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In due course the decision was taken to open Embassies in Beijing and in Moscow.  The case for re-opening in Moscow was based on four main reasons:

(a)    The Soviet Union was now a world power and its views had to be taken into account on any major international question.  One example was the question of nuclear testing:  a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing could not be achieved without the agreement of the Soviet Union.
(b)   The Soviet Union was now taking an active part in Asian affairs, and its actions had a considerable bearing on what happened in an area that was important to New Zealand.  It was clear in retrospect that the Russians played a significant part in bringing about the ceasefire agreement in Vietnam.
(c)    The Soviet Union was beginning to take an interest in the South Pacific area as well.  For some time it had been carrying out extensive oceanographic research there:  more recently its fishing fleets had expanded their operations in the area.  Several Soviet fishing vessels were now working off the New Zealand coasts and their number seemed likely to grow.
(d)   The Soviet Union was becoming a major trading nation and its market offered scope for the expansion of New Zealand’s exports.

It is worth looking in more detail at the rationale advanced in 1972/73 for the restoration of the New Zealand diplomatic presence in Moscow as it remains valid for the work of the Embassy thirty years on.

The first responsibility of the new Moscow Embassy was to keep the New Zealand Government informed of Soviet views and actions on questions that affected New Zealand.  Information about what happened in the Soviet Union, and about its foreign policy in general, was available from other sources.  What could not be obtained from such sources was a constant monitoring of developments that bore, directly or indirectly, on New Zealand’s interests.  What was required of the Embassy was not just reporting but reporting from a New Zealand point of view.


Russia - New Zealand History

Mr. A. Williams, in the Auckland Herald, gives an account of the visit of British warships to Russia last June, among them being the New Zealand. “When I made myself known as a onetime resident of Auckland and Wellington, I was invariably greeted with the remark. Don't I wish I was there now,” which speaks well for the memories the men took away of our country. The New Zealand was visited by the Czar and Czarina and their daughters, probably because Prince George of Battenberg, a nephew of the Empress's is an officer of this ship, and the Imperial visitors expressed much interest in the many trophies presented by the New Zealand towns, and especially in the Maori curios displayed in Captain Halsey’s quarters. The English colony in Petrograd (late St. Petersburg) entertained the Admiral and officers at a dinner and dance, and in return Admiral Beatty and his officers gave a ball on the night of June 27th. The flagship, the Lion, served as a cloak and supper room, and the New Zealand, beautifully, decorated, was turned into a ballroom. The Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna, daughter of the late Duke of Edinburgh was present with her husband, the Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich. On this occasion, a haka, danced by 20 of the crew of the New Zealand was a decided novelty to the Russians, and had to be repeated. There were many inquiries as to Maori customs and as to the meaning of the names “Cook”, “Tasman” and “Ao-te-aroa”, inscribed on the turrets." Poverty Bay Herald, Vol. XLI, Issue 13482, 10 September 1914, Page 5

Stuart Prior, Honorary Consul for Belarus in New Zealand

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