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Politics   

2006 has been an important year with the political relations between Italy, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. 
 
The visit to New Zealand of the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Franco Danieli – from the 3rd to the 6th of November 2006 – represented one the most important political events. During the official meeting with the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Winston Peters, the Deputy Minister Danieli underlined the common vision expressed frequently by both Countries on many issues and the mutual benefits coming from the many common projects. Deputy Minister Danieli also cited the Agreement signed in April between the Minister of Environment of Italy and the Department of Conservation of New Zealand.   

Significant has also been the third visit to Italy of the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark (after those of 2001 and 2004). On November 16th, Helen Clark met in Rome the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and the Italian Minister of for European Affairs Emma Bonino. Both with President Prodi and Minister Bonino all main aspects of the bilateral relations were discussed, together with the major international issues and today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. In a very friendly tone, the good relations between the two people and the many common goals were confirmed. Both parties expressed the desire for a strengthening of the bilateral relations, specifically in the realm of trade and economics, foreign direct investments, exchanges of students and researches, and more generally in S&T.  

Italy continues pursuing a significant activity in the Pacific thanks to the financing of the FAORegional Program for Food Security”. From the initial sum of 4.5 mil. US$, the Mid-Term Review held in Tonga in May, the Italian contribution will be 6.5 mil. US$. Within the same Program, the Italian Government financed with 50.000 US$ the “IX Roundtable Meeting for Pacific Island Countries on WTO and Regional Trade Agreements Provisions”, held in Wellington from 3rd to 7th July 2006. Italy also financed a project in Tuvalu on the water security for the value of 128.150 US$ to be executed by the UNDESA.  

On May 30th 2006 the Ambassador of Italy Liana Marolla held a Reception for the Italy’s National Day. There were members of the Diplomatic Corps with representatives of New Zealand’s political, economic and cultural institutions together with the Italian community. In that occasion, the Ambassador of Italy awarded various honours to people who gave a precious support to the Italian language, culture and economy. Official-Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (OMRI) Cavaliere Mario Michele Magaraggia; Cavaliere-Star of Italian Solidarity (OSSI) Gaetanina Cuccurullo; Cavaliere- Star of Italian Solidarity (OSSI) Sandra Fresia; Cavaliere-Italian Star of Solidarity (OSSI) Elizabeth Mary Peek, President of the Circolo Italiano.


Economic Relations

Substantial steps have been made to increase the commercial exchanges between Italy and New Zealand.

In May 2006 in Auckland, at the presence of the Prime Minister Helen Clark and of the Italian Ambassador Liana Marolla, a factory of the GlobalCap New Zealand was officially opened. GlobalCap New Zealand Ltd. is a joint venture between Guale Closures (Italian brand leader in the production of plugs for bottles) and Carter Family, a New Zealander brand.  

On October 10th 2006 a Cooperation Agreement between the Parco Tecnologico Padano for Italy and Innovation Waikato Park research center, Ag Research, University of Waikato and Wintec for New Zealand was signed. The Agreement is aimed at strengthening technology, knowledge and business opportunities.  


Culture  

Italians and New Zealanders have a real interest in understanding mutual traditions, culture and habits. The Embassy of Italy to New Zealand works actively to facilitate this process.   

The biggest event of the year has been the show of Aterballetto that took place in Wellington between 15th and 24th of March. Aterballetto is a famous modern dance company directed by Mauro Bigonzetti. The show reached a huge success as one of the main events of the International Arts Festival.

The same month, the Italian classical pianist Massimo Nosetti performed during the Festival Organistico Internazionale, held in Christchurch, Town Hall. Another important event was the Italian Wine and Food Lectures “Giornata della Cultura Italiana 2006”, symposium organized in Wellington at Te Papa National Museum. This symposium celebrated the first delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina in New Zealand. The Ceremony itself was opened at the presence of the President of the Academy, Prof. Giuseppe Dell’Osso.  

October saw the opening of the yearly Cathay Pacific Italian Film Festival, proudly sponsored by the Italian Embassy to New Zealand. Like in the previous years, the Italian Film Festival was a great success.  

Last but not least, at the end of October the 6th Edition of the Italian Language Week in the World took place, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Italian Accademia della Crusca. In 2006, the event has been dedicated to the relations between food and traditional celebrations in Italy.

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