Museum Meets With Australian & New Zealand
High Commissioners

South Pacific World War II Museum Founding Chairman Bradley Wood and Museum Manager Alma Wensi recently travelled to Port Vila to meet with the High Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand. The purpose of the meetings was to bring the High Commissioners up to date on recent progress with the Museum project.

Australian High Commissioner

Australian High Commissioner Jenny Da Rin meeting with Vanuatu Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trades Ralph Regenvanu.

The Australian High Commissioner Ms Jenny Da Rin, was accompanied by Lieutenant Commander, Kylie Turnbull from the Royal Australian Navy. Kylie is an Adviser to Maritime Surveillance based in Port Vila, under the Defence Cooperation Program. Being a member of the Australian Defence Force, she had a keen interest in the museum project.

The High Commissioner is fully supportive of the South Pacific World War II Museum project and was most impressed by the Business and Strategic Plan that we have developed as a roadmap for the museum project, moving forward. She was also impressed by the progress we’ve made particularly with achieving Vanuatu Government endorsement. Ms Da Rin recognises the benefits the Museum will bring to tourism on Santo and its role in preserving the nation’s history.

The High Commissioner has also offered the Museum her assistance in making contact with relevant government departments and organisations in Australia who may be of benefit to us.

New Zealand High Commissioner, Jonathan Schwass and Ricky Lee, Tourism Programme Manager at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s office also met with Bradley and Alma in Port Vila. Mr Schwass has a personal interest in the museum project and has recently purchased a Willy’s Jeep in Port Vila. His office is supportive of the ongoing volunteer support through Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) New Zealand, to help with the museum’s development, fundraising and the museum’s future.

The High Commissioner was also interested in discussing the specific makeup of the Museum and the displays we had planned. Bradley and Alma outlined their vision for the cultural aspects the museum might contain along with their broader vision of encompassing not just Santo’s role in the Pacific Theatre but other Pacific island regions such as the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal.

Following the discussions, the High Commissioner reinforced his support for the project and also agreed to facilitate contacts in New Zealand who may be of assistance to the Museum project. He concluded with an offer to provide him with any specific proposals we may have and he will investigate how the New Zealand High Commission can assist.

The trip to Port Vila also included meetings with significant business identities, companies and government departments, including  the Vanuatu Department of Strategic Policy Planning and Aid Coordination (DSSPAC).

New Zealand High Commissioner

New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass.

The museum would like to thank most sincerely the High Commissioner for Australia, Ms Jenny Da Rin, the High Commissioner for New Zealand, Mr Jonathan Schwass and those who gave up their time to meet with Bradley and Alma to discuss the museum project with them.