Toowoomba hosted its first ever business delegation from its New Zealand sister city Whanganui last month.

The Whanganui Council and Agribusiness delegation was the first of its kind and the first official sister city visit to Toowoomba since 2015.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Geoff McDonald said sister city relationships have traditionally centred around diplomatic, cultural or educational purposes.

“Current trends are signalling a shift in the focus of sister city partnerships towards economic development, where city leaders and economic trade bodies are exploring ways to help their local businesses take advantage of growth opportunities,” Mayor McDonald said.

“For the last 20 years we have been working to go beyond cultural and symbolic partnerships. It is more beneficial for the region if we turn our attention to mutual issues: economic development, water management, waste recycling and the improvement of social services.

“We have a 42-year-old relationship with Whanganui which has seen us build mutual trust between the two cities, which is a vital ingredient for successful business development.

“This recent delegation had seven agribusiness representatives, council officers and delegates including the Mayor as well as a tourism business involved.

“The visit was designed to increase awareness and broaden knowledge as to how to take commodity level farming to a new level and increase opportunities, while the council officers sought to learn about our operations in waste management, tourism and economic development.”

Mayor McDonald said globalisation is opening new markets, intensifying competition and adding new layers of complexity to global supply chains.

“By leveraging our unique assets and identifying opportunities to collaborate with global cities I think there is an opportunity for us to find a niche to thrive in the global economy,” Mayor McDonald said.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the relationship with Whanganui and I look forward to developing future opportunities for knowledge sharing,” he said.

The delegation also invited Toowoomba sport people and teams to compete at the New Zealand Master Games, which cater to all categories from competitive to social over 20-years-old. The games will be held from January 31 to 9 February 9, 2025 in Whanganui.