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The building chosen by UPDK, located at 44 Ulitsa Povarskaya (renamed from Vorovskovo) had served as the Swedish Mission, then Swedish Residence and Embassy from 1924 until 1972.  Designed by Lev Kekushev, the building, known as the Mindovksy Mansion after its first owner, the merchant I. A. Mindovksy, a rich textile manufacturer from the Upper Volga, is today regarded as one of the most important examples of the Moscow Moderne style.

Even before the first New Zealand Ambassador, Mr Brian Lendrum, had arrived, the Minister of Overseas Trade, Joe Walding, came to Moscow to make a ground-breaking visit to explore the possibilities for expanding the bilateral trade and economic relationship.  Mr Walding’s visit came on the heels of the visit to New Zealand by the Soviet Trade Minister N.S. Patolichev.  This visit added to the 1963 Trade Agreement a Protocol establishing a Joint New Zealand/Russia Trade Commission that was expected to meet every two years.

Through the 1970s and 1980s the trade relationship grew strongly, pushed by developments in international trade and in New Zealand’s export economy.  For New Zealand, the 1970s were a turbulent time.  The successive oil shocks significantly changed the New Zealand balance of trade at the same time as the entry of the United Kingdom into the European Community significantly affected New Zealand’s ability to sell its agricultural commodities to its former principal market.  At the same time, New Zealand saw the emergence of Russia as a global oil power, with new income to spend on the purchase of consumer goods, including foodstuffs.  The value-for-money of New Zealand agricultural produce was recognised by consistent Soviet purchases in the 1970s and 1980s.  The USSR also helped New Zealand indirectly through its purchase of very large quantities of surplus foodstuffs from the European Community and by buying major quantities of grain from the United States, Canada and Australia, which helped to stabilise world commodity markets of key interest to New Zealand.

By chance, too, Soviet fishing vessels discovered and began to exploit in the 1970s rich deepwater fishing grounds in what was to become New Zealand’s 200 Mile Exclusive Economic Zone in accordance with the provisions of the Law of the Sea.  These fishing activities in time became a major factor in the creation of the New Zealand deepwater fishing industry.  In the shorter term, the interest of the Soviet Union in gaining access to New Zealand’s fish resources under the provisions of the Law of the Sea, became a factor in economic negotiations between the two countries.  This was recognised by the conclusion of a New Zealand-USSR Fisheries Agreement in 1978, signed in Wellington by the Soviet Minister of Fisheries, A.A. Ishkov.


Russia - New Zealand History

Russian knowledge of New Zealand and the Maori dates from the late seventeenth century. New Zealand was the first region of Polynesia of which the Russians had authoritative data, all collected from the Dutch. The Dutch material was complemented in the later eighteenth century by primary accounts of Captain James Cook's several visits to that country and his lengthy stays within Queen Charlotte Sound.
In 1808 and 1814, the first Russian encounters with the Maori took place at Cape Town and Sydney. Though the officers of the Diana and Suvorov found the Maoris from the Bay of Islands (Matara, Ruatara, Hongi Hika, and others) intellectually quick and very friendly, they could not think of them other than as recent and potential cannibals.
The reports of Cook and his associates, published in German, French, and Russian, reinforced this association. Nonetheless, a Russian expedition led by Captain F.F. Bellingshausen paid a visit to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1820, using Cook's charts and accounts. It proved to be most important from the standpoint of ethnology, and was useful for the visitors as well, who were amply supplied with food. Glynn Barratt, Russia and the South Pacific, 1696-1840, Volume 2, University of British Columbia Press, 1988

Stuart Prior, Honorary Consul for Belarus in New Zealand

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