New Zealand’s workshop on Successful Development and Commercialisation of Premium Fruit Varieties. —Photos courtesy of the embassy
Today marks 180 years since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand. This document signifies the enduring partnership between the Government and Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Ambassador Wendy Matthews sends a message to celebrate.
As with the Treaty of Waitangi, partnerships between peoples form the foundation of New Zealand’s relationship with Việt Nam. Our bilateral relationship is strong, dynamic and growing fast.
This year is particularly special as New Zealand and Việt Nam celebrate 45 years of diplomatic relations. There are three strands that significantly weave our countries together.
The first is people-to-people links. Our education partnership is thriving. President Hồ Chí Minh said: “To reap a return in ten years, plant trees. To reap a return in 100, cultivate the people.”
We are therefore delighted that more and more Vietnamese students are choosing New Zealand’s world class education system in order to learn, grow and shape their futures. There are now approximately 2,800 Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand.
The second strand is our trade and economic relationship, which has seen strong and positive momentum.
Two-way trade grew by 11 percent over the last year to reach approximately NZ$2 billion. Vietnamese consumers are increasingly enjoying New Zealand’s high quality, safe and delicious dairy products, fruit, wine and seafood.
But there is much more to recognise and to celebrate. Over the past year I have witnessed great collaboration between New Zealand and Vietnamese companies in areas as diverse as meteorological services, sustainable timber, food safety, and pilot training.
New Zealanders have a long tradition of mixing creative innovation with practical solutions. A great example is our premium dragon fruit aid project. This project brings together the best of New Zealand’s agricultural expertise and technology with one of Việt Nam’s most iconic products – the dragon fruit.
The third strand that I would like to mention is the work we do together in regional forums. We look forward to working closely with Việt Nam to make its 2020 ASEAN Chair year a success. This year New Zealand is also pleased to celebrate 45 years as a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.
A New Zealand ASEAN summit in April will further deepen our co-operation with ASEAN. Next year New Zealand will in turn be looking for Việt Nam’s support as we host APEC.
There are many regional issues of common interest that Việt Nam and New Zealand can work on together and take forward this year and next, including effective responses to the challenges of climate change, and building inclusive and sustainable growth in our economies.
Finally, I want to reflect again on the theme of strength in partnership. There is a Māori proverb that says “he waka eke noa”, which means we are all in this canoe together.
In the year ahead I will be paddling this canoe hard to strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with Việt Nam, and I look forward to your help and encouragement! — VNS
New Zealand Minister of Finance (third from left) witnesses an MoU signing ceremony during his visit in Hà Nội in October 2019.