Excitement is mounting in the Beehive. Foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta is contemplating her first overseas visit.
Not, we might think, to Australia or the Pacific Islands. No, this is further afield, to Dubai, no less, for Expo 2020 in November.
Not much chance to hold bilateral chats with other foreign ministers there but a chance to display substantial Maori content at the New Zealand Pavilion.
The minister is quoted in an enthusiastic release from trade officials:
“For many Indigenous & Tribal peoples, including Māori, our beliefs are grounded in whakapapa (or genealogical connections) that establish relationships between people, the environment and the spiritual world. In the wake of the global pandemic these beliefs and values can help shape the world’s much needed commitment toward empathy, sustainability, and intergenerational solutions for wellbeing,” she said.
“Relationships are the cornerstone of Aotearoa New Zealand’s international connections. It is timely that Te Aratini will create a movement toward enhancing global relationships and exploring how to more proactively empower the resurgence and regeneration of Indigenous economies. Globally we can collectively build back better, fairer, more inclusively and more indigenously.”
Te Aratini? What’s that?
The answer has been posted here:
Te Aratini is a Festival of Indigenous & Tribal Ideas.
It is inspired by the untapped potential that Indigenous & Tribal Peoples offer toward a world that embraces shared, sustainable and radically inclusive prosperity.
Trade and Enterprise officials say New Zealand’s values-led approach to foreign affairs aims to ignite connections between Indigenous and tribal peoples globally through the delivery of Te Aratini during Tolerance and Inclusivity Week at Expo 2020 Dubai from 17-19 November.
Expo 2020 Dubai is running behind time, of course, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new dates are 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022
It will be staged in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, a place which – like this country – is home to more than 200 nationalities.
This shared diversity and respect for different cultures provides the ideal platform for Te Aratini to showcase the value of indigenous and tribal cultures, the press statement says.
Te Aratini will mark a culturally significant moment in the history of World Expos with New Zealand leading the collaboration of Expo-participating countries to showcase the untapped potential which indigenous and tribal peoples offer to solving global issues.
It’s probably too late to sort out the Afghanistan issue, but there’s plenty of others to tackle.
New Zealand is calling for international participants to join Te Aratini and be a part of the movement toward greater inclusion and acceptance of indigenous and tribal peoples’ knowledge and know-how, the website says.
Point of Order congratulates the Minister, for taking her first plunge offshore after a year in office.
Her next international exposure is likely to be at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, where she would deliver the annual New Zealand address, but this will be a video event from the safety of NZ.
PM Ardern is unlikely to attend, given her focus on a forthcoming European trip where (all things going well) she might get to sign the new NZ-UK free trade agreement.