The Solomon Islands Government has opened a new diplomatic mission in Wellington, New Zealand which began operations on Monday 13th, January, 2014.
The opening of the Mission fulfills the country’s foreign relations policy of broadening its presence in strategic locations abroad as well as enhancing relations with a close Pacific neighbor and development partner New Zealand.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Clay Forau Soalaoi welcomed the establishment of the New Zealand Mission saying he is “pleased that the mission is finally operational”.
“Maintaining a physical presence in Wellington will increase Solomon Islands links and connection with both the Government and private sector of New Zealand,” Minister Forau said.
Prior to the establishment of the Office, Solomon Islands had maintained an Honorary Consul Office in Auckland, from 1994 to 2004.
The current Government, however, recognized the strategic importance and need to elevate its physical presence in New Zealand and committed to opening a mission last year.
New Zealand is considered an important development partner of Solomon Islands and will continue to remain a strong partner in the future.
While the SI-NZ partnership is often viewed from a development aid perspective, there is greater potential for Solomon Islands to benefit fully from its relation with New Zealand, particularly, in the trade and investment sector.
Having a Government office in New Zealand will contribute towards achieving benefits from this relationship.
In this regard, the successful implementation of the Recognized Seasonal Employers Scheme (RSE) is an example of the enormous potentials anticipated to be derived from the PACER-Plus arrangement.
Against the changing political dynamics in the region - New Zealand’s growing prominence and active engagement with the region and beyond was an important consideration for the Government’s decision for establishing the Mission.
In addition to diplomatic functions, the office will also carry out consular services which are important given the growing number of Solomon Islanders traveling to New Zealand, particularly, under the RSE Scheme, students studying at various institutions in New Zealand and Solomon Islanders living and working there.
A Head of Mission is yet to be commissioned to take up posting at the new Mission.
The Office is currently manned by Charge de Affairs, Ms. Fiona Indu, a senior officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade.
Press Release: GCU