Wed, 22 May 2019

Thank Brexit: New Zealand opens an embassy in Ireland

By Sheetal Sukhija, Ireland News
14 Nov 2018, 04:05 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Its official! New Zealand now has an embassy in Ireland.

On Monday morning, the New Zealand High Commission posted a message on its Twitter page, sharing the "exciting news."

The NZ High Commission tweeted, "Exciting news! The #NewZealand Embassy in #Ireland is on Facebook. Like their page to keep up with the work of our colleagues in Dublin. The Embassy opens on Monday 12 November."

The official opening ceremony saw a performance by the Maori cultural group Ngati Raukawa, which sang the religious hymn How Great Thou Art in Te Reo, the native Maori language.

The group led a traditional blessing ritual in each of the rooms of the embassy building along with the staff that is set to work at the embassy.

The new local and seconded staff members dressed in the traditional Maori costume, along with the New Zealand ambassador to Ireland, Brad Burgess and the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand were present at the inauguration.

Opening the embassy in the Irish capital this week, New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the country's Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters revealed the reason behind his government's strategic decision.

Citing the historic ties between the nations, Peters pointed out that roughly one in six New Zealanders have Irish ancestry.

He also stressed on Ireland's growing economy and the influx of New Zealand immigrants into Ireland as some of the reasons behind the decision.

Addressing the media at the official ceremony on Monday, Peters said, "Weve been big fans of the Irish for a long time, and we have a similar sense of justified defiance, so I think well get along just fine."

He emphasized that Ireland and New Zealand were set to enjoy a more "mutually beneficial relationship" in the aftermath of the U.K. divorcing the European Union.

The top New Zealand official told reporters that "opening an embassy in Dublin was one of the first decisions" his government made after Brexit.

Peters said, "The moment the Brexit decision happened on the 23 June 2016, it became very clear that we would have to, with respect to Ireland, set up an embassy here."

Adding, It was one of the first decisions we made, and we could no longer think of carrying out the service from London, which had been going on in the past, thats why we made the decision."

Stressing on enhancing ties between the two countries, New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister explained, "Brexit is a slow process, which wont be over until March of next year, so in a way were getting ready early. We can be of assistance to the Irish in the Pacific and elsewhere, and we know the Irish can be a big help to us where the European Union is concerned, so if we both put our best foot forward we can deepen our relationship and mutually get more out of it.

However, the minister also pointed out, "This will have a lot of ramifications, we need to have a close relationship with Ireland and vice versa. Ireland is stretching its reach off shore, it has always been a country that has seriously understood the importance of domestic and diplomatic relations."

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