The New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (NZIIA) is an independent, non-governmental organisation that seeks to encourage an understanding of the importance of global affairs to the political and economic well-being of New Zealand.

NZIIA fosters wider understanding of international issues, trading partnerships and relationships with other countries. It does this by creating a programme of events and initiatives that enable audiences to hear a range of speakers with various viewpoints. It hosts public addresses by visiting experts and dignitaries, roundtable events including Track II dialogues, and generates an annual conference. Branches around the country host a lively programme of events and the National Office has been hosting a range of events in both Wellington for some years and in Auckland over the last year.

NZIIA’s main communications platforms are the website, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the NZ International Review. This publication has been in existence for 44 years. It is the only national magazine exclusively devoted to international issues as they affect New Zealand. It is available for all members as part of their subscription and to students at universities in New Zealand. 

The National Office is housed at Rutherford House, Level 3, Pipitea campus, Victoria University of Wellington. It has a very close relationship with the University both in the context of organising seminars and in arranging venues for lectures.

The Governor-General HE Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM, QSO
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

The Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand is a New Zealander with family linkages to Fiji and India.  Born, raised and schooled in Auckland, and graduating from the University of Auckland, he pursued careers as a lawyer, judge and ombudsman before serving as the country’s 19th Governor-General from 2006 to 2011. He and his wife Susan have been long term supporters and members of the Institute in Auckland and Wellington.  Sir Anand served on the Standing Committee in the early 2000s standing aside from this when he became Governor-General and taking up the position of patron. He returned to the Standing Committee in 2016 and was elected President at the 2018 Annual General Meeting.
External to this, he has maintained a long association with the Commonwealth, having helped deliver a training programme for newly appointed Ombudsmen from 1998 onward. In 2013, he began a four year association as Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, the civil society counterpart of the Commonwealth Secretariat. In this capacity he played roles in Commonwealth Peoples Forums alongside the CHOGM meetings in Sri Lanka in 2014 and Malta in 2016. He led the Commonwealth Observation Group into the 2017 National Elections in Papua New Guinea. He has also maintained a long term interest in Transparency International becoming a member of the Transparency International’s Advisory Committee and a member of the International Anti-Corruption Council, based in Berlin. At present he is chairing a New Zealand Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care which is expected to function until 2020. He lives in Wellington with his wife Susan. They have three adult children and grandchildren.

vice president
Emeritus Professor Rob Rabel
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) (VUW)

Emeritus Professor Roberto Rabel is a Professorial Fellow at the Centre of Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). He is a Senior International Adviser for VUW, having recently retired as Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Engagement) after 10 years overseeing the University’s internationalisation strategies and activities. He holds a BA Honours degree in History and International Politics from VUW and a PhD in History from Duke University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1986 to 2006, Professor Rabel taught in the History Department and then held management roles at the University of Otago. He is the author or editor of over 40 books and articles, including an official history, New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy (2005). He is National Vice-President of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Professor Rabel has previously chaired the Advisory Boards for the Centre for Strategic Studies-New Zealand and for the Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America. He was also a member of the Advisory Board for the New Zealand Centre at Peking University and held management responsibility for Victoria’s Confucius Institute. Professor Rabel holds a Medal “For the Advancement of Vietnam’s Education Cause” from the Vietnamese Government and the “Bene Merito” Medal for services to Poland abroad from the Polish Government.

Mr Luke Qin JP

Luke Qin is the Treasurer of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and has been a member of the Institute since 2011. Originally from Sichuan, the "Land of Abundance", home to world famous spicy cuisine and pandas, Luke first arrived in Christchurch as a teenager and was selected to play 1st XV rugby for Linwood College in his first year in New Zealand, despite not knowing the rules of the game previously. Aside from occasionally tackling his opponents a tad early and pretending he did not speak English while playing rugby, he was a school prefect and received many academic and contribution awards. After graduating from Canterbury University, he worked as a journalist for a bilingual community newspaper and in B2B sales in Christchurch, before relocating to Wellington to join the banking industry and complete his Masters degree in Applied Finance at Victoria University of Wellington. He now works as an international trade banker, looking after established exporters and importers in the central region for a leading New Zealand bank. Luke currently serves as President of the Wellington Chinese Association, National Executive member of the New Zealand Chinese Association, Life Member & Honorary Advisor of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, Executive Committee member of the New Zealand China Trade Association, Board Advisor for Sister Cities New Zealand, Wellington City Ambassador, White Ribbon Ambassador, and “stand-in" Lead Singer for the OrientXpress Jazz Band. He currently sits on the board of Transparency International New Zealand, chairing its Affiliations committee and serving as a member of its Financial Integrity System Assessment and Anti-Money Laundering working groups. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors, Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, Friends of Waiwhetu Stream, Rotary Club of Wellington, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand at the age of 27. Luke was awarded a long service medal by the New Zealand Fire Service as a volunteer firefighter and successfully completed the Sky Tower Stair Challenge in 2018 to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.


Executive Director
Melanie Thornton

Melanie Thornton is a senior leader with strong strategic capabilities and a background spanning a number of different fields making her able to bridge many disciplines. She gained an Honours Degree in Microbiology from Otago University and went on to being a science journalist with the Ministry of Works before becoming a Senior Investigating Officer with the Commission for the Environment. She then left New Zealand and worked in the arts industry in Melbourne for some years as a consultant and had a year working for a large publishing company. She returned to New Zealand and brought together her love of the arts with an interest in radio, and had a regular arts programme on Radio Nelson for some years. She then went on to work for Radio NZ for more than a decade in various capacities. In more recent years she has worked in regional government, regional economic development and most recently in sustainable transport.

Prior to taking up the role of Executive Director she was a manager in the Strategy Group at the Greater Wellington Regional Council. She managed a team delivering a range of initiatives, campaigns, challenges, information resources, and training and engagement opportunities, to encourage the use of sustainable transport modes. She was most recently part of a team in the Lightning Lab/Govt Tech programme focussed on using start-up tools and techniques to tackle the challenging issue of enhancing the Council’s engagement with the community.

For the four years prior to this role she led the Wellington Regional Strategy Office at the Regional Council. This involved implementing, delivering and monitoring five major projects for the Wellington Regional Strategy (the economic development strategy for the region). A major aspect of this work involved developing an innovative framework and evaluation tool for measuring the well-being of the Wellington region. The Genuine Progress Index (GPI) won the 2011 Joined-Up Local Government Award from SOLGM (the Society of Local Government Managers). Her role also involved communicating with and maintaining strong stakeholder relationships, as well as serving the needs of the Wellington Regional Strategy Committee in its oversight of the strategy. She also co-developed a national design competition for reflective wear called Project Glow Wear which gained considerable interest from the design and fashion industry.

Melanie has a strong background in communications both through her 13 years working for Radio NZ and as a science journalist with the Ministry of Works. At Radio NZ she was the producer of numerous features and documentaries and the producer of the “Ideas” programme on “Sunday Mornings with Chris Laidlaw”. She also wrote up two of the programmes she had made into articles for The Listener. Over the 13 years she was in radio, she produced a number of radio programmes on global trends, the latest research in a range of different fields and on various initiatives which had a very international focus.

She is well-versed in organising events, conferences and workshops and understands fully the need to maintain a strong communication programme with stakeholders, sponsors and participants. She has a huge interest in what the Institute is undertaking, as well as having a good broad knowledge of international issues, regional trends and developments. She is passionate about fostering interest in international affairs especially as they relate to New Zealand’s economic growth and development as a country, and communicating the changing global trends happening in a range of sectors.

She’s a member of the Institute of Directors.

Dr Ian McGibbon ONZM

Ian McGibbon has been managing editor of the NZ International Review since 1981, as well as a member of the NZIIA's standing and research committees. A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, he was an historian with, successively, the Ministry of Defence, Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage from 1971 to 2013. His published works include the 2-volume official history of New Zealand's involvement in the Korean War, the history of New Zealand's combat and other operations in Vietnam, a history of New Zealand's involvement in the Second World War and the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. He has also edited several volumes of diplomatic correspondence and published guidebooks to Gallipoli and the Western Front. Since 2009 he has been New Zealand's representative on the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey of the Anzac Battlefield at Gallipoli. In 1997 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to historical research.

Yvonne Palmer

Chair of Research & Publication Committee

Dr James Kember

Standing Committee


Mr Don MacKay

Hon Dr Wayne Mapp QSO

Ms Tricia Walbridge

Dr Negar Partow

Ms Suse Reynolds

Mr Calvin Pleydell

Dr Anna Powles

Mr Simon Murdoch CNZM

Mr Andrew Wierzbicki

Mr Luke Qin JP

Dr James Kember - Chair of Research and Publications Committee

Dr James Waite - MFAT representative

Ms Lisa Marriner - Wellington Branch Chair

Dr David Capie - VUW representative


By Invitation

Dr David Capie - Director, Centre for Strategic Studies, VUW