Welcome to the Wairarapa Branch of NZIIA.
The Wairarapa branch of the NZIIA provides a monthly platform for informed discussion of the international implications of a wide range of important current topics.
The Wairarapa branch was formed in 1996 by Rev Scott Thomson and senior diplomat Gordon Parkinson. (Scott Thomson had assisted in establishing the Timaru branch in 1983.)
Since then the branch has grown steadily in member numbers. For speakers, it has drawn widely on university staff in Wellington and Palmerston North and other centres, and the media, public and armed services, non-governmental, voluntary, and diplomatic communities in Wellington. More recently, the increasing number of people, with a wide range of international experience, who now live in the region has further enriched our speaking roster.
In the past, one memorable meeting involved a debate between two senior diplomats, one insisting that justice was necessary for peace, while the other argued that insistence on justice might prejudice the establishment of peace. Those present gained a new perspective on the complexity of international relations!
On another occasion, when the branch held a seminar on international affairs crisis management, a documentary film of an international crisis was paused several times to allow Gerald Hensley, with special knowledge of the incident, to explain what the leaders were attempting as events unfolded on the screen.
Pre-meeting pot-luck meals in committee homes with speakers as guests has been a special branch feature.
The branch meets in Masterton, usually on the second or third Wednesday evenings of the month. As well as the informative newsletter prepared by secretary-treasurer Aileen Weston, a newspaper column, ‘Internationally Speaking’ runs each month in Midweek, a free publication distributed throughout the Wairarapa.
The public is welcome at meetings, with non-members asked to pay $5.00. Attendance is generally in the 60-100 range.
NZIIA membership is open to anyone interested in understanding the importance of global affairs to the political and economic well-being of New Zealand.