New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

West Java Province links

NZ Ambassador at the inauguration of the Malabar Primary School 3 in West Java

Ambassador David Taylor visited Bandung on 2 May for discussions with the West Java government and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and then travelled to Malabar in Pangalengan sub-district for the inauguration of a primary school, built in part with New Zealand government assistance.

Geothermal cooperation formed a key part of discussions with both Vice Governor Dede Yusuf and with ITB Rector Dr Akhmaloka. West Java has substantial geothermal assets and potential and New Zealand institutions, principally the University of Auckland and Geological and Nuclear Sciences, have collaborated with ITB, one of Indonesia's leading universities and one of the top two engaged in geothermal work. There was ready recognition of New Zealand's expertise and capabilities. Both the Vice Governor and ITB contacts welcomed New Zealand efforts to provide new geothermal scholarships and to work with Indonesia to build its geothermal capacity, particularly through the aid programme.

Vice Governor Yusuf also focused on air connections between the two countries, noting the potential for trade and tourism with improved connections. He urged New Zealand businesses to look carefully at developing new links in West Java, with Bandung (city of around 4 million people) being a hub for textile manufacturing and creative arts. New Zealand was invited to participate in the West Java International Expo in October 2011. There was also strong interest in the potential of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement to improve business connections between Indonesia and New Zealand. The Vice Governor suggested that the province and the Embassy consider developing a memorandum of understanding covering existing and potential cooperation.

In addition to its geothermal cooperation with New Zealand, ITB is home to a number of alumni from New Zealand universities. Rector Dr Akhmaloka was interested in exploring the potential for closer links with New Zealand universities, beginning with staff and student exchanges and hopefully leading to more formal cooperation, including twinning degree courses.

The Malabar 3 Primary School was badly damaged by an earthquake several years ago. With support from the Head of Mission Fund under New Zealand's aid programme with Indonesia (NZ$25,000) and funds raised by several other groups, new classrooms have been built. The school has been dedicated as "The Tim Mackay Memorial Malabar Primary School No. 3" to recognise New Zealander Tim Mackay who was killed during the 2009 terrorist bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. Others supporting the project included Holcim cement, the company Mr Mackay worked for before his death and now run by another New Zealander Eamon Ginley; Propcon Golf Club, which Mr Mackay used to belong to; a non-profit organisation, Yayasan Sinar Eka Bakti Bangau Putih; and the Bandung District Education Service.

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