New Zealand Consulate-General Noumea, New Caledonia
Minister of Foreign Affairs in French Polynesia
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Murray McCully visited French Polynesia 1-4 December, his first visit to this overseas country of France.
The minister met with the representative of the French state, High Commissioner Lionel Beffre, President Gaston Flosse and members of his cabinet, and President of the Assembly Edouard Fritch.
The visit was an opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties with an important trading partner (New Zealand’s fourth largest in the region) - the last visit by a New Zealand minister was in 2005. New Zealand and French Polynesia historically share close cultural ties and people to people links. Discussions focused on how New Zealand and French Polynesia could collaborate more, particularly to redress the trade imbalance that heavily favours New Zealand, with tourism services offering the best opportunity in the immediate future.
The minister also made a site visit to Moorea, to the pineapple processing factory which imports its sugar from New Zealand for processed products (the pure fruit juice is sweet enough already!) and to a research annex of the University of California at Berkeley that has a close association with Victoria University’s School of Biological Sciences and which hosts many international researchers including from New Zealand. A visit to Tetiaroa was the final stop, to see first-hand the use of renewable energy systems for the luxury eco-tourism development (The Brando) including the SWAC (deep sea water for air conditioning) and the use of other green technologies.