South Pacific Secretaries of Defence meet in Auckland

07/03/2023 News

The South Pacific Secretaries of Defence Dialogue has been held in person for the first time, following two years of virtual meetings.

New Zealand Secretary of Defence, Andrew Bridgman, hosted the meeting in Auckland in February 2023. The Secretaries’ Dialogue began with a pōhiri at Te Taua Moana Marae at the Devonport Naval Base.

Defence Secretaries (or equivalent) attended from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and Australia to discuss common defence challenges, regional security issues and defence policy.

“Since the group's first meeting in 2021, the region and wider world has continued to experience rapid challenge and change. This has only emphasised the importance of dialogue and co-operation across the region, and I was pleased to be able to meet with my counterparts for these important discussions,” said Andrew Bridgman.

“This meeting was an opportunity to share views on a wide variety of issues including regional security, disaster response, and the impacts of climate change – a discussion of special relevance following Cyclone Gabrielle.” 

Pictured: [Front row, from left] Captain Jon Beadsmore - Royal New Zealand Navy - Captain Fleet Operational Readiness, Val Alder - Kaikaranga, Manasa Lesuma – Republic of Fiji – Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Captain Sione Ulakai – Kingdom of Tonga - Deputy Chief of Defence Staff His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Hari (John) Akipe – Papua New Guinea - Secretary of Defence, Andrew Bridgman – New Zealand – Secretary of Defence, Greg Moriarty – Australia – Secretary of the Department of Defence, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Caleb Kutia – Royal New Zealand Navy – Kaiwero.