The past year has been filled with uncertainty and change, and loss of connection, freedom and lives. No doubt all of us, myself included, hoped that 2021 would bring us back to some sense of normalcy. But things rarely go as planned, or as hoped. 2021 has seen us move from one version of lockdown to another, both in Singapore and New Zealand. And with that has come a considerable strain on all of us.
Yet, this year has shown me how resilient we are as communities and countries. I have proudly watched the community in Singapore (and more recently New Zealand) coming together to achieve the vaccination rates we need to protect one another from serious Covid-19 illness. The innovation and creativity I’ve seen – for example in the way that New Zealand has hosted a completely virtual APEC year – has been astounding to witness.
Most heartening of all has been the regular engagement between our two countries continuing despite the pandemic. Ministers and officials at all levels and different ministries have stayed in contact over the year, with the very first minister to travel since the onset of the pandemic, Minister Damien O’Connor, making Singapore his first stop. A key highlight in Minister O’Connor’s stop was his session with the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, where he was able to directly hear the experiences of the NZ whānau here. Indeed, it has been vital for us to understand how we as a High Commission can better support you all as we begin to make our way forward in a Covid-19 endemic world.
No, life is not “back to normal” and it seems like our progress towards reopening may no longer be as ambitious or as quick as we would like it to be. But if the pandemic has taught us anything it is this – even a small step in the right direction is a step worth taking. So let’s keep moving forward with hope, and as a unified team.
Greetings from NZHC
Here’s wishing everyone a Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year), from all of us here at the High Commission. We look forward to coming together in 2022. Please note that the New Zealand High Commission office will be closed for the holiday period between Friday, 24 December and Friday, 31 December. We will re-open on Monday 3 January 2022. New Zealanders needing urgent consular assistance can call +64 99 20 20 20.
Meet The Team
Say hi to staff on the ground in Singapore.
Hannah Adams, Second Secretary, New Zealand High Commission
Kia ora whānau! Hailing from the great metropolis of Lower Hutt in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, my husband Shane and I only arrived in Singapore in mid-August, narrowly missing New Zealand’s latest lockdown, and slipping into the city-state without quarantine. Since then, as part of the New Zealand High Commission team I’ve been focusing on the trade side of the shop. Life here so far has been spent adapting to wearing masks in the heat, getting lost in shopping malls, and enjoying hawker meals. Our fur baby Charlie recently joined us, so we’re exploring nature walks and dog runs. I hope to meet many of you soon. Until then, Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū La (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year).
Ben Burrowes, Education New Zealand Regional Director (Asia)
It’s strange to think that 2021 is almost at an end; I’m sure I’m not alone in reflecting on a year that’s now a haze of Zoom calls and best-laid plans which never quite eventuated. Having not flown since last March, I have spent more time than ever before with my family here in Singapore. I first arrived here in 2008 and have worked with Education New Zealand for the past five years. Our government agency is responsible for promoting international education – something that’s certainly proved challenging lately and caused us to be much more innovative! If there’s one silver lining, it’s that we’ve been able to connect New Zealand students and our institutions with the world in ways we never could before. I hope you can all enjoy a break over the festive period. Āwhinatia ētahi atu. Kia atawhai. Help others, Be kind.
New Zealand High Commission Singapore
One George Street, Level 21-04, Singapore 049145
Tel 6235 9966, Fax 6536 8180