An ambassador from Timaru to Turkey

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 16/07/2014
jonathan curr
NEW JOB: Timaru Boys' High School old boy Jonathan Curr is the new New Zealand ambassador for Turkey.

Relevant offers

Politics

Cancer patients travelling to Australia for treatment plead for Pharmac funding Ministry for Primary Industries 'too big' and putting manuka honey at risk - Labour Central Auckland millennials less likely to vote in the general election Corrections auditing transport fraudster Joanne Harrison, after finding she worked there Labour forced to rethink spending, tax policy after big Budget 'incomes' package Geoffrey Palmer: Social insurance scheme has turned into a lottery Warning after fraudster Joanne Harrison's doctored CV and mystery flights revealed Government sets aside $6m in budget to help build water resilience in Wellington Government accused of playing politics with Wellington's transport future Barclay says he will not let Lumsden Maternity Centre close

A Timaru social studies teacher inspired her student Jonathan Curr to follow a diplomatic career and last week he was officially appointed New Zealand's new ambassador to Turkey.

The 37-year-old former unit manager of the Middle East and Africa division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spent 18 months learning Arabic almost fulltime in preparation for the promotion.

It will see him accredited to Jordan, Israel, Georgia and Azerbaijan and be this country's representative to the Palestine Authority.

His main concerns in the Middle East are the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the rise of the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIL), and the huge refugee burden from Syria's civil war which have created instability.

"Watching the news last night, and the coverage of the current Gaza crisis, has underscored for me the centrality of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for my new role," Curr said. "New Zealand is a strong supporter of the Middle East peace process.

"As the new ambassador to Israel and representative to the Palestinian Authority, representing the government there will likely be among my more sensitive challenges in this volatile region."

It will not be the first time he has worked in a tense situation as he was in Cairo, Egypt in 2011 during the Arab Spring revolution.

"We were stopped by vigilantes with makeshift weapons demanding ID. They were very suspicious of foreigners."

Back in year 10 at Timaru Boys' High School he had been following a maths and science path but, after a discussion on the origins of World War I, he switched direction.

Completing honours in languages and politics at Canterbury University, he then joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed the New Zealand aid programme in the Cook Islands before taking up posts in Tonga and then Egypt.

A key focus for Curr in his new role will be helping to organise the Gallipoli 100-year commemorations next year and advancing New Zealand's trade and economic connections.

Ad Feedback

- The Timaru Herald

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content