Address by President Nelson Mandela at the luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister Jim Bolger of New Zealand

15 November 1995

Prime Minister Mr Jim Bolger;
Honourable Cabinet Ministers
Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon, and together with you, to affirm the special relationship between our two countries.

The Government and the people of New Zealand played an important role in the elimination of the hated system of apartheid. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your support. It is because of that support that a special relationship has developed between South Africa and New Zealand.

We are happy to inform you, Honourable Mr Prime Minister, that the process of reconciliation and reconstruction is being consolidated in our country. As the recently-held local government elections demonstrated, our once divided people are steadily merging into a truly rainbow nation. The Government of National Unity is putting in place elaborate plans to alleviate the conditions of the disadvantaged sections of our population.

We are under no illusion that this will be a difficult task. But we know we can count on the determination of our people and the selfless assistance of our friends world-wide. In this regard. I would like to convey our gratitude to you, Prime Minister, and through you to the people of New Zealand, for the tremendous contribution you have made through the Nelson Mandela Trust. Consequently, thousands of our people in rural areas now have access to clean running water.

Since April 1994, relations between New Zealand and South Africa have been growing. We have noticed an increase in bilateral trade, in contacts in the fields of sport, the environment, education, agriculture, science and technology. And we are looking forward to the planned visit to South Africa by the New Zealand foreign trade arm, TRADENZ, next winter.

Our economy, ladies and gentlemen, is steadily growing and we are steadily tightening our grip on all the factors required to speed up this growth. We would like to encourage New Zealand and South African entrepreneurs to seize the enormous opportunities in both our countries, by investing in productive ventures. This will benefit not only our two nations; but also the regions to which we belong.

We would also welcome the establishment of joint ventures between New Zealand and South African companies. The scope for such ventures is very broad. And, I'm sure that the excellence you have established in the spheres of agriculture, tourism, and scientific research will be very beneficial to South Africa. After all, we are natural partners sharing many attributes.

Not least among these is sport. And the most recent and truly historical expression of this was the final between our two nations during the recent Rugby World Cup tournament. Though I have not come as a debt collector, I am tempted on this occasion to once more remind the Honourable Prime Minister that I would not leave New Zealand before our bet is redeemed.

It is with such excitement that we are expecting the All Blacks tour of South Africa in July-August 1996. I'm sure the cricket fraternity here is also impatiently awaiting the 1996 World Cup in Pakistan.

Earlier today, we signed a Joint Statement on Antarctic Co-operation between our countries. As founder members of the Antarctic Treaty this will strengthen our bilateral co-operation in the international arena. An example here is our shared membership of the Southern Hemisphere Temperate Zone formed recently in Chile. There are also opportunities for co-operation in fields such as forestry, marine pollution, climate change and bio-diversity.

Honourable Prime Minister,

South Africa is fully committed to the maintenance of world peace and we support the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. We share New Zealand's opposition to the testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, not only because of formal treaties; but in principle because it is not in the interest of humanity.

I once again wish to thank you for the warm treatment we have received since our arrival on this island which has established itself in many spheres as a giant among nations. May our relationship continue to prosper.

Thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation