.

During the visit the Ako Children’s Choir sung alongside approximately 120 students from schools across our City, culminating in a wonderful Harmony of Friendship performance at the beautiful Rockingham Beach Foreshore on Wednesday 27 March 2024.

The visit strengthened the rich cultural tapestry that connects our two cities across the oceans, and across the decades. Arigato go-zaimus!

  • Ako Children's Choir with City of Rockingham Council Members
  • Visiting local schools
  • Local school performance
  • Enjoying beautiful Penguin Island
  • Workshop with local school students
  • Harmony of Friendship concert
  • Harmony of Friendship concert
  • Welcome reception for Ako Children's Choir
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International Peace Day 2021

On Tuesday 21 September 2021 the City of Rockingham was proud to celebrate International Day of Peace by unveiling a new peace pole outside the Rockingham Arts Centre on Kent Street.

The new peace pole is the latest addition to the ‘peace trail’ in the City of Rockingham, which began with the planting of a gingko biloba tree in City Park last year. That tree is a direct descendant of a 200 year old tree that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast in 1945. There is a plaque next to the peace pole with a QR code providing coordinates to the tree.

During the unveiling Mayor Barry Sammels was joined by the Counsul General of Japan in Perth, Toru Suzuki, along with the City's Junior Mayors Grace Trimble and Will James, as well as the Junior Deptuy Mayors Hayley van der Westhuizen and Junior Eaton. The Junior Council representatives each made a speech about what peace means to them.

Peace poles have become internationally recognised symbols used by communities and organisations to express hopes for lasting peace,” Mayor Sammels said.

World Masters Games 2021 Kansai, Japan

The World Masters Games 2021 were held in Kansai in 2022.

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 amateurs and professionals.

The games are held in the year following the Olympics. The first World Masters Games were held in 1985 in Toronto, Canada. 

For more information please email or contact Governance and Councillor Support on 9528 0333

International Peace Day Tree Planting Ceremony 2020

As part of our involvement in the Mayors for Peace Program, we planted a gingko biloba tree at City Park to recognise International Peace Day 2020 and to commemorate 75 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. 

The gingko biloba tree planted in Rockingham is a direct descendent of a 200-year-old tree that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast in 1945. Those seeds were initially presented to the City of Fremantle by Hiroshima Mayor, Tadatoshi Akiba. The seeds were then passed on to the City of South Perth Nursery where they were nurtured into small trees.


Peace Tree Planting Ceremony

Hear the inspiring messages about peace from our Junior Council Members which they presented at our Peace Tree Planting Ceremony in City Park.

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