Greetings to all of you in Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Ruapehu district! I am HAMADA Shinichi, the new Consul-General of Japan in Auckland. I arrived at Auckland airport on 28 June and, after completing 2 weeks of isolation, took office at the Consulate-General of Japan on 13 July.
As the coronavirus sweeps across the world without showing any sign of slowing, New Zealand has been one of the first countries in the world to succeed in containing the spread of the virus. It was indeed the well-deserved result of the population and the government coming together as one to endure strict border restrictions and lockdown and I admire the great effort from everyone to get to this position.
Some 36 years have flown by since I first came to New Zealand as a foreign service trainee for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January, 1984. I am amazed at how close the ties between our countries have become since then. The number of sister city relationships has increased by more than 7 times to 44 cities. The free trade agreement, which at one time was thought to be impossible to arrange with such a major agricultural country as New Zealand, has been realized through CPTPP, and our economic ties are increasing further. Youth exchange has been clearly contributing to increasing mutual understanding between our countries, including through the working holiday programme and JET programme. Japanese residents in the jurisdiction of the Consulate-General of Japan have reached over 11,000 (an increase of more than 20 times!). I understand that every year in Auckland, Japan Day is organized by the Japanese Society of Auckland offering a wonderful platform for cultural exchange which brings together not only local people but also those from many differing backgrounds such as international students from various countries.
Due to the coronavirus, it seems that a little more time is needed before exchange between Japan and New Zealand can fully return to normal. During that time, however, the Consulate-General of Japan in Auckland will keep on working to improve its services to secure the safety of Japanese residents, to support the business of Japanese companies and to provide information to those interested in Japanese culture, language and history. For this, your frank opinions and advice are very important and most welcome.
I highly appreciate your continued understanding and cooperation for the activities of the Consulate-General of Japan in Auckland.
Consul-General of Japan in Auckland