13 Nov 2018

Brexit vote prompts embassy opening in Ireland

1:00 pm on 13 November 2018

The first New Zealand embassy in Ireland has been opened by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters in Dublin overnight.

Winston Peters with honorary consul to Ireland Alan McCarthy and ambassador Brad burgess.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters with Honorary Consul for NZ in Ireland, Alan McCarthy and NZ's first Ambassador to Ireland, Brad Burgess. Photo: New Zealand Embassy in Ireland

The embassy, on Merrion Row in Dublin's city centre, will help shore up existing ties and benefit future trade relationships between Ireland and New Zealand, officials said.

It was opened with a traditional Māori blessing and performance by cultural group Ngāti Rānana.

In his speech at the opening Mr Peters said New Zealand had a great deal at stake in its relations with Europe, and having people on the ground in Ireland made sense following the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.

He said there was considerable untapped potential in trade and economic relations between the Irish Republic and New Zealand.

"Our current links are currently fairly modest, with little more than $400 million in two way goods and services trade annually," he said.

"We can do better. And we will in the years ahead, as New Zealand companies give Ireland a closer look when considering how to manage their European operations in a post-Brexit environment.

Ngati Ranana and Hamish cooper.

Ngāti Rānana with New Zealand diplomat Hamish Cooper. Photo: New Zealand Embassy in Ireland

"In turn, New Zealand provides untapped opportunities for Irish businesses seeking a foothold in the fast-growing economies of Australasia and the Asia Pacific."

Mr Peters said the agricultural sector was an area where the two nations could pool knowledge, expertise and global connections.

"Our close ties and the counter-seasonality of our production cycles make us natural partners,' he said.

While in Dublin Mr Peters also met with the Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, and visited the Irish National Stud and The Curragh to discuss racing industry issues.

Brad Burgess is New Zealand's first resident ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.