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What's been happening?
The latest out of Mission New Zealand
July 14, 2022


Over the last two weeks Mission New Zealand (aka U.S. Embassy Wellington and U.S. Consulate Auckland) has been busy with a variety of engagements! Below is a sample of what we have been up to.

Ambassador Udall met with Kiwi attendees of the SelectUSA Summit in DC, and back home visited the Māoriland film festival and met Glen Webber – Acting Chief Executive of Te Arawhiti / The Office of Māori-Crown Relations. The Auckland Consulate organized a tree planting morning, and the Wellington Embassy supported an intensive 5-week production workshop where student creators pitched their documentary ideas to U.S. Producers. The Wellington Embassy and Auckland Consulate also celebrated Independence Day events, and we supported a Bluegrass band, T-Bone, who played in front of 400 school children.  Next, the Wellington Embassy organized a “Day in the Life in the NASA SOFIA” program for two young women championing women in STEM in New Zealand.

Phew…scroll down to read more about the past two weeks with the Mission and stay tuned to this blog series to learn more about US connecting with Kiwis.

Ambassador meets Kiwi Select USA Summit attendees

Recently Ambassador Udall met with a few of the Kiwi SelectUSA Summit attendees in Washington DC. The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event in the United States dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI.) This year’s Investment Summit returned in its familiar format to provide exciting opportunities for more investors from more markets and greater representation from economic developers (EDO) across the nation to engage and interact – the Investment Summit will be the most highly anticipated and productive FDI event you attend all year.

Find out more about Select USA here.

Consulate staff and Youth Council plant trees

Between 6000-8000 trees are planted annually at the Mangemangeroa Reserve in Auckland, and on Friday July 1st, the U.S. NZ Youth Council, Consul General Nelson, and Consulate staff contributed to this tally! Everyone had the opportunity to take part in this grassroots, hands-on, environmental work. With everyone working together, we were able to accomplish a great thing. Mā whero, mā pango, ka oti te mahi.

Learn more about reserve tree-planting and how you can help at https://mangemangeroa.org.nz/.

Ambassador attends the Māoriland Film Festival

Karanga mai, Ngāti Raukawa! On a recent Sunday, Ambassador Udall attended the Māoriland Film Festival in Otaki. The Māoriland Film Festival celebrates the works of indigenous creators across the world.

Māoriland Film Festival started in 2014 to celebrate Indigenous voices and storytelling in film and to uplift the perspectives and stories of Indigenous peoples. It is held in the Kāpiti Coast community of Ōtaki. Over the past six years, the festival has grown to be the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the Southern Hemisphere, with a year-round programme of events that include; industry focussed events, emerging technology (VR/AR/XR), lecture series – NATIVE Minds, sound and stage performances, a full visual arts programme – Toi Matarau and more.

We love supporting Native American and Māori connections!

Ambassador Udall meets with Glen Webber

The Ambassador met with Glen Webber the Acting Chief Executive of Te Arawhiti / The Office of Māori-Crown Relations. The two discussed the Crown’s role with respect to the Treaty of Waitangi and the ongoing reconciliation process.  The Ambassador shared his knowledge of working with Native Americans as a public servant in New Mexico.  The two leaders look forward to working with each other to continue to further U.S.-New Zealand relations, including highlighting the importance that indigenous communities and cultures bring to the relationship.

Embassy supports Unscripted: Screen Accelerator Project

On Wednesday July 6th the Embassy was proud support up-and-coming and seasoned talent who have been participating in an intensive five-week Wellington Creative Program at Lane Street Studios led by Emmy-winning U.S. producer Jon Kroll. At the end of the program called Unscripted: Screen Accelerator Project, each participant had the chance to pitch their projects  to active U.S. television production companies who are looking for new and exciting content.

Good luck to everyone! We are looking forward to what they all create. 

Independence Day Celebrations

We celebrated Independence Day across the country!

On Thursday last week, the Wellington Embassy held their Fourth of July ceremony, celebrating the United States’ 246th birthday. Ambassador Udall gave a speech commemorating the longstanding friendship between the United States and New Zealand. In fact, this year marks the 80th anniversary of the arrival of American Marines on the shores of New Zealand during World War II. Photos from the night can be found here.

On Wednesday July 12th, the Auckland Consulate held a lovely Independence Day celebration hosted by Consul General Sarah Nelson. Auckland Mayor Goff and MFAT’s Ardi Barnard gave wonderful remarks and toasts! It was an excellent night to celebrate the partnership between the United States and New Zealand. Photos from the night can be found here.

Mission New Zealand was proud to support Americana band T-Bone who entertained and educated 8 Northland Schools at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri on July 4th.  A full-house of 400 local students gained insight into U.S. folk and bluegrass music while enjoying an enthusiastic and interactive performance.
From NZ Herald…Thanks to support from the U.S. Embassy, the Turner Centre and T-Bone teamed up to offer a free show to low-decile schools in Te Tai Tokerau on July 4. With funding from the US Embassy New Zealand, the costs of transport to and from the event were covered. Turner Centre general manager and T-Bone band member Gerry Paul said it was “fantastic that the American Embassy has come on board”.

Day in the Life of NASA SOFIA

In Christchurch, we invited two young female Kiwi science leaders, Sophie and Rose, to participate in a “Day in the Life of NASA SOFIA” program to help promote more women in the space fields. The SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is an Infrared telescope installed into the back of a modified 747 jet plane. The program, split over 2 days, involved media interviews, meeting the crew, touring the plane, & sitting-in on a Mission briefing. For Rose the program even included flying on a mission with the SOFIA team overnight.

It was the SOFIA team’s last mission to Aotearoa, thanks for your time over the New Zealand skies dedicated to science!