Key city entities with international interests – spanning organisations, centres of higher learning and volunteer groups – have developed a shared plan for how Ōtautahi-Christchurch engages with the world for the benefit of our residents and other cities.

The city’s key entities with international interests – spanning organisations, centres of higher learning, and volunteer groups – have developed a shared plan for the way Ōtautahi-Christchurch will engage with the world, for the benefit of our residents and those of other cities.

It is the most collaborative city-wide international relations plan of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Ōtautahi-Christchurch is a city that explores opportunity at every level. We are open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things. We are a city where anything is possible.

We will engage with our region, nation and the world to enhance wellbeing in Ōtautahi Christchurch and grow an internationally relevant city. Our international work will be cohesive, proactive, targeted and responsible.

The Treaty Partnership

Ngāi Tūāhuriri are mana whenua – the indigenous people of Ōtautahi Christchurch. 

Our international engagement will be built on the valuable strategic partnership between Ngāi Tahu and the City Council.

Our priorities

  • Strengthen international connections to attract and develop the best talent and ideas 
  • Increase the wellbeing of Christchurch citizens through a prosperous economy

Principles guiding our international work

Targeted Cohesive and proactive Responsible
  • Clearly defined geographic regions and sectors
  • Playing to our strengths
  • Targeting opportunities with the potential to deliver clear mutual benefit for Christchurch and our international partners
  • Recognising where the city adds value by acting together
  • Stakeholders work together on agreed priorities
  • Effective cooperation between the public and private sectors
  • Presenting cohesive international priorities to central government and to the world
  • Established mechanisms to coordinate and focus collective effort
  • Forward-looking work programmes
  • Leveraging existing networks
  • Upholding our city’s values as a caring and responsible global actor
  • Contributing to global challenges including climate change action, resilience, supporting sustainable development, and countering violent extremism

What we will do together

Targeted international partnerships

Being targeted will allow us to be more selective with the opportunities we pursue, allowing our combined investment and activity to have greater impact.

  • We will develop a portfolio of targeted international partnerships consistent with our combined vision, our Treaty partnership, our strategic priorities, and our guiding principles
  • We will have three different types of partnership, receiving distinct levels of civic support and investment
  • Priority partnerships will be driven by robust, city-wide action plans

Structured planning and coordination

  • We will review and adapt our mechanisms to ensure they give effect to this Framework
  • We will formalise our city-wide international planning and coordination to ensure that:
    • we engage with the business community and other community groups, including young people
    • our work programmes are detailed and forward-looking
    • we support and leverage each other’s activities for the mutual benefit of the city and our international partners, and
    • the Mayor, Council and our organisations benefit from city-wide analysis and advice on international opportunities

Ensuring partnerships remain beneficial over time

  • We will regularly monitor the impact of our international partnerships on Ōtautahi Christchurch wellbeing to ensure they deliver mutual value.
  • The Council will assess this Policy Framework against its 17 Community Outcomes goals, as well as against the Council’s Strategic Priorities.

Targeted international partnerships

We have defined three types of targeted international partnership to focus our effort and resources.

City partnerships

  • City partnerships will be the most important for Christchurch as they are expected to deliver the most significant benefit through a coordinated approach. They will have a high degree of alignment with the framework’s strategic priorities and guiding principles.
  • Given their significance for the city and the consequent need for them to be strongly backed by the city’s civic leadership, partnership activities at this level will receive priority support from the Mayor and Council.
  • City partnerships will be developed cohesively and proactively by the city across a number of different sectors. Due to the city’s limited resources and the importance of resourcing these partnerships appropriately, a very small number of them will be pursued at any one time.
  • Each will be driven by a robust, city-wide action plan that allocates key activities in pursuit of strategic priorities, and the roles, responsibilities and resourcing from participating stakeholders.
  • The impact of these partnerships on wellbeing in Christchurch must be clear and measurable over time. Progress towards achieving clearly articulated goals will be regularly monitored to ensure the level of investment remains appropriate.

Agency partnerships

  • International partnerships driven by agencies will be valuable for the city in a particular sector or sectors: they will align with one or both of the city’s strategic international priorities.
  • They will be led by the responsible agencies which develop their own action plans. These plans will be shared through regular coordination to ensure other stakeholders within the city can support or leverage opportunities where appropriate.
  • Agency partnerships will receive support from the Mayor and Council when high-impact opportunities arise.

Citizen and community partnerships

  • International partnerships in this area will be citizen and community-led. They will include the work of the Sister City Committees, which seek to promote relationships between the people of Christchurch and the people of our Sister Cities, and the work of migrant community groups.
  • Though their activities and plans are led by citizens rather than the Council or wider city institutions, the goodwill and people connections developed will at times create opportunities that will be leveraged at either the agency or city-level, enabling citizens to contribute to these broader efforts.
  • The role of the Council in partnerships at this level will reflect its commitment to enabling active citizenship and connected communities, valuing the voices of children and young people and celebrating our identity through arts, culture, education, heritage and sport.

Roles and responsibilities

Christchurch City Council:

Coordinate, connect, consolidate, communicate:

  • Taking the lead on city-wide coordination, connection, consolidation and communication in support of the agreed vision and priorities set out in the IRPF
  • Convening regular coordination meetings and leading the development of the implementation plans and monitoring and reporting frameworks
  • Coordinating with Ngāi Tahu as a strategic partner in the city’s international engagement
  • Supporting the Sister City community and ensuring opportunities to leverage Sister City activity can be taken up where appropriate
  • Coordinating arrangements for inbound and outbound international visits, in accordance with agreed priorities
  • Ensuring alignment of the IRPF with other Council work programmes that have an international dimension
  • Taking a leadership role in advocating the importance of diversity, inclusion and connection in our international work, consistent with Te Rautaki Mātāwaka Rau, the Council’s Multicultural Strategy
  • Taking a leadership role in city responses to global challenges including climate change action, resilience, supporting sustainable development, and countering violent extremism

Representation and advocacy:

  • Coordinating and setting priorities for civic leaders in representation and advocacy work, including:
    • representing the city in key events and negotiations at home and abroad
    • representing and advocating for city, region and/or South Island priorities in discussions with the Government and other New Zealand cities

Sister City committees

  • Taking the lead on community-level activities and initiatives to maintain and enhance the city’s sister city relationships, supported by the City Council as appropriate
  • Profiling and encouraging public participation in sister city relationships
  • Representing the city in interactions with sister city counterparts
  • Contributing to wider city initiatives that leverage sister city relationships
  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Facilitating/enabling the engagement of the Ngāi Tahu business community in city-wide coordination

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Facilitating/enabling the engagement of the business community in city-wide coordination


  • The Christchurch Prosperity Framework sets out ChristchurchNZ’s strategic priorities and horizons to deliver on its purpose, mission and 10-year prosperity goals. The International Relations Policy Framework is closely aligned with these
  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Ensuring coordination and alignment of the IRPF implementation work with the work programmes sitting under key ChristchurchNZ policies, including:
    • Christchurch Antarctic Gateway Strategy 
    • Major Events Strategy – Ōtautahi
    • Christchurch Economic Development Strategy
    • Christchurch Visitor Strategy

Key stakeholders

Including Christchurch Foundation, Christchurch International Airport, Lyttelton Port Company, Asia New Zealand Foundation and Development Christchurch.

  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Facilitating/enabling the engagement of the business community in city-wide coordination

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Supporting understanding of national foreign policy objectives and enabling central/local coordination and collaboration where appropriate

Education New Zealand, tertiary education institutions and the international education sector

  • Participating in coordination and collaboration work
  • Ensuring alignment with the work programme sitting under the Canterbury International Education Destination 2025 strategy
  • Supporting the city’s ability to engage internationally through capacity-building, training and education.