NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE: An Eye, an Ear and a Voice: New Zealand's Changing Place in the World, Proceedings of the 75th Anniversary Conference.

Author:Rolfe, Jim
 
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NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE An Eye, an Ear and a Voice: New Zealand's Changing Place in the World, Proceedings of the 75th Anniversary Conference

Editor: Bryan Lynch

Published by: New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Wellington, 2019, 308pp, $35.

New Zealand has in recent years been well served with analyses of its international relations. This volume, edited by Bryan Lynch, who has developed something of a niche as editor of collected papers, adds to the canon and does it well: albeit differently from its recent predecessors.

Seventy-five years is a notable landmark for any organisation and it is fitting that it is celebrated through a thematic consideration of New Zealand's pathway from international neophyte to, at least, a confident and mature presence on the world stage. (It is, though, curious that the 50th anniversary was celebrated with a book with almost the same title--catchy and relevant though the title is.)

This book, unlike its 50th anniversary predecessor (which primarily involved previous departmental heads discussing their time as chief executive and with additional material on Maori and on the role of women in the diplomatic life), takes contributions from a wide range of past and present politicians, officials and scholars and covers, in 27 substantive contributions, a range of topic areas such as New Zealand's relations with major powers, with the Pacific, with Asia and through trading relations.

There are also contributions on the roles Maori have played within MFAT and in the development of the country's foreign policy, on diversity within the ministry and on the way ahead. All of this is supported by reminiscences from former prime ministers Clark and Bolger and a keynote speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Winston Peters. Additionally, Ian McGibbon has written a conference report, previously published in this journal (vol 45, no 1) and included in the volume, that outlines most of the substantive issues covered by the conference. The volume ends with speeches made at the separate 75th anniversary reunion of MFAT support staff that followed the conference.

McGibbon's conference report almost makes a separate review. For those who want only the broad outline, this is all that needs to be read. McGibbon references the 'ubiquitous mihi' prefacing all contributions other than that from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peters, who is himself, as McGibbon also notes, Maori...

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