While the past week saw us warmly welcome Matariki – the Māori New Year – it also saw us sadly farewell New Zealand’s most recent British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Laura Clarke OBE, from our shores.

Ms Clarke was instrumental in helping land this first-of-its-kind FTA, which has opened the world’s fifth largest economy to New Zealand, putting us on the platform where we deserve to be with our high value Māori products and services.

Ms Clarke made considerable efforts to travel across the motu during her tenure, meeting with our people kanohi ki te kanohi and speaking te reo Māori. Her willingness to embrace our culture while posted in Aotearoa and in particular to embrace and learn to speak our reo is much appreciated.

Our gift from the Māori people of Aotearoa to her!

Responsible for developing and maintaining England’s relationship with Aotearoa New Zealand, Ms Clarke’s legacy is the inclusion of an indigenous chapter in the recently signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between our two countries – a benchmark for all future free trade agreements between Aotearoa and the rest of the world.

She will be sorely missed on our shores, but we look forward to welcoming the next UK High Commissioner to Aotearoa. We have no doubt we will be able to forge another solid working relationship, that in turn will help deliver greater outcomes for our whānau and communities across the motu.

E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tōu ao

Grow and branch forth for the days of your world.