Hawaii’s Sister-States

DBEDT has established close working relationships with foreign governments and non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and national organizations. These relationships serve to raise Hawaii’s profile internationally, attract dynamic cooperative programs and stimulate Hawaii’s economy. Many of these projects fall under DBEDT’s Sister-State program.

In 1993, DBEDT recognized that in establishing sister relationships, economic benefit should be co-equal to the “historic purposes of friendship, cultural ties, and goodwill.” Consequently, any Sister-State relationship must provide for clear economic benefits. Hawaii’s Sister-State Policy was based on the following criteria:

  • Strong evidence of interest by the potential Sister-State.
  • Clear prospects for mutual economic advantage.
  • Substantial grassroots support for the relationship.
  • A strong record of activities.
  • Potential for expanded cultural, educational and government exchanges.

The report went on to state that:

  • Sister-State relationships are partnerships between governments, but require active and ongoing participation by the private sector to sustain the relationship.
  • Because the State’s capacity to manage Sister-State relationships is finite, a means of terminating moribund or defunct relationships should be provided.

Sister-States Process

DBEDT outlined the following process for establishing a Sister-State relationship:

  • A detailed application form will be provided after initial consultation with DBEDT regarding a proposed relationship. The form to be filled out by proposer will include questions on such areas as geography, economic structure, cultural resources, primary industries, foreign trade and business, and sports.
  • DBEDT will make a preliminary review and develop a recommendation to the Governor.
  • The Governor will review the recommendation and either hold the recommendation or forward it to the Legislature.
  • The Legislature will then adopt a concurrent resolution which authorizes the Governor to enter into an agreement with the prospective Sister-State.
  • DBEDT and the prospective sister develop the mechanics and language of the agreement and subsequent program of cooperation.

Sister-State Committee


The Sister-State Program is governed by Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 229 – Sister-State and Province Relationships. As part of this statute from 2006, a Hawaii Sister-State Committee was created (see Hawaii Revised Statutes 229-2 – Hawaii Sister-State Committee) within DBEDT in order to, “advise the Governor and the legislature on matters relating to Sister-State or province relations and relations, in general, between the State and the states or provinces of foreign countries.”

The Governor appoints five members, one member from each of five lists of nominees submitted respectively by the following: (1) Speaker of the house of representatives; (2)  President of the senate; (3)  Native Hawaiian cultural organization; (4)  East-West Center; and (5)  Hawaii State Association of Counties.

Committee Members

VacantRepresenting: Hawaii State Association of Counties
Kahoʻokeleholu HannahsRepresenting: Native Hawaiian Cultural Organization
Exp. 6/30/2017 (Holdover)
Debra NakamaRepresenting: Speaker of the House of Representatives
Exp. 6/30/2019
Jean E. RollesRepresenting: East-West Center
Exp. 6/30/2020 (Interim Appointment)
Eduardo Topenio Jr.Representing: President of the Senate
Exp. 6/30/2019

The Sister-State Committee periodically meets to consider Sister-State applications and other related business.

Committee Agendas / Minutes / Reports 


The Committee meets on an as-needed basis at No. 1 Capitol District Building – 250 South Hotel Street, Conference Room 436, Honolulu, Hawaii. The agenda and minutes for the most recent meeting can be found below. Agendas are also posted on the State of Hawaii calendar. Type ‘Sister State Committee’ in the appropriate space bar and select or you can scroll to find it under DBEDT.



If you would like to submit testimony for a Committee meeting, please contact us per the information below.

Contact information

Email: leslie.kawamoto@hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 587-2757
Mailing Address: 

Sister-State Committee/BDSD, DBEDT
P.O. Box 2359
Honolulu, Hawaii 96804

*Reports for past years can be found on the DBEDT Reports webpage

These documents are provided in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format and require the Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing. This free software can be downloaded from Adobe Systems Inc.

Sister-States

Country and Area
Province/PrefectureYear Established

China

Hainan


1992


Indonesia


Bali


2014


Japan


Fukuoka


1981


Japan

Okinawa


1985


Japan

Hiroshima


1997


Japan

Ehime


2003


Japan

Hokkaido


2017


Korea


Jeju


1986


Morocco


Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer


2011


Philippines


Ilocos Sur


1985


Philippines

Cebu


1996


Philippines

Pangasinan


2002


Philippines

Ilocos Norte


2005


Philippines

Isabela


2006


Portugal


Azores Islands


1982


Taiwan


Taiwan


1993


 

County Sisters

Country and AreaCity
County (in Hawaii)

Australia

Tasmania

Hawaii County


Australia

Cooktown, Queensland


Kauai County


Azerbaijan

Baku City (1998)

City & County of Honolulu


Chile

La Serena

Hawaii County


Chile

Rapa Nui


Maui County


China


Hainan Province (1985)

City & County of Honolulu


China


Quinhuangdao, Hebei

Kauai County

China


Sanya County, Hainan Province (1998)

Maui County

China


Zhongshan, Guangdong Province

City & County of Honolulu


England


Whitby

Kauai County

France

Albi


Maui County


France

Bruyeres (1960)

City & County of Honolulu


France

Papaenoo, French Polynesia


Kauai County


India


Mumbai (Bombay) (1970)

City & County of Honolulu

Japan


Hachijo Island

Maui County

Japan

Hirara City, Miyako Island, Okinawa

Maui County


Japan

Hiroshima Prefecture (1959)


City & County of Honolulu


Japan

Ishigaki, Ryuku Islands


Kauai County


Japan

Moriyama City


Kauai County


Japan

Nago City, Okinawa

Hawaii County


Japan

Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture, (1960)


City & County of Honolulu


Japan

Suo-Oshima, Yamaguchi Prefecture (1997)


Kauai County


Japan

Oshima


Hawaii County


Japan

Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture (1997)


Hawaii County


Japan

Sumoto

Hawaii County


Japan

Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture (2004)


City & County of Honolulu


Japan

Yurihama, Tottori Prefecture (1996)


Hawaii County


Kenya

Mombasa (2000)


City & County of Honolulu


Korea


Goyang

Maui County

Korea


Incheon (2003)

City & County of Honolulu

Korea


Seoul (1973)

City & County of Honolulu

Morocco


Rabat (2006)


City & County of Honolulu


Philippines


Bacarra, Ilocos Norte


Maui County


Philippines


Badoc, Ilocos Norte

Maui County

Philippines


Bangued

Kauai County

Philippines


Baguio City (1995)

City & County of Honolulu

Philippines


Cabugao, Ilocos Sur (2005)

Maui County

Philippines


Cebu City (1990)

City & County of Honolulu

Philippines


Laoag City (1969)

City & County of Honolulu

Philippines


Legazpi City

Hawaii County

Philippines


Manila (1980)

City & County of Honolulu

Philippines


Manila

Maui County

Philippines


Puerto Princesa

Maui County

Philippines


Quezon City

Maui County

Philippines


Santa, Ilocos Sur (1991)

Maui County

Philippines


San Juan, Ilocos Sur (1991)

Maui County

Philippines


Sarrat, Ilocos Norte (2005)

Maui County

Philippines


Urdeneta, Pangasinan

Kauai County

Philippines


Vigan (2003)

City & County of Honolulu

Philippines


Zambales Province

Maui County

Peru


Arequipa

Maui County

Portugal


Funchal, Madeira (1979)

City & County of Honolulu

Portugal


Funchal, Madeira

Maui County

Portugal


Sao Miguel

Maui County

Portugal


Sao Miguel Island

Hawaii County

Portugal


Sintra (1998)

City & County of Honolulu

Puerto Rico


San Juan (1985)

City & County of Honolulu

Saipan


Northern Marianas Islands (2005)

Maui County

Scotland


Embo, Dornoch

Maui County

Spain


Madrid

Maui County

Taiwan


Hualien County

Hawaii County

Taiwan


Kaohsiung City (1962)

City & County of Honolulu

Taiwan


Ping Tung

Maui County

United States


American Samoa

Maui County

Venezuela


Caracas, Venezuela (1999)

City & County of Honolulu

Vietnam


Hue (1995)

City & County of Honolulu