New Zealand High Commissioner, Philip Taula when opening the Kumul Leadership Centre at Murray Barracks yesterday said, “Operational and security engagement, collaboration between our defence policy makers, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are just some of the ways our defence forces have sought to demonstrate their long-term commitment to working together.
In recent months, Aotearoa New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have shared the experience of supporting another close partner in our region to achieve its security goals.
The New Zealand Defence Force, this time working alongside the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (and our partners from Australia and Fiji) — has been committed to supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to maintain stability in Honiara.
“In doing so, we are jointly promoting a peaceful and secure Pacific region. The Biketawa Declaration has long underpinned the commitment by Pacific Islands Forum members to regional responses to the security challenges that we face in the Pacific. Together we are demonstrating what can be achieved by working together as a Pacific whānau, or family.
He said how Aotearoa New Zealand works in, and with, the Pacific is important.
“Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, recently introduced a new set of principles to guide our engagement and promote a focus on building resilience together,” said Commissioner Taula.
These include, Tātai Hono — the recognition of deep and enduring whakapapa, or ancestral, connections; Tātou Tātou - all of us together; and Arongia ki Rangiātea - focus towards excellence.
“We strive to apply these principles across our range of engagements in Papua New Guinea. A resilience approach means that our support to the energy sector (delivered through the PNG Electrification Partnership) delivers new connections directly to households, while helping to build institutional capacity across the sector.
High Commissioner Taula said it means that our support to Papua New Guinea’s COVID-19 response has included not just procurement of life-saving vaccines, funding, personal protective (PPE) and other equipment, but also deployments of logisticians, NZDF personnel and medical teams to work side by side with Papua New Guinean counterparts providing advice and practical support.
“And it means that when we contribute to important upgrades of fresh product markets, we are working with local partners to improve market governance and, critically, to enhance the participation and safety of women and girls.”
He added, ”Aotearoa New Zealand is proud of our enduring friendship with the Government of Papua New Guinea. It is a long-term commitment, and the unveiling this week of the Kumul Leadership Centre is a further example of what can be achieved when we work together towards a resilient Pacific region."