New Zealand kicked off its APEC host year today, with a pōwhiri taking place on Wellington’s waterfront with local iwi Te Atiawa, and a number of Government ministers welcoming representatives from the other 20 APEC economies.
“APEC is a hugely important international event, and New Zealand is hosting amidst the challenge of global disruption and pandemic,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
“The pōwhiri is a unique opportunity to honour and welcome the international delegates who together represent a region of nearly 3 billion people across Asia-Pacific. It is also important to increase the visibility and importance of partnership including with mana whenua, Te Atiawa iwi, as kaitiaki of this region.”
APEC 2021 will be one of the largest ongoing virtual events in the world, with more than 300 meetings conducted across New Zealand. The pōwhiri is one of the few physical events of New Zealand’s APEC virtual host year. The first virtual APEC 2021 meeting, the Informal Senior Officials Meeting will be held on 9 December.
“In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, maintaining contact, collaboration, and cooperation with our regional partners continues to be a key priority for New Zealand,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“Hosting APEC 2021 will provide an opportunity for New Zealand to work with our fellow economies on a number of significant issues, including strengthening the region’s response and recovery to COVID19, keeping trade flowing, and building a more sustainable future in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We will also advocate for indigenous inclusion to be an ongoing and enduring policy priority within APEC. We must also ensure that APEC remains focused on enabling trade and economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable: we know that women, SMEs, indigenous populations and youth have been disproportionately impacted economically by the pandemic,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“This is an opportunity for New Zealand to lead on the world stage, playing a role in shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific region,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Notes to editors: APEC was established in 1989. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. The new Putrajaya Vision 2040 agreed by Leaders last month aspires to “an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations” based on three drivers of growth: Trade and Investment; Innovation and Digitalisation; and Strong, Balanced, Secure, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. APEC brings together Leaders, Ministers and officials from around the Asia-Pacific region for a series of meetings and events between December and November each year. The first APEC meeting hosted by New Zealand will be the Informal Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM) between 9 and 11 December 2020, followed by a first formal gathering of officials in February 2021.