THE FIRST female High Commissioner for the Solomon Islands, Her Excellency Joy Kere, is not intimidated by her position or the tasks that lie ahead.
Mrs Kere hosted her first official Solomon Islands day celebration in Wellington fortnight ago, 18 July 2014.
“The time is right for the Solomon Islands to make its mark in Wellington, the city of culture and arts,” she told a gathering of dignitaries.
She said the establishment of the High Commission in New Zealand in January allows the two countries to strengthen a long standing relationship.
Speaking prior to the event, Mrs Kere said as the first female in the position she recognised that she may come under more scrutiny than her male counterparts.
However, she is up to the challenge.
“If one is appointed on merit, then there is no need to speculate in fear” she said.
Mrs Kere hopes to be a mentor to young women leaders from the Solomon Islands.
She said it is important to empower women, as studies show the level of development of a country, its stability, and security, correlates with where women are placed in society.
“Even if it is at the household level women are empowered,” she said.
Mrs Kere’s mother was her mentor and inspiration growing up.
Despite not attending school herself she encouraged Mrs Kere to get an education, which was not commonplace for women at the time.
Having spent more than 20 years in public service, she said she knows her country’s potential, and will represent it with pride.
“You can see it’s a country that’s so blessed,” she said.
Mrs Kere said there has been a lot of a positive change since she’s been in public service.
The biggest growth areas now are investment, tourism, and labour mobility.
She added strengthening labour mobility between the Solomon Islands and New Zealand is very important.
“There are Solomon Islanders in New Zealand, who through their work and lives, are already making their country proud,” she noted.
With the fisheries sector being one of the Solomon Islands major exports, Mrs Kere is looking forward to working with the new Fisheries Ambassador to the Pacific, Shane Jones, to further improve on this area.
She hopes her time in Wellington raising the profile of the Solomon Islands will increase the number of New Zealand tourists visiting the islands.
By Francesca Jago
Whitireia Media School