Leader Profile: Peter Adams, Director, NZAID

    NZAID is the New Zealand Governmental bilateral aid agency. It works in numerous countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Dr Peter Adams is the Director of this agency.

    The New Zealand aid agency NZAID was created in 2002, when the former New Zealand Overseas Development Assistance was developed as an independent body separate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) after a ministerially-commissioned consultant's review recommended that aid should have a more distinct identity. NZAID's work is based on key target areas: poverty elimination, good governance, trade development assistance, health, gender, conflict prevention and peace building, harmonization, human rights, environment, sustainable livelihoods, and education. "NZODA, the acronym for New Zealand Official Development Assistance, or the aid program, had last been reviewed ten years earlier". Explained Peter, "The DAC Review found that "New Zealand has a serious and credible aid program" but one which faced a number of challenges. We managed to complete have the overarching policy framework and the human rights policy statement in time for the launch of NZAID on 1 July 2002".

    The majority of New Zealand's aid is focused on its neighboring countries in the Pacific and Asia region. "New Zealand’s involvement in development assistance in the region goes back a long way, into our colonial era. As administrator of the Cooks, Niue and Tokelau and Trustee of Western Samoa, New Zealand was certainly involved in development, of education and health systems, of governance structures, of agricultural and other economic enterprise". Said Peter.

    Peter graduated from Canterbury University in New Zealand, with a First Class Honors degree in history and he completed a PhD at Oxford University. Prior to his appointment as Director of NZAID in February 2002, Peter worked as a career diplomat, with overseas assignments included Suva, New York and Washington DC. From 1998 to 2001 he was New Zealand’s Ambassador to China and from 1982 - 1985 he was Deputy Director of the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation in Suva. Immediately prior to his appointment, from February 2001, Peter headed the Development Cooperation Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    In the future, Peter plans to continue the development of the work of NZAID. "People are at the heart of our activities, and relationships are the sinews of our being. We want to develop NZAID as a place staffed by people who are knowledgeable, effective professionals, committed and happy in their work". Peter stated. The Pacific region has changed a great deal, in recent years, "The kinds of development activities New Zealand’s ODA program is involved in have changed in response to those changing needs, and will continue to adapt".

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