Creativity a key theme for Bastille Day celebrations [fr]

This year the French Embassy in New Zealand celebrated our national holiday a few days in advance for a very special reason.

On the 14th of July the Ambassador, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, will accompany New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in France. He is the guest of President of the Republic, M. François Hollande, for the Bastille Day parade on Paris’ Champs Elysées. They will attend the military parade which this year honours ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) troops.

In Wellington, the Ambassador received more than 120 guests at the French Residence on the 5th of July. Numerous guests distinguished in the fields of business, the arts, attended the first part of the celebrations. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman represented the New Zealand Government.
In their speeches, the Ambassador and the minister hailed the excellent relationship between our two countries which were further reinforced during French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ visit to New Zealand on the 1st and 2nd of May.

In Auckland, the Ambassador welcomed partners of the Embassy to the recently opened Europa House on the 6th of July.

This year’s celebrations took the theme of creativity. Creativity is a key idea in our bilateral relationship, which has developed in the fields of business, cultural, politics and science, as the Ambassador highlighted in her speech.
"Whether we refer to it as creativity, innovation or the creation of value, it touches upon several sectors."

The Ambassador gave examples of the success of French businesses such as Virbac in Hamilton, Moët Hennessy, Airbus, and Transdev. She also announced preparations for major projects, such as a series of roundtable discussions on the theme of sustainable cities which will take place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in late August, and the organisation of the Antipodes forum which will bring together leading French and New Zealand creative leaders in Wellington and Auckland in September.

The Ambassador’s speech

"E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e rau rangatira mā
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Honourable Jonathan Coleman
Right Honourable David Carter
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Your Excellencies, members of the diplomatic corps
Distinguished guests,
Mesdames et messieurs,
Chers amis de la France et de l’Europe,

Thank you all for joining us this evening in our celebration for France’s national day.

Bastille Day is a special day for France, a day synonymous with aspirations for a better world, unity and freedom. Three values which resonate with the core principles of our Republic– Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. They could not be more relevant to France, New Zealand and to our world today.
Bastille Day is also for us a time to reflect on the past accomplishments and, most importantly, a time to look forward to new memories.

I mentioned, last year, that our bilateral relation was somehow asymmetrical, especially in regards to bilateral official visits. It is no longer the case.

This year, celebrations have been brought forward slightly in New Zealand to allow for a very special event. On July 14th, Prime Minister John Key will be France’s guest on the Champs Elysées. Alongside President François Hollande, he will watch France and New Zealand troops, as well as Australian ones, marching side by side. It is a highly symbolic gesture to commemorate the centenary of New Zealand forces’ engagement in the battle of the Somme, and the shared sacrifices of our soldiers during World War One. They left behind a strong foundation on which we have kept building our friendship to this day. This will also materialize in the construction of the French memorial at Pukeahu National Memorial Park. 43 teams from New Zealand and abroad entered our design competition – a tremendous response to what promises to be a legacy of our relationship. The winning team will be announced on November the 11th 2016.
This bond will be further valued through the visit to New Zealand by the Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Mr. Jean-Marc Todeschini, next December.

I have also been privileged to welcome Prime Minister Manuel Valls to New Zealand in early May, 25 years after the last visit of a French Premier, the late Michel Rocard. His visit has allowed us to take our bilateral relationship to a new level.

First, it gave us the opportunity to honour our shared history.

Second, it focused on our partnership as neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to New Zealand’s support for the accession process of New Caledonia and French Polynesia to full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum,a recognition of the contribution of France and of our territories to economic and political stability in the region.
A visit last June by the President of the Government of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain, gave new momentum to the economic and political relationship of the territory with New Zealand.

Third, Manuel Valls’ visit advanced further our economic relations, with France’s full support to opening free trade negotiations between the European Union and New Zealand. As for any agreement, it is to be balanced and respectful of the interests of each party, including for agriculture. Our support still stands after Brexit!

Fourth, the visit allowed for expression of a shared vision of the major issues of peace and international security: New Zealand confirmed it will remain engaged at the end of its mandate on the United Nations Secuity Council in the fight against terrorism and in crisis resolution. The extension of New Zealand‘s presence in Iraq is a strong gesture in supporting the international coalition and combatting ISIS. We are grateful also for the support of New Zealand to our initiative on the Middle East Peace Process and we are looking forward to New Zealand’s presidency of the United Nations Security Council in September.

Let’s now look forward.

Last year, I mentioned my objective to create new memories for our bilateral relation and build a more creative and more contemporary footprint for France in New Zealand. It goes both ways.

Creativity is also a kiwi specialty – I had the great chance to sample New Zealand’s creativity at Fieldays this year when I was presented with AgResearch’s beef-based chocolate. A rather tasty combination, not available tonight!

Whether we refer to “creativity” as innovation, or the creation of value, it touches on many sectors. Allow me to single out four examples.

-  While in Hamilton, I visited French company Virbac and saw the product resulting from the collaboration with AgResearch. An example of French-New Zealand cooperation aimed at improving animal healthcare and therefore the lives of Kiwi farmers.
-  Airbus, a prime example of European cooperation between France, Germany, the UK and Spain, is contributing to Air New Zealand’s competitiveness through the acquisition of 16 new ATR-600 while expecting the delivery of 20 new A320. The defence white paper might also provide new opportunities.
-  Moet-Hennessy through Cloudy Bay has invested in central Otago for pinot noir and is a great contributor to increasing the export value of NZ wines.

Airbus along with Moët Hennessy, our two sponsors for tonight’s evening are fantastic examples of successful partnering of French companies on New Zealand ground.

- Last but not least, Transdev, a global leader in public transport took over on Sunday the management of the Greater Wellington rail network, to operate, maintain and provide a better service to Wellingtonians and therefore, reducing the local carbon footprint.
The French group Vinci is also bringing to New Zealand its global expertise with the local acquisition of HEB construction. They are involved in the Transmission Gully project, as well as the construction, of a new wharf in the Chatham Islands.
I will be very happy, dear Chris, to inaugurate the new wharf with you!

More innovative solutions and partnership in other sectors will come from last April’s visit of thirty French business to NZ and we are looking forward to a NZ trade mission to France headed by Minister Todd McLay next November.

Expanding on creativity, I would like to present shortly three collaborative projects this Embassy is working on.

First, “Cities of tomorrow” will be the topic of high-profile public discussions between French and New Zealand experts, jointly presented by the Embassy, the Royal Society and Radio NZ. They will canvass on how through urban transformation cities have embraced the challenge of offering a more sustainable, inclusive and safer environment for their people. The talks will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in late August.

Our second project is about innovation and creative practices. The main idea here is to increase connections between French and New Zealand creative professionals through a dedicated forum and platform for long-term collaboration. Named “Antipodes”, the forum, organized on an annual basis, will explore how arts, technologies and social innovation can combine in creative ecosystems. It will take place in Auckland and Wellington in late September, in partnership with AUT and Massey University.

Finally, we also need to think about French and Kiwi leaders and innovators of tomorrow. I am pleased to announce that we should see the opening of a bilingual French/English primary classroom in Wellington in February 2017.

Let me conclude my Bastille Day speech with some personal thoughts on Europe and globalization, two topics that both shape the future of France as a nation.

1/Globalization, as the largest transformative force in our world, has encountered enormous challenges that we must meet with resolve and determination.

We have seen the rise of international terrorism and a wave of large scale attacks in Paris last November and more recently in Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul, Dacca and Bagdad. This will only reinforce the unity of all countries committed to the same core values of tolerance, civil liberties, solidarity and international justice.

Paris and other cities have remained strong, focusing on the future, fostering new projects in spite of the threats. Our capital welcomed hundreds of world leaders for COP21 which culminated in the historic climate agreement bearing its name, the Paris agreement. Paris pushed on with its ambition of a new “Grand Paris”, earning the title of Global Earth Hour Capital 2016 from the World Wildlife Fund. It now welcomes football supporters for the Euro 16. 1.5 million visitors are travelling to France for the occasion. Looking forward, Paris is also presenting its candidacy to two projects of global ambitions: the 2024 Olympic Games and the 2025 World Expo. In doing so, France and its capital embrace globalization.

2/ On the matter of Europe, our British friends have chosen to leave the European Union. France respects their choice, although we regret it. Europe, as a common project among 27 nations remains a “ region of peace, solidarity and looking toward the future”. Europe remains a magnet for countries and people who are not members. The European process might need adjustments. France is ready to start a new phase of the European project jointly with its partners. Our destiny is in our own hands and is not bound by demagogues or fate. It is a matter of sharing and building together a sound vision.

As one former President of the Republic rightly said some 15 years ago
“France is our motherland;
Europe is our future;
Being European is not about betraying France;
It is rather about loving it and protecting it. “

Let’s celebrate Bastille Day, a day to celebrate our country, its capacity to bring people and nations together and to move forward with the world.

Vive la République!
Vive la France!
Vive la Nouvelle-Zélande!

I would now like to invite you to raise your glass: “To the Queen, to the Governement and the people of New Zealand ”

Dernière modification : 26/09/2016

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