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FROM THE DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 
LAST WEEK'S magnitude 7.8 earthquake brought into sharp focus the impact that disasters can have in New Zealand. Earthquakes are far from uncommon, but Monday morning’s jolt was one of the second largest to strike the country since records began. 
After just getting into bed, I, like many of you, raced to drop, cover, and hold. Amongst all this damage, destruction, and unease, Monday’s earthquake has also proven the depth of resilience and compassion, not just in New Zealanders, but also in our friends overseas.

Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, and the Commonwealth Secretary General all expressed their sorrow and support for New Zealanders, while the Commonwealth spirit was on full display, with ships from Australia and Canada joining the first U.S. warship in 30 years to visit New Zealand responding to the call for assistance. HMNZS Te Kaha, HMNZS Endeavour, HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Wellington were joined by the HMAS Darwin, HMCS Vancouver, and the USS Sampson to ensure Kaikoura was supplied and people could evacuate.

This incredible sign of cooperation in the face of such destruction shows just how important it is to maintain links with nations around the world, and stand ready to assist when called up, as has occurred in Christchurch and Japan in 2011 after similar seismic events. These events can bring out the best in us, rising to the challenge under the most perilous of circumstances – I’m incredibly proud to be a Kiwi after seeing some of the amazing stories of assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake!
 
Now more than ever is it important to heed the advice of officials and experts to be ready to respond when disaster strikes, and to be willing to lend a hand to others in need after such catastrophic events. Make sure you’re ready by heading to http://www.civildefence.govt.nz for up to date information and advice.
 
As always, stay safe, and look after one another
 
Brad

BRAD OLSEN
Deputy Executive Director 
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
CONCERNS AS MALDIVES LEAVES COMMONWEALTH

CYNZ RECENTLY expressed concern to the media at the decision by Maldives to quit the Commonwealth. We acknowledged that while it has internal governance and rule of law issues, we hope the Government of Maldives can see that the Commonwealth is trying to help alleviate those problems rather than meddle.

PARADISE LOST? A SHIFT IN US/PACIFIC RELATIONS
AS PART of The Queen's Young Leaders programme, our Executive Director, Aaron Hape, was recently in the Solomon Islands to monitor progress of important aid projects, and shared his thoughts on what a change in US foreign policy could mean for similar projects in the Pacific region.
THE GENDER PAY GAP AND WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

LEADING ON from our Mind The Gap women in leadership event in October Isobel Pepper featured in the Sunday Star-Times where she shared her views on the gender pay gap. She said that it is worrying to think that she could end up earning less than the males in her class even though she's doing just as well.

NEW ZEALANDER OF THE YEAR LOCAL HERO MEDALLISTS
A BIG shout out to CYNZ members Alex Bengree and Ashleigh Smith for being named as New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award medallists! Alex has been a member of the National Student CHOGM planning team since 2010, and Ashleigh attended National Student CHOGM in 2015.
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