A High Commissioner to Tuvalu and a new Ambassador for New Zealand to the African Union and Ethiopia, both to be based in Wellington, have been announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.
“Accrediting non-resident Ambassadors provides us with a flexible and cost-effective means of increasing our diplomatic activity,” said Mr McCully.
The High Commissioner to Tuvalu will be Gareth Smith, returning to Wellington from Canberra where he has been serving as First Secretary. He has worked in the Ministry’s Pacific Division and served in the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga as Deputy High Commissioner.
“This position reflects the importance we place on our relations with Tuvalu and the Pacific region. New Zealand’s aid programme to Tuvalu will total $4 million this year and focuses on education, health and job creation,” said Mr McCully.
New Zealand’s first dedicated Ambassador to the African Union and Ethiopia will be James Kember, currently Director of the Ministry’s United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division. He has previously served in Viet Nam as Ambassador, in Noumea and Hong Kong as Consul-General, and in Rarotonga as High Commissioner.
“Appointing a dedicated Ambassador to the African Union and Ethiopia demonstrates our clear intent to increase commercial and diplomatic engagement in a continent of growing economic and political importance,” said Mr McCully.
“As Ambassador, Dr Kember will play a significant role, contributing a New Zealand perspective on security, humanitarian and aid issues, and working to open doors to the African market for New Zealand exporters.”