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New Zealand and Fiji sign partnership agreement

Tuesday 29 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional


New Zealand and Fiji sign partnership agreement
Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe 'Frank' Bainimarama and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ

New Zealand and Fiji have signed a partnership agreement promising "shared commitment and vision for regional solidarity".

Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe 'Frank' Bainimarama and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta jointly signed the Duavata Partnership: Aotearoa Whenua Manapori o Whiti Tauaki Mahitahi agreement in Suva today.

The agreement states that it "affirms our joint ambition to elevate the relationship to a new level of expanded strategic cooperation in the years to come based on a foundation of shared values and equal partnership and achieved through trust and consultation".

It highlights five principles underlining the countries' relationship, and commits to work together on democracy, economic resilience, security, social wellbeing, climate change and disaster resilience.

Its security provisions include a promise to uphold sovereign authority over land and maritime territories, borders and exclusive economic zones, on problems like maritime security and transnational crime as well as sharing information and training.

It also highlights coordinating a response to future pandemics, achieving gender equality, reducing violence against women, and improving educational, cultural and sporting connections.

In a statement this afternoon, Mahuta said the strengthened statement of partnership reflected the countries' joint ambition and commitment to common goals "such as climate change, security, and sustainable economic recovery from Covid-19".

Bainimarama said it was a landmark achievement in the advancement of Fiji and New Zealand collaborations.

"It illustrates our shared commitment and vision for regional solidarity. New Zealand has been a great partner and friend to Fiji and our partnership is the strongest ever," he said.

"As a unified Pacific family, we take great pride in commemorating this momentous occasion which speaks to our historical links and lasting bonds of friendship that inspires initiatives for the empowerment of ordinary Fijians and create platforms for national and regional prosperity."

Mahuta arrived in Fiji yesterday on a four-day visit, her first to another Pacific nation since taking up her role.

The joint statement said Bainimarama and Mahuta had spoken about climate change, Covid-19 and Pacific regionalism after she was formally welcomed.

The five principles underpinning the agreement:

  • Tātai Hono (The recognition of deep and enduring whakapapa connections)
  • Tātou Tātou (All of us together)
  • Whāia te Taumata Ōhanga (Journey towards a circular economy)
  • Turou Hawaiiki (Navigating together)
  • Arongia ki Rangiātea (Focus towards excellence)