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Meeting the renewable energy challenge

4th February 2014 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 3 Comments

The Philippines may seem like an unlikely place for a collaboration between Iceland and New Zealand. But when it comes to geothermal energy, it is a partnership that makes perfect sense. Last week, I joined representatives of Icelandic company Orka Energy (www.orkaenergy.com) , and some of its New Zealand partners and personnel to travel to

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Returning to Leyte

15th November 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment

This blog has been posted on behalf of the Ambassador. It first appeared online in the Philippine Star newspaper on 14 November. Last weekend, I stared in stunned silence at the first accounts of humanitarian workers as they reported from Tacloban City following the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda. Three weeks to the day, I had been

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The Right to Know

29th October 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 2 Comments

The Right to Know I have followed with interest in recent months the public discussion on the Freedom of Information Bill that is currently being considered by the Philippine Congress.   Aspects of New Zealand’s experience with an Official Information Act, an early model of freedom of information legislation, may be of some relevance as the

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Kiwi birds over the Philippines

24th September 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment

Nearly everyone in the Philippines seems to know that New Zealand is home to more sheep than people, but I was recently surprised to learn that New Zealand has more helicopters per head of population than any other country, and around one aircraft for every 1000 people.  Or, to put it another way, one aircraft

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Pushing Water Uphill

13th September 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment

Sometimes small wins can give as much satisfaction as larger ones.  New Zealand’s development assistance to the Philippines is mostly focused on larger scale projects to support economic development and reduce poverty.  But we also have the flexibility to support each year some worthy small-scale projects up to a current maximum of 700,000 Philippine pesos

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The Haka boys of Tuloy Don Bosco

28th August 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment

In 1999 Fr. Rocky Evangelista wanted to expand his orphanage for young boys from its base in Makati, but he didn’t have a site. The Department of Social Welfare and Development awarded the Tuloy Foundation a lease on 4.5 hectares of land in Alabang, Muntinlupa. The only problem was that it was a rubbish dump.

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Sharing the Christchurch Experience

27th June 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 1 Comment

For the next fortnight in Manila, Filipino schoolchildren will have the chance to see earthquake-struck Christchurch through the eyes of their New Zealand counterparts. The “See Through My Eyes” exhibition coordinated by UNICEF New Zealand opened at the Yuchengco Museum on Friday 21 June.  The exhibition showcases photographs taken by 24 children from Christchurch which

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Gumboot Diplomacy

5th June 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 4 Comments

Although agricultural production in the Philippines is more often associated with tropical fruits, including the bananas stocked in New Zealand supermarkets, dairy farms are found across much of the country. Most dairy farmers in the Philippines have very small herds. The national herd numbers around 20,000 compared with over 6 million in New Zealand.  With

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Growing our IT exports: NZ expertise meets Philippine scale

3rd May 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 2 Comments

Put kiwi ingenuity together with a population of 100m people, including an educated English-speaking workforce, and you have an opportunity to grow New Zealand services exports, while also creating jobs in the Philippines. Wellington software design company Provoke is the latest New Zealand IT firm to open an office in Manila.  Provoke uses Microsoft technology

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Smoking Volcanoes

15th April 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 3 Comments

When the Philippine national rugby team lines up on Saturday against Japan, they will face the biggest test of their brief history. Since securing full membership of the IRB in 2008, and securing four promotions in the space of only five seasons, the Philippine Volcanoes are ready to make their Asian 5 Nations debut. Then

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