A delegation from the New Zealand High Commission Kuala Lumpur, led by its High Commissioner, Her Excellency Pam Dunn, paid a courtesy visit to SBC on 7 October 2022. She was accompanied by YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr. Hamid bin Bugo the former State Secretary of Sarawak and alumnus of University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Among the delegates are Mr Aidan Beckett, First Secretary and Mr Tan Zhong Yan, Policy and Public Affairs Advisor from the New Zealand High Commission KL and Mr Hasrin Othman, Trade Compliance Manager, Fonterra Brands (M) Sdn Bhd and Ms Esther Yap, CEO, Stellar Sparx International Sdn Bhd.
The delegates were welcomed by a Sarawak's traditional dance and Her Excellency took the opportunity to try out a few dance steps. Then, they walk through the ethnobotanical garden which features indigenous plants. At the Traditional Knowledge Documentation Building, the delegates were shown the herbarium specimens and collection sites throughout Sarawak. Her Excellency was excited to see beautiful Rajah Brooke’s birdwing and the specimens of stick insects species from the Bau Limestone hills.
We also had an engaging sharing session on SBC's roles in research and development and microalgae project milestones. Delegates were informed that Tan Sri Hamid played a crucial role in the setting up of SBC as the Deputy Chairman of the Sarawak Biodiversity Council during its earlier times. In addition, the late Dr David Givens from Lincoln University, New Zealand was one of the consultants involved in drawing up the SBC Ordinance 1997 that enable Sarawak to protect and manage its biodiversity.
Her Excellency planted Agathis borneensis which is known locally as Bindang by the Kelabit to commemorate her visit to SBC. The local community used the resin as a fire starter for cooking. The Agathis genus is also found in the northern regions of New Zealand.
Her Excellency shared that the visit was an eye-opener experience and they will look for ways to collaborate with SBC and New Zealand counterparts.