New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

A New Zealand Alumnus' story: A Twist of Fate Brings an Indonesian Teenager to New Zealand

Achmad Fadhiel (photo credit: Pupuk Iskandar Muda website).

When Achmad Fadhiel stepped off a plane in Auckland in 1983, the eighteen year old had been preparing to study abroad for years by learning, not English, but German. After his original plan to study in Germany fell through, Fadhiel ended up in New Zealand through a twist of fate. “I had heard of the country, but was planning to apply to the Austrian Embassy. It was closed that day and the New Zealand Embassy was then on the same street Jalan Diponegoro so I decided to go in,” Fadhiel says.

Luckily, he says his host family, classmates and teachers at Northcote College on Auckland’s North Shore were extremely supportive in helping him learn English. Fadhiel followed up his two years of high school in New Zealand with four years studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA) at Victoria University of Wellington. During this time, Fadhiel lived in Weir House, one of VUW’s student hostels where he became a deputy warden responsible for looking out for students from around New Zealand and the world.

Fadhiel says leadership experiences such as this, as well a degree from an overseas university and his command of the English language, have given him an edge in his career in finance and real sector in Indonesia. Since he moved back in 1989 he has worked and held senior management positions in banking, including at ABNAMRO Bank, Citigroup Indonesia, Bank Bumiputera and the World Bank. He is currently the Group Financial Director of state owned fertilizer company Pupuk Indonesia Holding Company and sits on the board of companies in Malaysia and Iran.

Fadhiel and his family still visit New Zealand regularly and last year they made the decision to send their seventeen-year-old son Irfan to study at Auckland Boys’ Grammar. “I tell my son the region is becoming one – New Zealand, Australia, ASEAN and the rest of Asia. New Zealand has huge potential for playing a major role in ASEAN in terms of trade, agriculture technology, geothermal energy, information technology, education and tourism and so it is very important that we learn each other competitiveness to foster a better understanding and good relationship.”

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