Christchurch and Songpa-Gu boast the first sister cities relationship between NZ and Korea.
2015 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the relationship, during which time numerous exchanges have taken place including education and cultural groups, artists, sportsmen, civic and friendship groups.
Songpa-gu, meaning 'a hill of pine trees', is one of 25 autonomous ‘gu’ or districts of Seoul, South Korea. Located in south-east Seoul, Songpa is Seoul’s most popular 'gu' with a population of 649,888 within it’s 33km2. Songpa is generally referred to as a part of Greater Gangnam Area (external link) .
One third of Songpa is green zone. Songpa is proud of its 140 parks, the highest number among Seoul's district. Each park has its own theme like a flower or a plant. Songpa was the centre of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The World Peace Gate at the entrance to Olympic Park, the largest park in Songpa, is a permanent reminder of the games.
Lotte World Tower is a 123-floor, 556-metre supertall skyscraper currently under construction in Songpa which is expected to create Asia’s largest commercial zone with 624,642m2 floor space. On completion it will be the tallest building on the Korean peninsula and 6th tallest building in the world.
Lotte World is a major recreation complex consisting of the world's largest indoor theme park, an outdoor amusement park called "Magic Island", an artificial island inside a lake linked by monorail, shopping malls. a luxury hotel, a Korean folk museum, sports facilities, including a large indoor ice rink, and movie theaters.
Songpa annually celebrates the time 2000 years ago, when for 500 years it was the head of the Baekje Dynasty with the Hanseong Baekje Festival, a national festival over four days around the end of September, which attracts around 50,000 people.
In 2009 Songpa-gu won the United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) LivCom Award for the 'Most Liveable City' and is also one of the world’s safest cities according to the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO). In 2011 Songpa won the Globe Sustainable City award recognising Songpa’s excellence in sustainable, urban development. Large-scale urban development projects, which account for more than 30% of the total area in Songpa-gu, are currently underway.