India and New Zealand
The ties that bind us

Graeme Waters looks at the shared histories of New Zealand and India and the commonalities that link the two countries.

About the author

A graduate of Canterbury University, Graeme Waters is a former New Zealand diplomat who has twice served on postings in India – once as Deputy High Commissioner to Sir Edmund Hillary in the late 1980’s and as High Commissioner from 2004 to 2007.

Earlier he had also served as Ambassador to the Philippines and on postings in Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands and South Korea.

More recently Graeme acted briefly as a trade consultant for Fonterra during the botulism crisis and has been an international adviser to Auckland Zoo.

Graeme first visited India in 1980, when he was responsible for aspects of New Zealand’s development assistance programme in South Asia. His wife Audrey is of Indian descent, and they were engaged to be married in Fiji, Audrey’s country of birth. Their daughter Melissa met her husband Matthieu while staying in India, and their son Andrew proposed to his wife Loren – herself of Pakistani and English descent – on a houseboat in Kerala.

India is now thus firmly in the family blood. Next year he and Audrey plan to retrace Audrey’s ancestral family footsteps from Kerala to Fiji.