Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will visit Niue and Tonga this week to engage kanohi ki te kanohi with counterparts, and progress work on Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific Resilience and climate action priorities.
“After the disruption caused by COVID-19 border closures, this is another opportunity to connect in-person with our Pacific whanau, reaffirm Aotearoa New Zealand’s enduring links with the region, and commit to future co-operation,” Minister Mahuta said.
“This is a challenging time for the Pacific. Leaders at last month’s Pacific Islands Forum reaffirmed climate change as the single greatest security threat with the adoption of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
“We stand alongside the Pacific to mitigate and adapt to the impact of sea-level rise. Half of our $1.3 billion climate finance commitments announced late last year are for the Pacific. I will provide an update on our climate finance strategy at a speech in Nuku’alofa on Friday.”
While in Tonga, the Minister will also meet Prime Minister Hon Hu’akavameiliku and other Ministers.
“I will visit projects and agencies where Aotearoa New Zealand is working in partnership with Tongan community leaders, including civil society organisations and frontline health workers,” she said.
“In Niue, I will meet Premier Tagelagi and address a special session of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the Fale Fono. This will be the first time an outside speaker has addressed the Legislative Assembly.
“I am also looking forward to seeing first-hand the results of the partnership between MFAT and the NZ Defence Force in the Tropic Twilight exercise. This has enhanced the resilience of Niue’s public facilities through refurbishment work.
“I will meet health leaders who have been at the forefront of Niue’s COVID-19 preparedness and response; as well as the Niue Council of Women and the Taoga Niue museum which leads Niue’s efforts to preserve its culture and history.”
She said the visit builds on the Government’s Pacific Resilience approach announced last year, which takes a Pacific-centred view of shared interests in the region.
“It prioritises building resilience, supporting collective action, and growing the capacity of partner countries.”
“Aotearoa New Zealand is in and of the Pacific. Our bonds with Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and its people run deep, through whakapapa, language, shared histories, cultures and interests,” said Ms Mahuta.
The Foreign Minister travels to Niue on Tuesday 16 August, to Tonga on Thursday 18 August, and returns to Aotearoa New Zealand on the evening of Friday 19 August.