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Hawaii, Bali form sister state relationship

Updated: 
April 15, 2014 - 12:05am

HONOLULU — Hawaii and the Indonesian island of Bali are becoming sister states.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed documents establishing the relationship in his chambers at the state Capitol on Monday, saying both places are often defined by the joy they give to visiting travelers.

“Bali, of course, is as Hawaii is, famous for its hospitality,” Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie said there are many parallels between the places. Both were once independent kingdoms and developed distinct economic structures and religions, he said.

Abercrombie signed two versions of the documents, one in English and another in Indonesian. Indonesian Consul General Hadi Martono attended the signing ceremony.

A reception featuring hula and Balinese dance was scheduled to follow.

State Rep. Gene Ward has been a driving force behind establishing the new relationship. He also was at the ceremony, along with the Hawaii-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and the Indonesian Club of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hawaii and Bali have a lot in common: Both are major international tourist destinations, favored spots for surfers and have rich musical and dance traditions.

Hawaii forms “sibling” ties with other parts of the world when there’s evidence of substantial grassroots support, potential for expanding exchanges and both sides are expected to benefit economically.

The state says relationships like these raise Hawaii’s profile around the world and stimulate Hawaii’s economy.

Hawaii has 15 other sister state relationships, including five with provinces in the Philippines and four with Japanese prefectures.

Two Hawaii sister states are in China. Morocco, Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan each have one Hawaii sister state.

Fukuoka prefecture in Japan was the first to become a sister state of Hawaii, in 1981.