Viet Nam News
To celebrate New Zealand’s National Day (Waitangi Day), the country’s Ambassador to Việt Nam Wendy Matthews has written a letter praising the growing links of travel, trade and culture between the two nations.
New Zealand celebrates our National Day, Waitangi Day on 6th of February. This day recognises the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between representatives of the Crown and Chiefs of the indigenous Māori people on 6 February 1840. New Zealand families will be celebrating Waitangi Day by enjoying the best of New Zealand summer – beaches, bbqs and ice-cream!
As the New Zealand Embassy in Hà Nội looks at the year gone by since our last National Day, there have been some excellent developments in the New Zealand- Việt Nam relationship to celebrate:
-Air New Zealand launched seasonal direct air links between Auckland and HCM City in June
-Impressive growth in student visa (up 21 per cent) and visitor visa (up 88 per cent) applications to New Zealand
-Successful exchanges of high level visits with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh’s trip to New Zealand in December and the visit of New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development Stephen Joyce to Việt Nam in June.
-Two way goods trade grew by 9.2 per cent
-Services trade increased strongly (7 per cent growth for NZ’s service exports and 19.6 per cent growth for Việt Nam’s service exports)
Good people to people links are the backbone of any thriving relationship. There is a famous Māori proverb:
He aha te mea nui o teao? What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
The launch of the Air New Zealand direct flight between Việt Nam and New Zealand has provided the platform for further growth of people to people links. New Zealanders are increasingly flocking to explore the wonders that Việt Nam has to offer, and similarly Vietnamese are travelling to New Zealand to experience the open hearts, open minds, and open spaces of our beautiful country.
We have also been pleased by the expanding numbers of Vietnamese students travelling to New Zealand for high quality education and the increasing institutional linkages between top universities in both countries. In addition New Zealand has a number of exchanges, training programmes and scholarships which are designed to assist the next generation of Vietnamese leaders to develop and grow.
The people of Việt Nam increasingly demand high quality food that tastes great, is nutritious, and is safely produced. New Zealand provides just that, through its trade with Việt Nam. But we also share our agricultural expertise, including via the new Bình Định Safe Vegetables Project, helping to develop new varieties of dragon fruit, and through a Food Safety Study Tour to New Zealand for Vietnamese officials in November 2016.
As Asia-Pacific partners, New Zealand and Việt Nam have been actively cooperating in regional political, economic and security fora. New Zealand has been a long-standing strong advocate for APEC and we look forward to working with Việt Nam to make its APEC host year a success. New Zealand is hosting APEC in 2021, so we are also hoping to learn from Việt Nam’s hosting experience.
Also on the economic front New Zealand and Việt Nam are jointly involved in the RCEP trade negotiations and both are TPP partners. While TPP is facing headwinds, New Zealand has completed its domestic implementation and will work closely with Việt Nam to continue to progress TPP.
In 2016 New Zealand and Việt Nam had the unfortunate shared experience of natural disasters. In New Zealand it was earthquakes that shook the upper South Island and capital city and in Việt Nam it was flooding that rampaged through central Việt Nam. Disaster risk management is an ongoing active area of our bilateral cooperation. In that vein New Zealand provided humanitarian assistance to the province of Bình Định to help thousands of households in their flood recovery.
New Zealand is a young country, but throughout its history its peoples have looked outward – looking to explore and build linkages. We are proud of the developments in the New Zealand-Việt Nam relationship which are deepening our economic and political partnership, but we have even higher ambitions for the year ahead.—VNS