Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to carry out first international visit

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta leaves New Zealand this week on an international programme to advance Aotearoa New Zealand’s interests on a range of issues, including our COVID-19 response and recovery and engagement in the Indo-Pacific.

This is the first international visit of a New Zealand Foreign Minister since COVID-19 broke out across the globe. Nanaia Mahuta will visit six countries, host Te Aratini at Expo 2020, as well as meet with seven foreign ministers and a range of international representatives.

“New Zealand enjoys wide-ranging relationships with many countries, and this trip is an opportunity to strengthen those ties and ensure Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique perspectives are understood and taken into account in key capitals,” said Nanaia Mahuta. 

“I am looking forward to meeting some of my counterparts in person, following a year of virtual meetings and online engagements,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

The first stop is Sydney to meet Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, followed by a transit in Singapore which will include a meeting with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Minister Mahuta will then travel to Jakarta where the Minister will meet her Indonesia counterpart, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and separately meet with the ASEAN Secretary General, reinforcing the value Aotearoa New Zealand places on our partnership with ASEAN.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta then travels to the United Arab Emirates to support New Zealand’s exhibition at Expo 2020, and to host Te Aratini (Festival of Indigenous and Tribal Ideas), and meet with UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. The festival is New Zealand’s single most important event at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“Expo2020 provides a significant platform to demonstrate our indigenous values and trade opportunities on the world stage. My visit also offers the opportunity to further deepen our strong bilateral relationship with the UAE which is critical for our connectivity and supply chains and an important partner for Aotearoa New Zealand in the Middle East region,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

The Minister will then travel to Doha with New Zealand’s Special Representative to Afghanistan to meet her Qatari counterpart Sheik Al-Thani and thank him for Qatar’s support of New Zealand’s Afghan evacuation. 

“The Qatari Government has been generous in supporting departures from Afghanistan and is continuing to play an important role.  My visit will allow me to formally recognise and thank them for this support,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Minister will then travel to Washington DC and Ottawa to reaffirm Aotearoa New Zealand’s strong friendship with the United States and Canada. She will hold meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and newly-appointed Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

“Aotearoa New Zealand works side by side with the United States on issues that matter to both of us, including the prosperity, security, and sustainability of the Indo-Pacific, and in particular Pacific Island countries.

“We also enjoy a close friendship with Canada, built on our shared history, democratic values, security partnership and commitment to multilateralism.”

The Foreign Minister leaves on Thursday 11 November.  Nanaia Mahuta and her delegation of two have been fully vaccinated and will comply with any host government COVID-19 restrictions and testing requirements. Upon return to New Zealand on 28 November, they will complete the required MIQ period.