New Zealand Embassy Seoul, South Korea


Ralph Hotere, one of New Zealand’s most prominent artists, passed away on 24 February. Born in Mitimiti, Northland in 1931 (Te Aupouri iwi) Hotere spent much of his professional career in Port Chalmers and Dunedin. He was known for his strong style in paintings and sculpture, often working closely with New Zealand’s prominent poets. Hotere was a member of the Order of New Zealand, the country’s highest honour.


Park Geun-hye was today (25 February) inaugurated as the Republic of Korea's eighteenth President, the first woman to hold the role. Ambassador Patrick Rata represented New Zealand at the ceremony. Held on the grounds of the National Assembly, it was attended by Korean and visiting dignitaries, as well as a crowd of over seventy thousand.


On 21 February, the New Zealand Embassy provided the venue for the New Zealand Buttercup Squash Council’s reception to celebrate the beginning of the buttercup squash season and launch of the Council’s Buttercup Squash brand in the Korean market. Mr Don Turner, Chairman, together with Korean market representative, Latitude 45, invited 30 key Korean importers, distributors, retailers, journalists and power bloggers to the event. Ambassador Patrick Rata and Trade Commissioner Ryan Freer attended and delivered welcome speeches.


Former and current National Assembly members Park Jin, Na Kyung-won, Lee Hye-hoon and Kim Se-yeon reminisced about time spent in New Zealand as Prime Minister’s Fellows, during a reunion lunch hosted by Ambassador Rata at the New Zealand Residence on 19 February. The Fellows shared fond memories of their visits, comparing stories of places visited and the wide-ranging connections between the two countries.


Ambassador Patrick Rata has sent the following message to congratulate the New Zealand team on their performance at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Dear Brian

I am writing to congratulate you and the New Zealand team on your wonderful performance at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang.  My Embassy colleagues and I were truly proud of your participation and achievements in Korea.


On 12 February, Ambassador Patrick Rata hosted Executive Vice Chairman Song Jae-Hee of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (Kbiz), for lunch at the Residence.


New Zealand teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko has won a women's European Tour golf event. Just 15 years old, Ko is the youngest golfer to win the event.  She won the US Women's Amateur and the CN Canadian Women's Open last year.

Lydia served as the New Zealand Embassy’s Sports Ambassador for the 2012 Korea-New Zealand Year of Friendship.


Ambassador Patrick Rata and all of the Embassy staff congratulate the New Zealand team on their outstanding participation in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.  


Marching into the opening ceremony of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea on 29 January, the New Zealand team captivated the audience with an impromptu performance of a rugby scrum and haka. The team, led by Brian Benn from Otago, consists of 10 athletes and seven management staff. The New Zealand athletes are competing in snowboarding and alpine skiing. 

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