At the invitation of the New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, German Federal President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a state visit to New Zealand from 5 to 7 November 2017. He was accompanied by his wife, Elke Büdenbender, and a delegation of members of the German Government and Parliament. Several guests with a special interest in New Zealand-German relations were also attending the visit.
A wreath-laying ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington with the presentation of a memorial tapestry gifted by the German Government was followed by an official welcome at Government House. This encompassed full military honours and the two national anthems, a traditional Māori welcome and a haka performed by a group of young students.
Talks with the Governor-General and new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern formed the core of the political dialogue. Later, the 40th anniversary of the highly successful bilateral technical/scientific co-operation was celebrated at the Te Wharewaka Function Centre. A visit to Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and a meeting with young people from both countries reflected on New Zealand’s art heritage and cultural history. In the evening, a state banquet given by Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne rounded off the day and formed a diplomatic highlight.
On Tuesday, a discussion on the topic of “The changing face of New Zealand: Migration, Refugees and Integration” provided a platform for an exchange of ideas between experts, NGO representatives, and members of minorities. The President and the delegation then travelled to Auckland where the programme ended with a business roundtable at the New Zealand-German Chamber of Commerce.
The visit was roundly judged a great success which would enhance the already friendly and close relations between the two countries.