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State Welcome for the President of the Republic of Indonesia

Issue date: 
Monday, 19 March 2018
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, CVO, QSO

E nga waka, E nga mana, Tena koutou katoa  

Yang Mulia,  

selamat siang dan selamat datang ker Selandia Baru  

Your Excellency, a very warm welcome to New Zealand. 

My husband David and I are honoured to host you, Ibu Iriana, and your delegation here today at Government House to celebrate the long-standing friendship between New Zealand and the Republic of Indonesia. 

Indonesia is one of New Zealand’s oldest and closest partners in South East Asia.  New Zealand was one of the first countries to establish formal relations with Indonesia after Merdeka. 

This year we celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations under the apt theme of “Friends for Good”.  But our close ties go back even longer. 

New Zealand and Indonesia share a number of common attributes: we are both island states with agricultural and maritime cultures, co-located on the Asia-Pacific ‘ring of fire’.   

We share similar natural hazard profiles, disaster-risk management challenges and renewable-energy assets, including geothermal.   

And importantly, we are both democracies – in the case of Indonesia – the third largest in the world.  

In Indonesia’s last Presidential election in 2014, nearly four out of five eligible voters cast a ballot – an impressive achievement in such a large and geographically dispersed country. 

Indigenous links provide a special richness to our relationship.  There are points of commonality including language, arts and culture between Māori and the indigenous people of Indonesia, with Māori ancestors having travelled through Eastern Indonesia and Papua around 3,000 years ago on their way to the South Pacific. 

In 1642 a young explorer named Abel Tasman, who was working for the Dutch East Indies Company, sailed from old Batavia town, which is now better known as Jakarta – to become the first European to sail into New Zealand waters.   

In the modern era it was the Colombo Plan that brought us closer together.  Indonesia joined the Colombo Plan in 1953, which in turn ultimately led to the establishment of our formal diplomatic relations in 1958.   

I warmly acknowledge the support that Colombo Plan alumni have given to our bilateral relationship. 

Several hundred Indonesian students studied in New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s, and a similar number of New Zealanders, notably teachers and development experts, helped to support Indonesia’s geothermal development and to build more resilient communities.   


Today, the New Zealand Aid programme in Indonesia is our largest outside the Pacific.  We are supporting Indonesia’s national development goals, including Your Excellency’s geothermal expansion and renewable energy priorities, improving agriculture capabilities, and natural disaster preparedness.  Our aid is focused on the least developed provinces of Eastern Indonesia. 

Around 1,200 Indonesian students currently study in New Zealand. We have stepped up funding for short-term training courses and English-language training opportunities, and each year we welcome 60 Indonesian recipients of the New Zealand-ASEAN Scholars awards. Many of these students return to Indonesia to assume leadership roles in business, government and academia.  Both our countries are enriched from their experiences. 

Our people-to-people ties continue to grow strongly. Over 50,000 New Zealanders travelled to Indonesia last year and almost 24,000 Indonesians visited New Zealand.  These numbers will continue to grow as air connectivity improves.   Over 5,000 Indonesians now call New Zealand home. 

Our trading relationship is strong and is full of opportunity.  New Zealand had a total two-way goods trade with Indonesia last year of NZ$1.76 billion, and Indonesia is our second largest trading partner within the ASEAN countries. 

Our Trade is complementary and there is a great deal of potential – both countries stand to gain from free and open markets promoting the prosperity of both our nations.   There is scope to build further cooperation in Education, health, transport, and the biotechnology and agri-technology sectors. 

We are expanding cooperation on climate change and the environment.  We also enjoy a constructive and evolving defence and security relationship, including in counter-terrorism, illegal migration, policing and maritime security.  

The strength of our relationship extends further to regional and international cooperation.  New Zealand is one of ASEAN’s oldest dialogue partners, and I wish to underline our  appreciation of Indonesia’s support as our “country coordinator” in ASEAN. 

Your Excellency, today is a perfect opportunity for us to reaffirm the importance New Zealand attaches to our relationship with Indonesia, and to play a part in deepening the relationship as we look towards the future.   

I am delighted that later today you will be jointly announcing with our Prime Minister, an elevation in the bilateral relationship to that of a Comprehensive Partnership.  Our two countries have already enjoyed over 60 years of friendship, and I look forward to seeing our strong friendship and comprehensive partnership flourish in the years to come. 

Your Excellency, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen of New Zealand, and the Government and people of this country, I extend a warm welcome to you. 

Last updated: 
Monday, 19 March 2018

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