17.06.2021, 14:58

Ambassador Ao Dai highlights cultural ties between Vietnam and New Zealand

Ambassador of New Zealand to Vietnam Tredene Cherie Dobson has worn a beautiful ao dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) - a collaboration between two countries' artists.



President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on June 16, held separate meetings with ambassadors of New Zealand, Argentina, Pakistan, and Romania who came to present their credentials. Photo: VNA

Presenting credentials is always a special occasion for an ambassador, but this was extra special for Ambassador Dobson because she could wear a beautiful collaboration between New Zealand and Vietnamese artists.

According to the New Zealand Embassy, this was the ambassador’s first experience wearing a traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai – created by Quyen Nguyen and painted with a design by a young New Zealand artist, RaeRae Hemara.

Hemera is an art student living in Whangarei in New Zealand – with whakapapa (ancestral) ties to Ngāpuhi, Ngati Wharara, Ngati Kaharau, Te Uri Taniwha, Ngati Hineira, and also Samoa.



President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and Ambassador of New Zealand Tredene Cherie Dobson. Photo: VNA


Dobson, a career diplomat since 2003, has previously served as New Zealand’s Ambassador to Iraq. She has also had previous postings in Indonesia and South Korea. Photo: VNA



Not only does her ao dai honors the national cultural beauty, but the designs also display cultural exchange with New Zealand. Source: Zing News


Māori culture is a rich tradition carried out for 100's of years in New Zealand. Source: Zing News

The ambassador commissioned the design around the theme of connectivity. And the final collaboration connects both New Zealand to Vietnam and the ambassador.

She is Māori, to her tūrangawaewae (place to stand), revealed in the five peaks of her mountain, Mount Manaia in Te Tai Tokerau (in the far north of New Zealand), which can be seen in the five triangles depicted in the design. The design also connects New Zealand and Vietnam through the beautiful lotus flower.

The ambassador is also wearing a Korowai – a traditional Māori cloak woven by traditional Ngāpuhi weavers – which the ambassador also has links to.

The ambassador traces her own whakapapa to Patuharakeke through her Father and Tainui through her Mother.

“Wearing this beautiful piece of art – this collaboration between two amazing young female artists, one in New Zealand and one in Vietnam – it just makes me feel incredibly proud. It is a privilege to serve as New Zealand’s Ambassador to Vietnam, and wearing my ao dai with its stunning Māori design and Korowai today – genuinely connects me to these two incredible countries,” shared Dobson.

At a reception, the ambassador pledged to make every effort to contribute to strengthening the bilateral relations and support Vietnamese firms to access the New Zealand market.


According to information from New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade's website, Before her appointment, Dobson managed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s International Security Policy Unit. In this role, Dobson led New Zealand’s engagement on a wide range of security policy issues, including counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism, defense deployments and policy, cybersecurity and space policy, irregular migration, and maritime security.

From 2019 – until June 2020, Dobson was New Zealand’s Ambassador to Iraq. From 2012 to 2016, Dobson was Deputy Head of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta and New Zealand’s Mission to ASEAN. Before that, she managed the Ministry’s Oceans and Environment Law Unit in the Ministry’s Legal Division. She was New Zealand’s senior legal adviser on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Dobson’s first posting was in Seoul, South Korea.

Dobson has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree (First Class) in Political Studies from Otago, New Zealand. She speaks Indonesian and is proficient in German and Korean. She has whakapapa links to Patuharakere in Te Tai Tokerau and Tainui.


Hannah Nguyen