Philippine Ambassador calls on New Zealand's Governor General
Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez called on His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor General of New Zealand at the Government House on 01 September 2015. Also present during the call were and Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa of the Embassy.
The Governor General warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez to Government House stating that he is sure that the Ambassador will be greatly missed by the growing Filipino community in New Zealand. He further stated that the Filipinos and Maori share a close kinship not only through culture but by blood as proven by recent scientific studies showing that Maori people migrated from mainland China to Taiwan, the Philippines, the Pacific Islands and eventually New Zealand. Governor General Mateparae expressed the high regard of New Zealanders for the Filipinos in New Zealand.
Ambassador Benavidez said that the Philippines’ and New Zealand’s warm and strong ties are underpinned by its people-based relationships. Citing the fact that Filipino workers are becoming a dominant force and integral part of the long term rebuild of Christchurch and that local authorities, companies, and employers acknowledge and appreciate the valuable contribution of the Filipino workers participating in the city’s rebuild and reconstruction as well as in the dairy, health and other sectors.
Governor General Mateparae emphasized his satisfaction with the current state of Philippines-New Zealand relations saying that Ambassador Benavidez has done a fantastic job in helping the two countries relations grow and thrive in many areas, particularly in ensuring the continuous improvement in the areas of trade and education. He acknowledged that since Ambassador Benavidez’s arrival in New Zealand, the Philippines has lifted its profile and has become more prominent in New Zealand diplomacy and local communities. He cited the Philippines and New Zealand’s partnership and work in the fields of agriculture, renewable energy, forestry, geothermal energy, and dairy as complementary areas for the two countries and that he is sure there will be new fields to be added to these in the future.
The Governor General his personal best wishes to Ambassador Benavidez and her husband, Pio Benavidez. The Ambassador, in turn, conveyed her deepest appreciation and personal thanks to the Governor General and his wife, Lady Janine, for the very warm hospitality, sincere friendship, and reservoir of goodwill extended to her by the Government and People of New Zealand during her memorable, meaningful and momentous diplomatic assignment for the past four years.