New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO
Te Kōmihana Matua o Aotearoa mō UNESCO
Appointed and funded by the New Zealand Government, the National Commission represents UNESCO; manages relationships with key stakeholders; and coordinates advice to the organisation on future programmes. The National Commission works to promote UNESCO’s vision, goals and programmes within New Zealand and the Pacific. Five sub commissions focused upon UNESCO’s key programme areas provide advice to the National Commission.
“Action for peace and social justice through education, the natural, social and human sciences, culture, communications and information.”
“To fulfil New Zealand’s obligations as a Member State, to contribute to the development of UNESCO programmes and strategic priorities, to represent and promote New Zealand’s interests and, within the context of the Asia and Pacific region, to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue.”
The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is committed to:
- The Treaty of Waitangi;
- A diverse multicultural society;
- Social justice and the reduction of inequalities;
- Ethical behaviour;
- Engaging young people; and
- Gender equity.
Chair - Neil Walter
Former career diplomat Neil Walter has been appointed Chair of the NZ National Commission for UNESCO. A former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Walter served as New Zealand Ambassador to Japan and Indonesia as well as New Zealand's Permanant Representative to UNESCO in Paris. He has wide governance and management experience and has been a member of several government committees and review teams. Currently he chairs the NZ Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air).
Education - Dr Edna Tait
A lifelong passion for education as a student, teacher, principal and lecturer has seen Edna Tait head the UNESCO Office for the Pacific in Samoa and the Post Primary Teachers Association in New Zealand. She is a current member of the Tertiary Education Commission and holds a Doctor of Education from Massey University. Dr Tait chairs the Education Sub Commission.
Social Science - Acting Chair, Professor David Thorns
David Thorns is one of New Zealand’s leading social scientists. David has been a member of the Social Sciences Sub Commission since 1996, is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Canterbury and from 2000-2004 served on the Inter Government Council of UNSECO major Social Sciences Programme Management of Social Transformation (MOST). He is currently Vice President of the International Social Science Council.
Natural Science - Dr Andrew Matthews
A commitment to help find a more sustainable use of resources, especially given the challenges posed by climate change has been a focus for Dr Matthews whose career includes research for the DSIR and NIWA in New Zealand and extended periods based in Germany, France and Japan. He also serves on several international commissions and steering groups supporting research agendas to address global environmental change. Dr Matthews chairs the Natural Science Sub Commission.
Culture (Acting) - Acting Chair, Dr Brian Pauling
Brian has a background in broadcasting, publishing and adult education. Brian began the broadcasting programme at Christchurch Polytechnic in 1983 and was the first Head of the New Zealand Broadcasting School where he is still Programme Leader. He also acts as a media consultant for a number of regional and national organisations.
Communications - (Vacant)