The Returning Pacific Heads of Mission (HOM) Breakfast was held in Auckland on May 25. The annual event is designed for the private sector to have an opportunity to meet with the Heads of Mission.
More than 100 guests attended the event at the Hilton Hotel, which was hosted for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.
As well as the diplomats and ministry officials, guests drawn from the private sector and non-government organisations. All were keen to learn more about the Pacific islands and New Zealand’s initiatives in the region and to do some networking.
Each head of mission gave a brief update on behalf of their office reporting on the country’s economy, identifying the opportunities and challenges faced by their respective countries.
Among the highlights conveyed by the Heads of Mission at the breakfast were the forthcoming APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea, which has thrown up opportunities in the infrastructure sector; the newly appointed full mission in Nauru with Nicci Simmonds as High Commissioner and where this year’s Pacific Islands Forum will be hosted; the building of a New Zealand chancery in the Solomon Islands to be completed next year and the proposal for a full fledged high commission in Tuvalu.
Also, former Niue High Commissioner Ross Ardern has been appointed Administrator of the tiny atoll of Tokelau, further expanding New Zealand’s diplomatic presence in the region with official representation on the ground.
Heads of mission present were Peter Marshall – High Commissioner, Cook Islands; Jonathan Curr – High Commissioner, Fiji; Michael Upton – High Commissioner, Kiribati; Ross Ardern – High Commissioner, Niue; Bruce Shepherd – Consul-General, Noumea; Sue Mackwell – High Commissioner, Papua New Guinea; David Nicholson – High Commissioner, Samoa; Don Higgins – High Commissioner, Solomon Islands; Tiffany Babington – High Commissioner, Tonga; Jonathan Schwass – High Commissioner, Vanuatu; Nicci Simmonds, High Commissioner, Nauru; Ambassador – Karena Lyons – Consul-General, Hawaii (accredited to FSM, Marshall Islands, Palau).