Kia ora Aotearoa!

By U.S. Ambassador, Mark Gilbert.

Yesterday was a memorable and proud day for me and my family as I officially began my Ambassadorship to New Zealand. We arrived at Government House in the late morning and were graced with a traditional Maori pōwhiri welcome and the Royal New Zealand Air Force Guard of Honour salute. Following this generous welcome, I presented the Letter of Credence from President Barack Obama to the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Right Honorable Sir Jerry Mateparae, accrediting me as the United States Ambassador to New Zealand.

With the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Right Honorable Sir Jerry Mateparae. Photo credit: Government House photographer.
With the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Right Honorable Sir Jerry Mateparae. Photo credit: Government House photographer.

As I said to the Governor-General, I am grateful for the deep and broad cooperation between our esteemed nations. We are bound by the shared values of democracy, rule of law, and economic opportunity. It was an honor to have lunch afterwards with the Governor-General and Lady Mateparae. From beginning to end, the experience seemed to capture the spirit of New Zealand in its respect for its diverse heritage and warm and welcoming spirit. To cap off an unforgettable day, my wife Nancy and I welcomed many of the Mission’s friends and partners to our first reception at our home.

I am humbled and honored to have this extraordinary opportunity to serve my country in New Zealand. I look forward to getting to know more Kiwis, and deepening our close relationship.

Finally, I’d love to hear from you so please comment below or follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

A hongi during the pōwhiri.
A hongi during the pōwhiri.
The traditional Maori pōwhiri.
The traditional Maori pōwhiri.
A hongi during the pōwhiri.
A hongi during the pōwhiri.
The traditional Maori pōwhiri.
The traditional Maori pōwhiri.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force Guard of Honour salute during the credentialing ceremony. The 25 Man Guard of Honour was supplied by RNZAF Base Ohakea, with FGOFF Edward DRANE as the Guard Commander.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force Guard of Honour salute during the credentialing ceremony. The 25 Man Guard of Honour was supplied by RNZAF Base Ohakea, with the Guard Commander.
I was invited to review the Guard Commander.
I was invited to review the Guard Honour.
Speaking at the post-credentialing reception at Camperdown.
Speaking at the post-credentialing reception at Camperdown.

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