Friday, 3 May 2019

Sister Cities: Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.A.

Rotorua's Sister Cities

This month we are going to explore the relationship that Rotorua has with other cities around the world, known as our Sister Cities. The modern concept of Sister Cities or Twin Towns came about in 1947, after World War 2. According to the NZ Sister Cities website: The establishment of sister city friendships stimulates interaction between people of different cultures and countries on a people-to-people basis, ...Connecting people globally for peace and prosperity.

Rotorua's sister cities are:
  1. Klamath Falls, USA,
  2. Beppu, Japan,
  3. Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
  4. Wuzhong District of Suzhou City, China

Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.A.


Klamath Falls Herald and News
11 April 1962, p 1
In 1962 Rotorua Council established a sister city relationship with the city of Klamath Falls, in Oregon, USA. The official agreement was signed by Mayor Robert Veatch of Klamath Falls on 24 April, 1962



Daily Post 21 March 1962






Early Klamath Falls

An early picture of Klamath Falls. Note the similar positioning to early pictures of Rotorua and Ohinemutu.

Similar in size to Rotorua, the city of Klamath Falls is located in Oregon, bordering northern California. It, like Rotorua, sits on the shores of a lake, in a basin, surrounded by hills and mountains. Klamath Falls enjoys around 300 days of sunshine each year. It's also an area steeped in history, with natural and cultural wonders all within easy distance. Like Rotorua, there's a diversity of activities available, such as white water rafting, fishing, cycling and hiking. We have Wingspan, they have pelicans and bald eagles. Originally built on the timber industry, Klamath Falls now has a growing tourist industry. The Klamath Falls surrounding area also supports agriculture.

Map of Klamath Falls


In 1963 Rotorua gained city status. The Mayor of Klamath Falls issued a proclamation the 20-26 January 1963 would be Sister City Week.



In February 1963 Walt and Mary McIntyre visited Rotorua from Klamath Falls. Among the activities arranged for them was attendance at the Settlers' Day luncheon. This story was printed in the Daily Post, 2 February 1963.

August 1964, Mayor Linton reported back to Council on his visit to Klamath Falls. He had already since his return home, received from Klamath Falls, landscape plans for a Rotorua Garden to be built in their Veteran's Park. The residents of Klamath Falls would like a small Maori meeting house as a central motif in the garden.

In 1967 Mr Veatch, Mayor of Klamath Falls and his wife Marty, led a 23 strong party to Rotorua. They were welcomed with a cavalcade down Tutanakai Street into Fenton Street with an official welcome outside the city hall on a flower-covered dais. The Rotorua Highland Pipe Band and marching girls preceded the open-top car and bus and four planes flew in formation overhead.The Rotoua Municipal Band played, Rotorua Boys High School cadets paraded and were inspected by the Mayors. To see more photos of this come up to our display on the 2nd Floor at Te Aka Mauri.



               Flyover and an open top car during the Klamath Falls welcome, 1967. Photograph         by Jack Lang (1915-1986). Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa (2011.100.294)


General view of the crowd at the Klamath Falls welcome, 1967.
Photograph by Jack Lang (1915-1916). Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa
 (2011.100.322)

In February 1971 36 visitors arrived from Klamath Falls.Their itinerary was printed in the paper along with  brief biological sketches of 3 Klamath Falls residents.

Daily Post 27 February 1971, pp

Two-yearly visits back and forth were announced to council by Deputy Mayor P. Tapsell, after a recent trip where the Rotorua visitors were "lavishly entertained."However, it would be 1978 before another delegation from Rotorua visited Klamath Falls and 1979 before Klamath Falls delegates visited Rotorua. In 1981 and 1986 visits occured again. In May 1987 the Klamath Falls Rose Gardens were established in the Government Gardens. October 1990 a Rotorua a party of 11 visited Klamath Falls.

Mayor Keaney and Mrs Keaney at the dedication of
 Klamath Falls Rose Garden, Rotorua, December 1987

In February 1993 an official delegation from Klamath Falls was led by Jim Allen, former editor and publisher of the Klamath Falls Herald and News, and his wife Evelyn. A Rotorua District Council flag was presented to the group and was flown at the Rotorua Garden in Klamath Falls.

Daily Post 13 February 1993, p 2

In September 1993 the Daily Post reported that Klamath Falls had been hit by an earthquake.Students from 2 Rotorua schools sent letters of support. In November, Judd and Jean Davy returned from an extended stay in Klamath Falls, having visited 13 times. They reported that folks in Klamath Falls were keen to have contact with residents in Rotorua. Then in December, there was further damage to Klamath Falls with another smaller quake.

Add Daily Post 19 November 1993, p 9

In June 1994 there was a delegation to Klamath Falls led by Mayor Grahame Hall.

Klamath Falls badge for Rotorua visitors 1994


In March 2001 Klamath Fall residents visited Rotorua. In September 2002 a Rotorua delegation led by Mayor Graham Hall and his wife Sandy departed via San Francisco to Klamath Falls, then on to Vancouver, Hawaii and home. The group included the Marvelly family. While in Klamath Falls, they visited the Air Force Base and were presented with a picture by Thomas Kincaid, a leading artist.

Klamath Falls Herald and News
22 September 2002
Klamath Falls Herald and News
22 September 2002, contd.

March 2003, a visit to Rotorua from Klamath Falls Mayor Kellstrom and group. There itinerary included a visit to the Library and Rotorua Girls High School. In November 2004 a group of 22 student and 5 teachers and parents were hosted by high schools in  Klamath Falls as part of a sporting tour in the States.

2011 was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Sister City agreement. Over the years various people have visited on their own back and forth and they pass through the two cities. This year, on 26 March, Jessie Widener and Robyn Smith from Klamath Falls visited Mayor Stevie Chadwick.

Robyn Smith, Jessie Widener and Mayor Stevie Chadwick
from the Mayor's Facebook page.

For the month of May, there will be a display on the 2nd floor of the Library which will include items gifted to Rotorua from our Sister Cities.




This blog written by Trish with thanks to Daily Post, Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Museum and the Mayor's Facebook page.

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