New High Commissioner to Tonga announced

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Matt Howell as new High Commissioner to Tonga.

“Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have a long history and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Last year we proudly marked 50 years of formal diplomatic relations which are reinforced by the strong connection between our peoples. Together we have cooperated across a number of regional and global challenges including climate change and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami, New Zealand also provided humanitarian funding to assist relief efforts. Through his appointment Mr Howell will be an extension of this support, working alongside Tonga on their eruption recovery,” Nanaia Mahuta said. 

Matt Howell has a background in international development and has had a long career working in the Pacific. He was most recently the Wellington-based New Zealand High Commissioner to Tuvalu and has previously served at the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara.

“As we reconnect New Zealand to the world, maintaining our diplomatic relationships is more important than ever. Mr Howell’s wealth of experience in the Pacific will be key to growing our strong relationship with Tonga even further,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Mr Howell takes up his position in May.