DATIN Paduka Tan Bee Yong, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to New Zealand, recently hosted a reception to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand.
The reception was held at the James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel in Wellington, New Zealand.
The guest of honour at the event was Todd McClay, Minister of Revenue, Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister of Trade of New Zealand.
The reception was attended by over 150 guests from the New Zealand Parliament and various New Zealand government agencies.
Also attending were senior government officials from Brunei Darussalam who were in Wellington as part of their ongoing Executive Development Programme and officials from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, who were in New Zealand for a working visit.
In her remarks, Datin Paduka Tan Bee Yong thanked the guests for joining in the special occasion to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand.
She emphasised the importance of education as one of the pillars of bilateral cooperation and underlined the importance of Brunei Darussalam’s longstanding relationship with the University of Otago and the University of Auckland.
The High Commissioner expressed appreciation for the contribution of New Zealand professionals, especially educators and pilots, to Brunei’s socio-economic development and hopes that more young New Zealanders would undertake their studies in Brunei’s academic institutions.
She commended the regular interactions and trust shared by the military personnel of both countries, including the unique relationship between New Zealand’s Massey University and the Brunei Defence Academy.
Datin Paduka Tan Bee Yong also touched on the close collaboration by both countries in the regional and international arena, which have presented Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand as strategic partners and laid a solid platform for further practical cooperation.
She also took the opportunity to congratulate New Zealand on its successful election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
In his speech delivered on behalf of the New Zealand government, Todd McClay expressed pleasure in jointly celebrating a key milestone in the Brunei Darussalam – New Zealand relationship.
Noting that education was a cornerstone in the relationship, he highlighted the training of Brunei’s future doctors and medical professionals in New Zealand under the special agreements with the University of Otago.
McClay expressed appreciation for the close cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand in the field of defence, including their collaboration as co-chairs of the Experts Working Group on Maritime Security, under the ADMM-Plus process.
Reiterating New Zealand’s commitment to deepen its links to the Asia-Pacific region, McClay looked forward to the 40th anniversary of dialogue relations between Asean and New Zealand in 2015, and expressed its desire to deepen regional economic integration through the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
He conveyed the appreciation of the New Zealand Government for Brunei Darussalam’s support towards its United Nations Security Council candidature, and looked forward to represent the voice of small Asia Pacific States during its term.
The reception featured a brief video presentation, which highlighted key moments in the relationship between Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand, as well as cultural performances performed by Bruneian students currently residing in New Zealand.