Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador calls on the Mayor of Dunedin, New Zealand

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In line with the Philippine Embassy’s continuing efforts to promote closer ties with New Zealand’s local governments to broaden linkages for trade, tourism, investment, business, people-to-people exchange and for greater access and discussions on Filipinos’ welfare and well-being, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, accompanied by Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, made an official and business call on His Worship Mayor Dave Cull at the Dunedin City Council in Dunedin, New Zealand on 13 February 2015. The meeting was made during the simultaneous delivery of the Embassy’s mobile consular services for the benefit of Filipinos in Dunedin and surrounding areas in the South Island in New Zealand on 12-16 February 2015.

Mayor Cull warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and said that he was pleased to know that the Philippine Embassy is once again holding its mobile consular services in Dunedin. Ambassador Benavidez stated that the mobile consular services, the second in Dunedin since 2012, is called “The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand: Serving with a Smile, Going the Extra Mile and Reaching Beyond Our Grasp,” and that it is serving hundreds of Filipinos in the area and other parts of the South Island on 12-16 February 2015. She also informed the Mayor that New Zealand has significant and growing, people-to-people links with the Philippines, and told him that the Filipino population has increased significantly in New Zealand totalling 40,350 with 1,089 living in the Otago Region.

Mayor Cull stated that in his second term as Mayor of Dunedin his focus is on strengthening the community and the economic capacity of the city. He spoke on the significance of Asia and ASEAN to Dunedin particularly since the city is going all out as a bustling business hub, knowledge and education centre and tourism destination showcasing Maori guide, trail and heritage in the lower South Island. He also said that he places great importance on presenting Dunedin’s cultural face to the world that primarily will be Maori, Pacifika, and Asian in the future.

The Ambassador shared with Mayor Cull the opportunities for business cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand in the areas of dairy, ICT/BPO software and education (technical and vocational). The Philippines is looking to New Zealand for assistance in developing its dairy industry and geothermal energy given New Zealand’s globally renowned and recognized expertise in these niche areas of cooperation.

Ambassador Benavidez thanked Mayor Cull for the productive meeting and looked forward to further enhancing relations with Dunedin and strengthening people-to-people ties in line with the Mayor’s vision of a thriving and vibrant multi-ethnic community of the city.

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