The Solomon Islands High Commission in New Zealand celebrated the 38th Independence Anniversary in Auckland on 7th July 2016. During the occasion, Her Excellency Lady Joy Finioa Kere, the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand acknowledged the assistance provided by New Zealand to Solomon Islands since independence and for the friendship and the cordial relations that both countries have enjoyed even before Solomon Islands gain its independence in 1978.

Her Excellency express that the relations between Solomon Islands and New Zealand was established well before both countries forged diplomatic ties. “It was through the work of early missionaries who brought the gospel to our islands. Then during World War 2, when many brave New Zealand soldiers served alongside our Coast Watchers in the battle of Guadalcanal and other parts of the Solomon Islands such as the Shortlands. Through education, in the 1970s, before independence, some of the Solomon Islands leaders were educated in New Zealand, for instance, the country’s first Prime Minister, the late Sir Peter Kenilorea, the first Governor General, the late Sir Baddeley Devesi and others.

On Development cooperation, Her Excellency thank the government of New Zealand for the assistance provided to Solomon Islands in the areas of fisheries management, education, economic governance, law and justice and economic growth through infrastructure such as support to the aviation sector.

On regional cooperation, High Commissioner Kere acknowledged the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and thank the joint leadership of both Australia and New Zealand for all the assistance towards reforms in the public sector, economic governance, financial management, political, constitutional, police and the national development strategy. For the past 13 years of RAMSI and during its independence, Solomon Islands is thankful to its Pacific neighbours and the leadership shown by New Zealand and other development partners.

One of the success stories of the Solomon Islands-New Zealand relations is the labour mobility. During the occasion, High Commissioner Kere acknowledged the New Zealand government for the opportunity for Solomon Islands workers to engage in the Viti and Horti culture industry. Over the past 8 years, the number of Solomon Islands workers have gradually increase and inform that Solomon Islands is looking forward for the revised Inter-Agency Understanding to be signed sometimes this year (2016).

In highlighting the theme of the Independence Anniversary, “enhancing Solomon Islands-New Zealand in Business and Investment”, Her Excellency underscore the importance of investment and inform the relevant policies and legislations that are in place and the introduction of the Special Economic Zone Act. High Commissioner Kere stressed that the Special Economic Zone Act is to provide opportunities for genuine foreign investors to invest in designated sectors in a particular economic zone such as fisheries, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and etc and encourages New Zealand investors to invest in the Solomon Islands.

On people to people contact, High Commissioner Kere stress that there is increased people to people contact between Solomon Islands and New Zealand. For instance, “There is increased Ministerial visits between both countries and more Solomon Islanders are now visiting New Zealand for studies, work, conferences and those that resident permanently. A number of Solomon Islanders over the past years have also came and play for soccer clubs in New Zealand and this still continues today”.

Her Excellency also commended Solomon Islanders who have contributed to both the New Zealand and Solomon Islands economies since independence in the areas of engineering, education, health, law and other professions such as in trade skills and the service industry. This is through skills transfer and remittances.

Ambassador Matua Shane Jones who represented the New Zealand government congratulate the Solomon Islands on its 38th Independence Anniversary and reaffirm New Zealand continuous assistance to Solomon Islands.

The 38th Independence anniversary celebration was held at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and was hosted by the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand, Her Excellency, Lady Joy Finioa Kere and Sir Dr Nathan Kere and attended by officials from the New Zealand government, Consulates, private sector, non-governmental organisations and members of the Solomon Islands communities in Auckland and Hamilton. It was the first time for the Solomon Islands High Commission to host the Independence Anniversary in Auckland since the High Commission was established in 2014.