Our History

Wellington has a sister-city relationship with the Chinese city of Xiamen going back almost three decades.
In the early 1980s the Wellington City Council initiated enquiries with the Chinese Embassy about establishing sister-city links with China following a very successful visit to China by the Prime Minister of New Zealand David Lange. During that visit the Chinese Premier referred to the much-treasured friendship between the two countries, commenting that there was great potential for bilateral co-operation with New Zealand in areas such as trade, science and culture. Chinese authorities suggested that Xiamen would be suitable as a sister-city because of similarities between the two cities, and also because Xiamen had recently been given Special Economic Zone status, designed to encourage foreign investment and trade. During a ten-day visit to Wellington in 1987 by Xiamen officials the Mayors of both cities signed a Friendship City Agreement at a reception in Wellington's Council Chamber.


The Wellington Xiamen Association (WXA) was established in 1998 to support and encourage the initiative and has been instrumental in developing a healthy and interactive relationship between the two cities. The Association's primary objective has been to increase Wellingtonians' awareness of the link with Xiamen, actively promoting programmes involving, official visits as well as educational, cultural and trade visits and exchanges. Contact us. Or write to the Secretary - Wellington Xiamen Association, PO Box 28 088, Wellington

Our Connections

Apart from the connections at a personal and local government level between Wellington City Council and Xiamen Municipal Government, there are also strong and growing links at an institutional and business level between our two cities.

Tradepoint - doing business in Xiamen

Originally from the Netherlands and long-time Wellington citizen Ben Van Rooy has for many years now owned and operated his own import-export business in Xiamen - Tradepoint Distribution. Based in the middle of Xiamen City in Hubin Bei Lu, Ben imports and distributes New Zealand wines and European pastries for hotel, restaurants, bars, caterers and commercial enterprises. Suppliers include Bascand Wines from Marlborough and Waipara districts in the South Island of New Zealand. Ben was recently awarded an Egret Friendship Award from the Xiamen Municipal Government for his work in building relationships between Xiamen and Wellington.

Wellington Confucius Institute - building cultural connections

The Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington is the newest of three such institutes in New Zealand. It was opened by China's new leader Xi Jinping in March 2011 as a partnership between Victoria University and Xiamen University, and is an important step in building cultural, educational and academic links between New Zealand and China. The Confucius Institute at VUW is staffed by both universities, and its advisory board in chaired by New Zealand's former Ambassador to China, Tony Browne.

NZ Research Centre - supporting academic research

The New Zealand Research Centre of Xiamen University was established in December 2009 as part of the partnership and collaboration between Victoria University of Wellington and Xiamen University. It aims to become a national research centre in China on New Zealand with a focus on contemporary social sciences issues.

First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University - professional paediatric development

The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University was founded in 1937. Formerly known as the Fujian Province-owned Hospital, it became in March 2010 the First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University. The entire complex, comprising five branch hospitals, two nursing homes, eight community health service centers, and three levels of first-class comprehensive hospitals, is the largest in southwestern Fujian Province. Since 2008 the Wellington-Xiamen Paediatric Project has been promoting the exchange of knowledge and skills in the field of paediatric clinical practice and research between the two cities. In 2012 WXA won an Air New Zealand Sister Cities Award for its work in setting up and managing this project.