Hu’akavameiliku congratulated High Commissioner Babington during a farewell reception held in her honour at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ conference room at the St George Building this week.
“It is my privilege, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to extend our heartfelt malo ‘aupito to Your Excellency for the extraordinary efforts you have rendered to the Kingdom of Tonga and her people during your diplomatic tenure over the course of the past four-plus years,” he stated.
“We offer our profound gratitude to Your Excellency on behalf of His Majesty’s Government and the people of Tonga, for your tireless efforts to the Kingdom.”
PM Hu’akavameiliku, speaking before the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Lord Fakafanua, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and invited guests, said HE Babington’s diplomatic tour of duty deepened the relations between Tonga and New Zealand.
During her tenure High Commissioner Babington was instrumental in securing and implementing New Zealand’s response to the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano and tsunami, the Cyclone Gita and Cyclone Harold response in 2018 and 2020 and the current Covid-19 challenge that Tonga currently face.
“In the aftermath of the HTHH volcanic eruption and into the recovery phase, New Zealand stood alongside the Kingdom of Tonga and has taken every step to assist and accompany His Majesty’s Government with the medium to longer term recovery efforts,” Hu’akavameiliku stated.
He said, this was all made possible with HE Babington’s leadership.
The Prime Minister said HE Babington also oversaw the expansion of New Zealand’s development assistance and defense partnership and her country’s investment in the energy sector, including renewable energy.
HE Babington has completed her term as High Commissioner to Tonga. She is being replaced by Matthew Howell.
Photo Ministry of Foreign Affairs Caption: Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku (left) with outgoing NZ High Commissioner Tiffany Babington