Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to Niue and Tonga this week to discuss kanohi ki te kanohi with her counterparts and advance work on Aotearoa New Zealand’s priorities for Pacific resilience and climate action.
“After the disruption caused by the COVID-19 border closure, this is another opportunity to connect in person with our Pacific whanau, reaffirm Aotearoa New Zealand’s enduring ties to the region and engage in future cooperation,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
“These are challenging times for the Pacific. Leaders at last month’s Pacific Islands Forum reaffirmed climate change as the greatest security threat with the adoption of the Pacific Blue Continent Strategy 2050. .
“We stand with the Pacific to mitigate and adapt to the impact of sea level rise. Half of our $1.3 billion climate finance commitments announced by year-end are for the Pacific. I will provide an update on our climate finance strategy during a speech in Nuku’alofa on Friday.
“While in Tonga, I will also meet with Prime Minister Hon Hu’akavameiliku and other ministers. I will visit projects and agencies where Aotearoa New Zealand works in partnership with Tongan community leaders, including civil society organizations and frontline health workers.
“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 will address the Legislative Assembly.
“I am also looking forward to seeing first hand the results of the partnership between MFAT and the New Zealand Defense Force in Exercise Tropic Twilight. This has enhanced the resilience of public facilities in Niue through refurbishment work.
“I will meet with health officials who have been at the forefront of Niue’s COVID-19 preparedness and response; as well as the Council of Women of Niue and the Taoga Niue Museum which leads Niue’s efforts to preserve its culture and history.
“This visit builds on our Pacific Resilience approach announced last year, which takes a Pacific-centric view of our common interests in the region. It prioritizes building resilience, supporting collective action and building the capacity of partner countries.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is in and of the Pacific. Our ties to Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and its people run deep, through whakapapa, language, shared histories, cultures and interests,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs will travel to Niue on Tuesday August 16, Tonga on Thursday August 18 and return to Aotearoa, New Zealand on the evening of Friday August 19.