As traditional partners in the Pacific family, Aotearoa New Zealand and Fiji have today renewed their commitment to advance shared aspirations in building an inclusive, resilient, secure and sustainable future for our Blue Pacific Continent.
This was articulated this afternoon (January 19th, 2023) at an introductory call received by the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka from the New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Mrs. Charlotte Darlow. Accompanying High Commissioner Darlow at this meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), was the Deputy High Commissioner Alex Shahryar-Davies and First Secretary Hone Patrick.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka thanked High Commissioner Darlow and her team for the fruitful discussions they had on further strengthening Fiji’s partnership with New Zealand. He said Fiji and New Zealand are great friends and share common values that unites us as a Pacific family with cultural and historical significance.
Prime Minister Rabuka said Fiji is grateful to New Zealand for their tremendous support provided to Fiji and the Pacific family, over the years. He said the Duavata Partnership signifies a new level of expanded strategic cooperation and together Fiji and New Zealand will build stronger cooperation in areas of economic resilience, social well-being, climate change, amongst other areas of development.
He commended New Zealand’s ongoing support to Fiji and the Pacific family through their development assistance program including areas of defense and security, trade and investment, education, health, humanitarian assistance and labour mobility through the Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme. He acknowledged that New Zealand is home to a large Fijian diaspora and there are opportunities to further strengthen the people to people links between our two nations.
In his capacity as the new Chair for the Pacific Islands Forum, Prime Minister Rabuka spoke on the immediate priorities of the Forum to reunite the Pacific family and he also appreciated New Zealand’s commitment to the Forum family.
He said he will do his utmost best to nurture stronger regional solidarity by working closely with the Pacific Island leaders. Prime Minister Rabuka’s official visit to Kiribati tomorrow to meet Kiribati’s President, His Excellency Taneti Maamau for the bilateral discussions is an important step taken in rebuilding Pacific’s unity.
Prime Minister Rabuka said Fiji looks forward for New Zealand’s continued support in the fulfilment of our collective vision in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
High Commissioner Darlow congratulated Prime Minister Rabuka on his election as Prime Minister of Fiji and Minister for Foreign Affairs, and noted that the New Zealand Government is looking forward to working closely with the new Fiji Government.
High Commissioner Darlow echoed the congratulatory messages to Prime Minister Rabuka and the new members of the Fiji Government from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who are both looking forward to reconnecting in-person with members of the new Fiji Government.
“Aotearoa New Zealand and Fiji hold strong bilateral relations and share a warm and enduring friendship. We work closely together across a wide range of shared bilateral issues, as well as working as partners on a number of vitally important issues for our Pacific region and for the world. We will continue to strengthen these relationships with Prime Minister Rabuka’s Government.
“We are proud to work hand-in-hand with Fiji on an extensive array of mutually important issues, for example on economic resilience, social wellbeing, climate change and disaster management, security, and beyond. Through our shared values and priorities, we reaffirm our commitment to collaborate on and advance our Duavata Partnership,” said High Commissioner Darlow.
She noted that Aotearoa New Zealand also strongly welcomes the vital role that Fiji plays in our collective pursuit as a Pacific family to create an inclusive, resilient, secure and sustainable future for Blue Pacific Continent.