Australian High Commission
New Zealand

Deputy High Commissioner: Address to Global Victoria Aboriginal Trade Mission

Address to Global Victoria Aboriginal Trade Mission

Ms Amy Guihot, Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission to New Zealand

22 Feb 2023


Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa - greetings to you all.

It is lovely to be here with you this evening.

I extend my respect to mana whenua as the traditional Māori custodians of this land and to all Indigenous guests here with us today.

Thanks to our hosts tonight from Global Victoria and Aboriginal Economic Development for all the hard work they have put in to organising this visit, and to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise for their support. 

I would also like to acknowledge colleagues from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum and Austrade.

It’s great to see such an exciting range of Indigenous businesses represented across a variety of sectors – from arts and crafts and food, through to social investment initiatives.

The close friendship between Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand is a part of our respective national identities. We are bound by a common history, community and culture that we share as members of the Pacific family. 

Sport and pavlova aside, it’s hard to imagine a closer relationship between two countries.

This year we celebrate a milestone of 80 years since we opened diplomatic missions in each other’s country. 

It is the 50th anniversary of the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement, which allowed free movement of citizens between our two countries.   

We also mark the 40th anniversary of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement – or CER for short.

Believed to be the first standalone bilateral arrangement of its kind in the world, the CER and the seamless, single economic market it has created forms the backbone of our bilateral relationship.

The close relationship between our countries is strengthened by our governments’ recognition of the unique role of Indigenous peoples in the identity of both our countries, their rich cultures and languages, as well as their ancestral, spiritual and continuing connections to the land and sea.

In line with this recognition, the Governments of Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand established an Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement.

Signed by the Minister for Māori Development and the Minister for Indigenous Australians in 2020, the Arrangement promotes working relationships across a broad range of Indigenous issues.

Topics of discussion under the Arrangement workplan for this year include Indigenous housing, data sovereignty and procurement.

The New Zealand Māori Development Agency, Te Puni Kōkiri and the National Indigenous Australians Agency, are also leading on efforts to deliver a refreshed Arrangement, to be signed later this year.

We are committed to working with New Zealand and other APEC economies under the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA).

This first of its kind, open plurilateral Cooperation Arrangement will promote greater Indigenous trade and economic linkages.

The Cooperation Arrangement reaffirms our countries’ commitments to important international instruments, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Under Prime Minister Albanese, the Australian Government is increasing efforts to ensure that Indigenous Australians can participate more effectively in key trade policy discussions and negotiations.

It is committed to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, which calls for ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’

As part of its commitment to implement the Uluru Statement, the government has announced a Referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. 

And building on this commitment, the government is developing a First Nations Foreign Policy, to reflect Indigenous voices in our national identity.

As an early, practical step to demonstrate its commitment, Australia will soon appoint a First Nations Ambassador.

As the Australian Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney has noted, supporting Indigenous people to engage internationally is vital for them to be heard and recognised.

The Australian High Commission is pleased to contribute to this goal.

This event today is a great opportunity for Australian Indigenous businesses to meet with Māori and Pacific business and business representatives.

There is much to share on culture, commerce and connection.

It is my sincere hope this trade delegation visit will lead to fruitful business opportunities, collaboration and mentoring.

But perhaps even more importantly, I hope it will lead to strengthened Indigenous-to-Indigenous networks and a sense of excitement about what’s possible.

There is a Māori proverb – he waka eka noa – meaning we’re all in this together.

So, I’ll let you get back to those important conversations and making connections that will extend far beyond this trip.

We look forward to supporting your efforts and applauding your achievements.

Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa.