Kiribati receives new diplomat to look after New Zealand High Commission

Bairiki, Tarawa, 23 April, 2014—President Anote Tong officially received today New Zealand’s new High Commissioner, His Excellency Donald James Higgins in a Presentation of Credential ceremony at the Parliament House.

Along the sidelines of the ongoing Parliament meeting, President Tong received the credentials of the new High Commissioner Mr. Donald James Higgins who replaces outgoing High Commissioner Mr. Michael Walsh.

After the ceremony, President Tong welcomed the new High Commissioner to the shores of Kiribati and said he looked forward to working with him in continuing the good and strong relations between Kiribati and New Zealand.

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“I welcome you again to Kiribati and I believe your arrival at this time is timely as a lot of things are happening, projects kicking-off and particularly with the arrival of your Foreign Minister in the Joint New Zealand/European Union visit to the country tomorrow.” Tong added.

High Commissioner Higgins has worked in administrative roles in various organizations for more than 20 years, including his most previous role of Advisor to the Administrator of Tokelau under the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington.

“I’m delighted and honoured to be here in Kiribati. Obviously Kiribati has its challenges and there is a lot of work to be done here and I think the New Zealand and Kiribati governments have a strong relationship as they have worked on some significant projects on the go including some further projects in the pipeline.” High Commissioner Higgins said in an interview.

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Kiribati and New Zealand established diplomatic relations on the 12 July 1979, on the day Kiribati gained its independence from Britain.

New Zealand’s bilateral programme with Kiribati focuses on four key areas namely Urban Development, Lifting Economic Performance, Workforce Skills Development, and other supports included under the New Zealand Partnerships and has allocated $37 million for bilateral assistance over 2012/2013 to 2014/2015.