The first New Zealand Diplomatic Corps Meeting for 2021 was convened on Thursday 18th February at the Wellington Club on The Terrace. The Group meets twice a year to discuss issues of common interest and concern to the Diplomatic Corps, with a view to addressing these with the relevant NZ Government Authorities.
In line with Pacific Custom, the Meeting commenced with a prayer led by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Samoa High Commissioner, HE Mr Leasi Papali’i T Scanlan. The Dean then proceeded to welcome the Members of Diplomatic Corps and acknowledged the newest Ambassadors from Japan, Israel and Argentina. The Dean referred to the very difficult year last year, where, despite the pandemic and international border lockdowns, twelve Ambassadors & High Commissioners (together with their families) returned to their home countries. It was also very sad when the Dip Corps Family farewelled their Colleague, the late High Commissioner of Vanuatu (HE Mr Johnson Naviti), who passed away in August.
The Guest Speaker for the Meeting was HE Mr Ben King, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy) at the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr King elaborated on New Zealand’s foreign policy initiatives, as outlined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Hon Nanaia Mahuta) in her Inaugural Foreign Policy Speech to the Diplomatic Corps in Waitangi recently. Following the question and answer session, the High Commissioner of Papua Guinea (HE Brigadier General, Francis Agwi) delivered the vote of thanks to Mr King on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Meeting concluded with a group photo and luncheon.