In our previous Update, our Project Coordinator Lucy O’Neill reported on insights into Kiwi business success in Colombia when visiting there in January 2019. In this successor article she reports on other connections she sees between New Zealand and Colombia.

Latin America CAPE and NZ Inc

Working closely with NZ Inc. agencies (Ministry of Foreign Affairs & TradeNew Zealand Trade & EnterpriseEducation NZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries) is critical to our goal of building business-to-business relationships with Colombia and Latin America. Meeting with the New Zealand Embassy and the NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) team in Bogotá was inspiring. Ambassador Lucy Duncan, Deputy Head of Mission Ellen Duval, and the team have been working hard to put NZ on the map in Colombia since the Embassy opened in March 2018.

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The NZTE Business Development Manager, David Aubergier Rico, shared some revealing examples of the support NZTE provides to New Zealand businesses exporting or interested in exporting to Colombia. This service is world class, as shown by the great support given to the LatAm CAPE for our LatAm Biz: Entrepreneurship in Colombia programme, and to the Ministry of Primary Industries for the Women in Agribusiness delegation visit. Please also see the NZTE Market Guide for Colombia and NZTE services in Latin America, which feature high-quality information for New Zealand businesses preparing to do business in the region.

Education and Social Engagement


As Education New Zealand has long recognised, opportunities for New Zealanders to connect with Colombia are unlimited. We have to be creative and work well with our connections to understand the Colombian context, especially on how to do business and to tap into credible Colombian contacts and businesses. Nicolás Paris Vélez, a Colombian artist currently doing a residency at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth is a perfect example of this. Nicolás connected us to Carlos Medellín, the head of a social justice project at the renowned architecture firm El Equipo Mazzanti. Its award-winning buildings include the beautiful Parque Biblioteca España in Medellín, which features in our Latin America CAPE collateral.

I also met with Robert Max Steenkist, a Dutch-Colombian poet and Director of the Colegio José Max Leon, near Bogotá. Robert is involved in several educational and social initiatives, and it was fantastic to hear about his work. His literary projects of particular interest include “Oír Ese Río: Anthology for the rivers of the world". Robert is a co-editor of this marvellous book. His latest poetry anthology, Arbolarium: Antología de los Cinco Continentes, features 148 poets from 78 countries, including several entries from New Zealand poets, including Māori.

Through Peter Cullen, Colombia’s Honorary Consul in Wellington, I had the pleasure of meeting Father Juan Manuel Montoya Parra S.J. from the Fundación Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé. St. Bartholomew Major College is the oldest school in Bogotá and was founded in 1604! Father Juan is passionate about his work providing students with overseas experiences. This lead to a productive dialogue on ways New Zealand and Colombia could collaborate on exchange programmes in the future.

Latin American Insights from Across the Ditch

Smart thinking around business and the importance of being globally competent was to the fore when I met Craig Dempsey, the Australian owner of BizLatinHub. Operating in several countries across Latin America, BizLatinHub provides on-the-ground support services and advice for organisations looking to expand into Latin America.

It can be difficult at times to find high-quality information for New Zealand firms looking to do business in Latin America, so BizLatinHub are providing an important information service in this area.


Please see the BizLatinHub recent blog “Benefits of New Zealand and Latin America Trade”. Latin America may not be the first place New Zealand businesses consider as part of their international expansion, given many look to Asia as an export market. However, there has been a significant increase in entrepreneurial growth in Latin America and investment from some of the world’s biggest brands, who have identified lucrative market opportunities in the region. Watch this space as we look to feature peak business intel from Latin America, in collaboration with BizLatinHub and other providers in future newsletters.

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