OPENING OF THE NEW OFFICES OF THE NEW ZEALAND MISSION IN GENEVAInternational Trade
Representatives of the Government of Switzerland and of the Canton of Geneva. Australian Minister Mark Vaile and Mrs Vaile. Permanent Representatives of Geneva Missions. Heads of Geneva agencies. Ladies and gentlemen.
Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou, katoa.
It is marvellous to have you all here sharing this occasion with us.
I want to take the opportunity to thank our Kaumatua for conducting the Hiki Tapu ceremony in which we have just participated, for the mana they have bestowed on our new Mission, and for the spiritual lift they have given us all.
For the benefit of our international guests, the ceremony reflects New Zealand's proud identity as a bi-cultural nation, and the strong commitment to our indigenous heritage and the partnership embodied in our nation's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi.
Thanks once again for bestowing mana on our new Mission this morning, and for the spiritual lift you've given us all.
This is a very special occasion for New Zealand in Geneva, not only in marking a rejuvenation of our representation, but also as a reminder of our longstanding involvement in so many dimensions of today's Geneva International.
We were founder members of the United Nations. We were also founder members of the GATT and the ILO. We have always sought to play an active role in key inter-governmental organisations operating in Geneva.
Although we're a small state, we're outward looking and we have a major stake in the international community. On matters of trade and economic development, the global environment, humanitarian work and human rights and security and disarmament, multilateral diplomacy will always be a vital element of New Zealand's foreign policy.
And that's why New Zealand has maintained an official presence in Geneva for almost forty years, since 1961.
We moved to expanded premises in 1974. And three or four years ago we readily seized the opportunity offered by our Trans-Tasman neighbours to co-locate here on this new site with Australia.
Of course, usually we have the Tasman Sea between us as a buffer in our rivalry over such matters as the Rugby World Cup!
We are delighted with our new building, and highly appreciative of the warm and friendly Australian spirit with which the project has been brought to fruition.
It now gives me great pleasure to formally pronounce the new Offices of the New Zealand Permanent Mission open.
And may all those who pass through these doors enjoy success in all their endeavours.