An entrepreneur from New Plymouth is running a campaign to make his hometown an official sister city of Austin, Texas.
Ash Peters, the founder of Texas BBQ Foods, surveyed the citizens of New Plymouth, and found they had in much in common with the people of Austin. Both cities adore barbecued food, with 97% of New Plymouth residents saying they love the cuisine, and 59% believing that New Plymouth has the best barbecue skills in New Zealand. Survey responders also believed New Plymouth is best known for its art, music, food, outdoor lifestyle, and waterfront – all traits shared by the hip city of Austin.
“I have travelled extensively between New Zealand and Texas. While I spent the majority of my time in places like Houston, I always noticed that there were more than a few similarities between New Plymouth and Austin,” explained Ash. “The survey results show that it’s not just me that thinks so! Both cities are extremely proud of their barbecue skills, as well as loving their arts, the outdoors and being right next to the water. ”
New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said the idea of a United States sister city was intriguing. “If we get enough interest from the people of New Plymouth and the people of Austin, Texas we’ll take a look at it,” he said, adding that he would be happy to extend an invitation to Austin Mayor Stephen Alder to visit New Plymouth for the next Americana Festival. He noted the two mayors could compare notes on the best way to barbecue various cuts of New Zealand beef, lamb, and pork, saying “Good relationships are often built slaving over a hot barbecue in summer and our cities do have a lot in common.”
Currently, New Plymouth is twinned with the cities of Mishima in Japan and Kunming in China.
Supports of Ash Peters’ campaign can sign an online petition by clicking here.