Faking it til you make it as a diplomat

By Alison Duncan

Having done diplomatic postings to Jakarta and Honiara, I’ll be honest and say that Wellington seemed like a pretty boring option.

But after meeting a handsome Kiwi in the Solomon Islands, it came to pass that, in 2015, I followed that well-trodden path of Aussies who move to NZ for love.

Fortunately, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade saw fit to give me a posting. Unfortunately, the only job at my level was an economic and trade one. An area in which I had, at that time, very little experience or interest.

Continue reading

Podcast: Playwrights vs Novelists – In Conversation with Joanna Murray-Smith

Welcome to Trans-Tasman Tales, the free podcast by the Australian High Commission in New Zealand.

In today’s episode we’re joined by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, whose play Switzerland is currently being performed at Circa Theatre Wellington. In this episode she discusses playwrights and novelists, gives advice to aspiring writers and answers the age old question – is the humble pav Australian and Kiwi?


The full episode is available here.

Podcast: Women in Leadership Speaker Series – Glass Half Smashed

Welcome to Trans-Tasman Tales, the free podcast by the Australian High Commission in New Zealand.

On 4 October 2017, The Australian High Commission hosted its Women in Leadership Speaker Series, with Kate McKenzie, Joan Withers and Ann Sherry AO. Hosted by Alison Duncan, the three speakers discuss women, leadership and whether that ceiling is still intact.


The full episode is available here.

Women in Leadership Speaker Series

Women in Business: Glass Half Smashed?

On 4 October, the Australian High Commission hosted a Women in Leadership panel discussion with three inspirational business leaders. From risk-taking and life-long learning to realising you can’t do it all, listen to Ann, Joan and Kate share their wisdom and humour with 250 of our closest friends.

The panel:

Ann Sherry AO

CEO of Carnival Australia and Director of Sydney Airport, Infrastructure Victoria, Australian Rugby, ING Direct Australia and Australian Indigenous Education Foundation

Joan Withers

Chair of Mercury and The Warehouse Group, Director of ANZ

Kate McKenzie

CEO of Chorus 

The Battle of the Somme – 100 years on

Alison Duncan

Aust memorial

Two years ago, I undertook a pilgrimage to the Somme with my Kiwi fiancé and our baby son. I’m not a religious person and I don’t bandy about the term ‘pilgrimage’.  But as the great granddaughter of a Somme veteran and the fiancée of a former New Zealand army officer, there was indeed something of the spiritual in our passage around those beautiful green fields of France.

Continue reading

Public policy lessons from across the ditch

Alison LinkedinThis week’s blog is by Alison Duncan. Alison heads up the economic and trade team at the Australian High Commission in New Zealand. She has previously served in Indonesia and Solomon Islands. 

She undertook ANZSOG’s Executive Master in Public Administration  from 2013-14.  In 2015, she was awarded a Young Public Sector Leader Award by the Institute of Public Administration of Australia in recognition of her academic and professional achievements. Continue reading