The Consul-General of New Zealand for the French Pacific territories, Felicity Roxburgh, says New Zealand’s presence in New Caledonia is historical.
She said she was looking to strengthen economic and political ties with the French Pacific territories.
This comes as New Zealand marks 50 years of its consulate in New Caledonia, which also covers ties with French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.
Felicity Roxburgh said her job is to take New Zealand’s relationship with the French Pacific to the next level.
“This year is 50 years since New Zealand opened the consulate in Noumea, and it is also 80 years since New Zealand military presence which was here during World War Two,” she said.
“Which is notably in Bourail, so there is a lot of history to the relationship. So my job is to try and deepen those connections and take our relationship with the French Pacific territories to the next level economically and politically.”
Roxburgh also said her visit to French Polynesia showed her a deeper connection to the territory.
First visit to Pape’ete
She was appointed to the French Pacific position in June last year and has just recently made her first visit to Pape’ete.
Roxburgh was unable to make the trip earlier due to the French legislative elections and the covid-19 pandemic.
She said her visit to French Polynesia showed a deep connection to New Zealand whakapapa.
“That’s been the case … there was the Polynesian connection, there is trade, there is tourism and there is also an important source of students from New Zealand and there is also a lot of whakapapa links with Tainui,” she said.
“When I was over there they showed me the outlet where Tainui left with their waka.”
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.