The New Zealand Papua New Guinea Business Council (NZPNGBC) celebrated its silver jubilee with a dinner at the Northern Club in Auckland last month.

Guests at the NZ-PNG Business Council silver jubilee dinner in Auckland.

The council was established in 1993 and several of its founding members attended the silver jubilee celebratory dinner.

Among the founding member companies represented at the event were Sofrana ANL (NZ) and Fletcher Building. These two companies among others have been doing business in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and have been continuous members of the council.

The inaugural Chairman, Richard Steel from (the then) Beca Carter as well as the current High Commissioner to Port Moresby, Sue Mackwell, were duly acknowledged.

The importance of the PNG-New Zealand relationship was underscored by the presence of as many as six former New Zealand High Commissioners: Tim Hannah (1982-1985), John Hayes ONZM (1989-1993), Sir Maarten Wevers (1993-1994), Chris Seed (2001-2003), Marion Crawshaw (2010-2014) and Tony Fautua (2014-2017).

Former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Don McKinnon who is also a former New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and was Foreign Minister when the Council was established in 1993 was the guest speaker at the dinner.

Sir Don reminisced the early days of the council and the relationship between the two countries during those times. He outlined some of the history of the business connections including PNG’s membership of APEC and what the APEC Summit due to be held later this year might mean to PNG.

As well as diplomats, former diplomats and New Zealand businesspeople, Peter Taylor, President of the Australia PNG Business Council and its Executive Director Frank Yourn travelled from Australia to be at the event.

Council founding member Peter Kiely, who also hosted the evening’s proceedings, said PNG is New Zealand’s second largest goods export market in the Pacific after Fiji and export in services are growing while businesses presently are engaged in a wide range of industries including communications, construction, aviation, engineering, energy and education.

Recently appointed Chairman of the council, former Foreign Minister Murray McCully was unable to attend for personal reasons but sent a message that was read out. Mr McCully has committed to leading a trade mission from New Zealand to PNG later this year.

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