Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
10 March 2020
Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) welcome the appointment of former MFAI staffer and Cook Islander Teremoana Mato as the Pacific Islands Forum Trade Commissioner to China.
The announcement, made by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor earlier today is not a surprising one for MFAI, given the wealth of experience and expertise in Pacific regional trade and investment Mona, as he is more commonly known in the Cook Islands, brings to the Trade Commissioner role.
“This appointment is credit to Mona’s work in the trade and investment sphere both in the Cook Islands and across the wider Pacific and we extend our warmest congratulations to him,” said MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann. “It also speaks to the proven ability of Cook Islanders to secure such prominent regional positions when a meritocracy approach to public service progression is adhered to.”
In addition to his three-year tenure as Trade Policy Officer with MFAI, Mona is a former Trade and Marketing Manager with the former Cook Islands Development Investment Board (now Business Trade and Investment Board (BTIB) and former Manager of the Cook Islands Small Business Enterprise Centre. At the regional level, he’s worked in trade and investment promotions roles in both the Auckland PIFS Trade Office as well as the Sydney PIFS Trade Office and serving most recently as Acting Head of Mission to the China PIFS Trade Office since the first quarter of 2019.
Mato’s responsibilities as Trade Commissioner at the Beijing-based office will include providing support to Pacific Forum Island (PIF) Countries, including the Cook Islands, in facilitating trade, investment and tourism opportunities between PIF member countries and China.
Mona is the second Cook Islander to assume the Trade Commissioner post in Beijing – the first being Rohan Ellis, who was appointed on the opening of the Beijing Office and served as Commissioner from 2000-2008.
“China is an important partner of the Cook Islands and we have niche areas of trade, investment and tourism interests as relate to China,” said Secretary Herrmann. “Whilst most of our government relations with China are managed directly from Rarotonga via MFAI headquarters and Wellington through our High Commission, we will continue to call on the PT & I Beijing office where we need supplementary assistance, including for market access for a handful of Cook Islands export products into China.” A number of other domestic entities are engaged with the PT & I Beijing office including BTIB, Ministry of Marine Resources, Cook Islands Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce, amongst others.
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Photos from January 2019 ceremony at Government House honouring appointments of High Commissioner to New Zealand Elizabeth Wright Koteka and Mona Mato as Deputy Trade Commissioner to PT & I Beijing Office:
Top: Mona with family, sister Shona Lynch at left and niece Manine Lynch at right.
Bottom: Mona with staff of MFAI – L-R; Piakura Passfield, now First Secretary Cook Islands High Commission in Wellington; Josh Mitchell, UN, Treaties and Oceans Division Director; Mona Mato; Nga Kamana, Corporate Services Division Director; MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann; High Commissioner to New Zealand Elizabeth Wright Koteka; Karopaerangi Ngatoko, now International Division Director; Davina Toleafoa, Office Co-ordinator and Tukaka Ama, Chief of Protocol