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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 31, 2013
On the town
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New Zealand, Poland Celebrate Ties
October 31, 2013   
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This year Poland and New Zealand are celebrating 40 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations. To this end, Poland’s Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski visited New Zealand earlier this year. His talks with his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully centered on strengthening bilateral cooperation, particularly in trade. The foreign ministers also discussed plans for Polish businesses and specialists to help out in reconstruction work in the aftermath of a 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, one of New Zealand’s biggest cities.

In another event marking the anniversary, New Zealand’s ambassador to Poland, Wendy Hinton, held a celebratory function at the New Zealand Residence in downtown Warsaw.

Ian Hill, Divisional Manager for Europe at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, made an informal speech to a gathering of Polish government officials, directors from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, as well as a small group of Polish politicians.

Hill acknowledged the role Polish people have played in New Zealand over the last two centuries. He said Poles were “part of the pioneering fabric of New Zealand today and helped forge New Zealand into the strong and culturally diverse Asia Pacific society it is today.” He added that one of the landmark historical links was the welcoming to his country of 733 Polish orphans from Iran during World War II, along with 105 Polish carers.

Hill said that the New Zealand government sees Poland as an important player in Europe and internationally, and that his country shared Poland’s commitment to democracy and good government as well as to international security. Poland’s efforts to strengthen its links with the Asia Pacific region are also welcomed by the New Zealand government, Hill said.

The European Union continues to be New Zealand’s major trading partner and a source of investment, according to Hill. However, more work needs to be done to increase bilateral trade between Poland and New Zealand, he said.

As part of the celebrations, Ambassador Hinton hosted several concerts in Warsaw and Cracow featuring prominent New Zealand and Polish musicians. These included violinists Donald Maurice and Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown, and pianist Sarah Atkins. For a country of only 4 million, New Zealand has a surprising wealth of talented, world-renowned musicians.

Jolanta Wolska
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