New Zealand’s first Resident High Commissioner pays courtesy visit to Army Commander
New Zealand’s first newly appointed Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Michael Appleton August (13) paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Defense Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Center COVID-19 Outbreak Prevention Operations (NOCPCO), General Shavendra Silva after recently handing over his credentials to HE the President.
Upon arrival at the Army Headquarters, he was warmly received by the Military Secretary of the Army Headquarters, Major General Ajith Kolambathanthri before being taken to the commander’s office.
At the Commandant’s office, General Shavendra Silva warmly welcomed and greeted the first New Zealand Resident High Commissioner to visit Sri Lanka, HE Michael Appleton.
The discussions that followed focused largely on the healthy bilateral relations that prevail between the two countries, the military organizations and the possibilities for improvement with various training modules for the three servicemen in Sri Lanka.
General Silva gratefully acknowledged the understanding and cooperation extended by his New Zealand counterparts in the military in recent years and expressed his desire to further promote such ties in the future.
Towards the end of the interaction, General Shavendra Silva presented a souvenir to New Zealand’s envoy to Sri Lanka, HE Michael Appleton and wished him good luck in his future endeavors.
Before his departure, the visiting New Zealand High Commissioner inquired about the status quo of COVID-19 control in Sri Lanka from General Shavendra Silva, who is also the head of NOCPCO.
His Excellency Michael Appleton placed a commendation in the commander’s office guestbook before he left Army headquarters. The High Commissioner was accompanied by HE the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Andrew Traveler. Here is a brief profile of the new High Commissioner:
HE Michael Appleton has been a career diplomat since 2005, and was appointed New Zealand’s first Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Michael has a long association with South Asia, including Sri Lanka, and is eager to forge New Zealand’s political, security, economic, sporting and cultural ties with the region.
From 2019 to 2021, he was Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor to two New Zealand Foreign Ministers: Rt Hon Winston Peters and Hon Nanaia Mahuta. In this role, which coincided with New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael provided advice on a full range of foreign policy issues to the New Zealand foreign minister. Before the pandemic, he traveled extensively with Foreign Minister Peters, including to Asia and the United States.
HE Michael held senior diplomatic positions related to Asia and the Pacific from 2015 to 2018, as Senior Advisor for South and South East Asia, then Head of Unit for Regional Organizations in the Pacific and regional geopolitical issues. In the latter role, Michael was responsible for organizing New Zealand’s engagement with the Pacific Islands Forum, including coordinating our delegation to the Forum leadership meetings in Samoa in 2017 and in Nauru in 2018. This role involved addressing complex geostrategic challenges, including assisting New Zealand. to navigate in a more contested strategic space.
HE Michael’s previous offshore roles have included assignments in India (2014-15), United States (2011-13) and Timor-Leste (2007). As New Zealand’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, HE Michael was heavily involved in New Zealand’s response to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, after which a significant number of New Zealanders had need consular assistance. As a member of the political team at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, Michael has been involved in improving our political / security relationship with the United States. While in Dili, Timor-Leste – a period when New Zealand had a military and police presence in the country – Michael participated with local and United Nations authorities in the conduct of elections in the country.
Prior to becoming a diplomat, HE Michael worked on media issues, as a journalist, editor and parliamentary press secretary. He holds a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, with a thesis on the political loyalties of young British Muslims, and a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in International Relations from Victoria University of Wellington.
He is married to Dr Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, and they have a three-year-old son, Samraj. Outside of work and family, Michael’s main interests are international cricket (especially the Black Caps) and political elections / polls.