17 Oct 2013

Former Niue police chief appointed High Commissioner to NZ

6:13 pm on 17 October 2013

A former Chief of Police in Niue, Superintendent Ross Ardern, has been appointed as New Zealand's High Commissioner to Niue.

He will be replacing Mark Blumsky, and will continue the work of focusing on the island's economic development, particularly in the tourism sector.

Leilani Momoisea reports:

Superintendent Ross Ardern has been serving as the New Zealand Police Liaison Officer for the South Pacific in Samoa. He's now destined to return to Niue, which is warmly welcomed by Niue Premier, Toke Talagi.

"TOKE TALAGI: I'm very pleased, I think we're all very pleased. Ross was here previously as the former chief of police and he did an excellent job. We're looking forward to him coming as the new New Zealand High Commissioner. He'll be called 'excellency' instead of 'chief.' I believe that what he will do is continue on with the work that we have done with the current high commissioner, Mark Blumsky, he's done an excellent job. We are building a very strong economy driven by tourism."

Superintendent Ardern says the role is a wonderful opportunity that's too good to turn down.

ROSS ADERN: My wife and I are really anxious to go back to Niue and see where we can help there. I had four years as the chief of police there and it's one of the highlights of my 40-year policing career, and I'll always look back on my time in Niue as the chief as one of the greater moments, it was excellent, it was great to be there.

Niue and New Zealand are working together to develop the island's tourism potential and to build economic sustainability. Ross Ardern says he has the skills to do this.

ROSS ADERN: All of our dealings now are a whole gambit of being able to manage business cases for New Zealand police and to be able to put robust cases forward so that we can attract funding to do business in the Pacific, and I've had quite a lot of exposure to that in the last eight years. So I take those transportable skills with me across to the High Commissions role.

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, adds Mr Ardern's past experience in Niue makes him ideal for the role.

MURRAY McCULLY: In relation to Niue, one of the most important requirements is to be able to relate to people in what is quite a small place in population terms, to understand how their government works and to ensure that there's a harmonious relationship between the administration in Niue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here, and I think that his past experience makes Ross Ardern ideally capable of achieving that.

The outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, Mark Blumsky, says he's happy with what's been achieved in his time, and the relationship with Niue is in good shape. This year Niue is on track to see a 32 percent increase in tourist numbers, and Mark Blumsky says the government of Niue is working well with tourism. He says he's excited to be staying in Niue, where he is building a house and businesses with his wife.

MARK BLUMSKY: I believe this island has potential, it's on a tipping point. There are some stunning business opportunities and my wife and I will develop those. We'll develop interests in hospitality and food production, in tourism. She's been working those for a couple of years now, I'll join her. And as I said very excited about the potential this island has. It is paradise. It still is a bit of a secret, but no regrets at all about my next phase being here.

Ross Ardern will begin work as New Zealand's High Commissioner to Niue in February next year.