New High Commissioner to Kiribati appointed

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Andre Van Der Walt as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Kiribati.

“As a Pacific nation we value our strong and enduring relationships throughout the region, especially with Kiribati,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Our two nations share a strong partnership based on core values, and a mutual interest in a safe and secure Blue Pacific.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is working with Kiribati on their ambitious development goals supporting te Mauri, te Raoi and te Tabamoa – the health, peace and prosperity of the Kiribati people.

“We are also committed to supporting Kiribati following their nationwide State of Disaster. Last month Aotearoa NZ announced funding assistance for a new desalination unit in Tarawa, to improve water security during a prolonged drought. This built on previous drought support initiatives, emergency funding and work with the Public Utilities Board.

“Mr Van Der Walt’s appointment will be vital to ensure we continue to work together to address challenges of our region. With experience across the Pacific, he is well placed to represent Aotearoa New Zealand,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Andre Van Der Walt is currently managing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s humanitarian and disaster management team. He has previously served as deputy head of mission to New Zealand’s High Commission in Niue.

Mr Van Der Walt has also been the principal development manager for the Pacific development group at MFAT.