Speech to the German Society of New Zealand, Auckland 1 October 2017,
by the German Ambassador to New Zealand,
in celebration of the Day of German Unity
Ambassador Gerhard Thiedemann is pleased to celebrate the Day of German Unity together with the German Society of New Zealand in Auckland.
This very special day in German history is connected to unity, community and integration, but also evokes memories of a peaceful revolution guiding the way for the reunification of Germany.
For already 27 years, the united Federal Republic of Germany stands up for freedom and justice in a united and cohesive way. However, the long-winded process of integration of the federal states and their citizens following the reunification is still ongoing.
Nevertheless, the German reunification is a success story in a number of ways. First of all, the opening towards the western part of Germany promised prosperity and a better future to many people of East Germany. Furthermore, it became once again possible to travel by free will, like for example to New Zealand. Additionally, some people tried to be professionally successful by working for private and public institutions and commercial companies in the again accessible West Germany as well as in the reformed East. And also several government authorities, like the Federal Foreign Office, started with the integration and training of former GDR citizens.
The remarkable career of Stephan Steinlein is presented in the following which shows his successful integration symbolically. Currently, he is the Head of the Federal Presidential Office in Germany and is an impressive example for the unification of East and West Germany and the opportunities for Germany as a whole.
In a second example, the German Ambassador focuses on Freya Klier. She was a civil rights campaigner of the former GDR who immigrated temporarily to New Zealand following the reunification of Germany. In a book she writes about the attractiveness of the paradisiac New Zealand – “Gods own Country" which allowed immigration by German refugees from the Nazi Third Reich.
Today, Germany and New Zealand are connected by their friendship and their share of common values which make them work together on a global stage – especially with respect to the United Nations. The commitment to respect democratic principles and human rights makes us like-minded partners. The rule of law, freedom and a peaceful and sustainable development are the central pillars of our friendship that will strengthen in the future.
For this friendship, the German Society of New Zealand plays an important role as lively citizens and cultural relations are maintained best by face-to-face contacts. People-to-people contacts of the German Society of New Zealand build bridges and thereby infuse new vitality and stability into our friendship. Whereas the Goethe Institute teaches the German language, the members of the German Society of New Zealand communicate cultural values to their partners and friends in New Zealand. By doing so, the priority is not to reinforce German stereotypes, but to foster the German culture regarding arts, music, history and tradition internationally and to continue the exchange between Germans and New Zealanders. These days, only transnational partnerships and cultural exchange of the next generation can offer the same opportunities that we enjoy right now.
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