Second Diplomatic Corps Meeting for 2020

17th July 2020
The Chair and Dean of Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Leasi Papali'i Scanlan invited the Chief of Protocol, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Rod Harris be a Guest Speaker. Mr. Harris provided a statement on New Zealand's ongoing COVID-19 policy developments in relation to the diplomatic corps. Mr. Harris was accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ms. Lisa White.
On Friday 17 July, 2020 the Samoa High Commissioner and Dean of Diplomatic Corps (HE Leasi Papali’i Scanlan) hosted the Diplomatic Corps’ 2nd Meeting for the year 2020 at the Wellington Club on The Terrace. The Diplomatic Corps meets two times during the year to discuss issues of common interest and concern to the Diplomatic Corps, with a view to taking these up with the NZ Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Meeting opened with a short prayer and welcome by the Dean as Chairman. High Commissioner Leasi acknowledged the presence of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners as well as the representatives of a number of Heads of Mission who were unable to attend. The Dean reminded the Meeting that the Wellington Diplomatic Corps operates as a Family, wherein we share in each other’s successes and failures, as well as happiness and sorrow.

His Excellency then acknowledged with sadness the Passing of the former Premier of Niue (Hon Sir Toke Tufukia Talagi) on Tuesday 14 July, 2020. On behalf of the NZ Diplomatic Corps, the Dean expressed his condolences to the Niue High Commission, the Talagi Family, the Government and People of Niue.

Usually at these Diplomatic Corps Meetings, and following discussion of usual DC business, a Guest Speaker is invited to speak to the Corps. The Guest Speaker for this Meeting was the recently appointed Chief of Protocol (Mr Rod Harris) who was accompanied by the Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ms Lisa White.

Mr Harris spoke on the New Zealand Government’s ongoing COVID-19 policy developments, especially as they relate to the Diplomatic Corps. The Meeting acknowledged with appreciation the great work that the NZ Government is doing to try and keep New Zealand free of the corona virus. Categorising Diplomatic Services as ‘essential service’ and thus allowing members of the Corps to enter New Zealand is appreciated. At the same time, the Heads of Mission expressed their wish for the members of the Diplomatic Corps to be quarantined in Wellington, if this was possible.

Mr Harris noted the wish of the Diplomatic Corps and added that there are several logistical problems and risks involved with this request especially with regards to the means of transport to Wellington, whether they be road or air transport. In any case, the Chief of Protocol indicated the Diplomatic Corps’ request will be given further consideration.
The Meeting ended with a vote of thanks from the Dean to the Chief and Deputy Chief of Protocol and a light lunch, with further one-on-one discussions between their Excellencies and their Guests from the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.