The President of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, is making his first visit to New Zealand to meet with Tibetans and their supporters here - but he is not confident of meeting with a Member of Parliament.
Dr Sangay says this is "a very sad chapter" in Tibet's history and since the 1950's "there's been a lot of oppression going on."
Tibet was incorporated into Chinese territory in 1950 and the country's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to Dharamsala in northern India, where his supporters set up a government in exile.
Dr Sangay says self-immolation, where a person sets themself on fire to protest, is discouraged, but that two people have already killed themselves in this way this year.
"146 Tibetans have committed self-immolation. They've burned themselves. 126 of them have died."
He says three nuns have committed suicide at Larung Gar, the largest monastery in Tibet, which is currently being demolished as the Chinese government reduces it in size from 12,000 buddhist monks and nuns to 5,000.
"So you can clearly see from these tragic sacrifices, and the death being caused in Tibet, how desperate Tibetans are."
Dr Sangay says he hopes to meet with some members of parliament in Wellington tomorrow but accepts "people in the government are normally hesitant because Chinese pressure is quite strong."
He will give public talks in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin to "create awareness in New Zealand about the situation in Tibet" and explain what he says is a "peaceful solution to the issue."