After serving in various diplomatic roles, Jonathan Schwass has been appointed as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu. He will step in for current High Commissioner HE Georgina Roberts, who has been posted in Port Vila since 2014.
A NZ career diplomat, Jonathan is currently the Unit Manager of the South/South East Asia Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in Wellington.
He was previously Ambassador to Timor-Leste, and Deputy High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, the Hon. Gerry Brownlee announced the new appointment on Tuesday.
Minister Brownlee says it is important to maintain the close and long-standing ties between NZ and Vanuatu.
“In the last year, more than 4,000 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand – representing about 40 percent of the total workers in the scheme,” he says.
“The RSE scheme has been an enormous success over the last decade and, at an estimated $20 million a year for those 4,000 workers, the earnings have a significant effect on livelihoods in Vanuatu.”
During his time in the Pacific nation, Jonathan will lead the delivery of NZ’s Official Development Programme in Vanuatu, and help oversee $82 million of investment over three years with a focus on tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and education.
Prior to joining MFAT, Jonathan owned businesses specialising in public sector communications and publishing.
Earlier, he had a 15-year career in journalism, mainly as a Radio NZ current affairs reporter specialising in international affairs.