60-Year Bilateral Relations between Indonesia-New Zealand: The Distance No Longer Becomes a Barrier

November 30, 2017 by : Una

New Zealand and Indonesia have been cooperating for almost 60 years even though the distance between both countries is 7,550 meters away.

In a public lecture on ‘Friends for Good, Strengthening Cooperation between New Zealand and Indonesia’ on Thursday (30/11) at Building of Kasman Singodimedjo of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY), an ambassador of New Zealand HE Dr. Trevor Matheson informed that bilateral relations between New Zealand and Indonesia has been established since 1958 and will be at the age of 60 years in 2018.

“Indonesia and New Zealand are democratic countries so that to maintain the 60-year relations is through relations not only between of both countries bur also among individuals,” declared Dr. Trevor.

According to Dr. Trevor, the diplomatic relations between Indonesia and New Zealand was commenced at the end of 1950s focusing on an educational field that there was training for English teachers under Colombo Plan scaffolding. “New Zealand also provided fund, sent goods and military personnel to manage Tsunami in Aceh and North Sumatera. The country, indeed, participated in Tsunami Management Summit in Januari 2005 in Jakarta,” he mentioned.

Dr. Trevor added, “That Indonesia is the greatest Muslim country and the fourth-largest county in terms of population size is the main priority of cooperation with New Zealand. For more than four decades, Indonesia and New Zealand have cooperated in various fields such as energy, disaster risk management, agriculture and human resource development. Several months ago, Indonesia sent salak (Salacca zalacca) from Gunung Kidul.”

Dr. Trevor, then, stated that New Zealand offers 60 scholarships for Indonesian students. “The number is for all Indonesian citizens, but it is prioritized for people from eastern Indonesia. There are a lot of applicants so that the competiveness is high, and the number increases each year. The scholarship information can be accessed on official websites of the scholarships,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Head of Office of Cooperation Affairs of UMY said that the public lecture was a great occasion for UMY since the speaker was the ambassador of New Zealand. Thus, UMY intended to propose cooperation with New Zealand. “The cooperation will be dealing with a staff and student exchange program, joint research, inviting guest professors from New Zealand, scholarships, and other programs because we belie ve that New Zealand is one of the educational centers in the world,” he asserted.

Eko inserted that the event was one of the effort to embody vision of UMY, to be a leading university through developing the knowledge and technology based on Islamic values to contribute a proper society. “I wish that the public lectures could reinforce mutual cooperation between both parties. I also hope that all cooperation could lead UMY to be an international reputable university,” expected Eko.