The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, has appointed Matthew Hawkins, New Zealand Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as the New Zealand Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Mr Hawkins is based in Abu Dhabi but will travel throughout the region to underline New Zealand’s commitment to high-level engagement on Afghanistan. He will initiate high level contact on matters relating to Afghanistan across the spectrum of Aotearoa New Zealand’s interests including political, security and consular matters.
The Special Representative will lend weight to efforts to help New Zealand citizens, residents and visa holders leave Afghanistan.
Through liaison with other international representatives in the region, Mr Hawkins will also ensure New Zealand has good visibility of developments on the ground in Afghanistan and the international humanitarian response.
Mr Hawkins is a career diplomat who has held previous postings in Washington, Addis Ababa and Tehran, from where he was accredited to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has extensive experience in the region including during the first phase of the Afghanistan evacuation through the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Hawkins made his first visit to Doha as Special Representative from 26-28 October, meeting with a range of Qatari officials and other international representatives.