December 9, 2023 – The Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman paid his official visit to New Zealand with a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Winston Peters. The ministers agreed that relations between Croatia and New Zealand are very good and friendly, and the main link is the numerous and influential Croatian community. Another important point is the plan for establishing a Croatian Embassy in New Zealand.
As stated in the official press release of the Croatian Minisitry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Croats are the only immigrant people who received the tribal name Tarara due to their connection with the Maori people and the fact that there are more than 100 thousand people of Croatian origin in New Zealand. The ministers discussed the geopolitical consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East, as well as the area of Southeastern Europe. New Zealand’s support for Croatia’s accession to the OECD was also expressed. The ministers also discussed the announcement of Croatia’s inclusion in next year’s negotiation plan on the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
The meeting discussed the topics of strengthening trade exchange, as well as the possibility of encouraging cooperation in the fields of tourism, energy, use of ports, and IT. It was pointed out that the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and New Zealand (FTA) in July 2023 opens up new opportunities for trade and investment, as well as New Zealand’s easier access to the European market. The ministers welcomed the cooperation in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Indo-Pacific, as well as the inclusion of New Zealand in the Horizon Europe program.
Minister Grlić Radman is the first minister of foreign affairs on an official visit to New Zealand, and the first minister on a bilateral visit to his colleague Peters in the newly formed government of New Zealand.
The Minister also met with Trade Minister Todd McClay, with whom he discussed bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Grlić Radman highlighted the promotion of trade exchange, stressing the advantages that both sides can achieve through stronger economic connectivity. Concrete measures that could improve trade relations were discussed.
At the meeting with the president of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, Helen Winkelmann, they discussed cooperation in the field of justice, as well as the significant role of numerous persons of Croatian origin who hold positions in the judiciary of New Zealand.
He also met with parliamentary representatives of Croatian origin – Minister of the Sea, Fisheries, Regional Development and Resources Shane Jones, and MPs Tanya Unkovich and Camilla Belich.
During his stay in Wellington, the minister also met with the Croatian community at the Croatian Club Wellington, which, led by Ester Andrijolić, actively contributes to the preservation of culture, through learning the Croatian language and enriching the Croatian library. On that occasion, the minister announced the opening of the Croatian Embassy in Wellington, which will strengthen the connection between Croatia and New Zealand, where Croats have left an immense mark in all social areas. “I firmly believe that the establishment of the Croatian diplomatic mission in New Zealand not only reflects deep ties and support for the Croatian community but also emphasizes the excellent bilateral relations between our two countries, which share the same values and goals of democracy, freedom, peace, and prosperity,” the minister emphasized.