“From a young age, I had a strong sense of fairness. This drove me to study law at the University of Auckland. I saw this as a practical way to have an impact on justice and equity issues. I’ve always been fascinated by the world beyond Aotearoa, New Zealand, and different peoples and cultures. An internship with the New Zealand Aid Programme combined these interests and turned into a ten-year career at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Most of my work supported aid and development engagement with partners in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. I also served as a diplomat in Cairo, covering political, trade, and security issues in Algeria, Egypt, and Lebanon.
Representing Aotearoa, New Zealand, abroad is a huge privilege. I have been astounded by the generosity and openness with which I have been welcomed into new environments, from dairy farms in Algeria to government offices in Nepal and village meetings in Fiji. This gives me confidence in the overarching desire of people everywhere to collaborate, learn from and alongside each other, and improve outcomes for their communities and the world."Amanda Stark MPP ’23
In 2021, I joined a small MFAT team doing community outreach. We pursued causes I feel strongly about, such as enhancing the transparency of New Zealand’s foreign policy and development engagement in our Pacific region and drawing on the ideas, talents, and connections of Aotearoa, New Zealand, communities to enhance this work. At SPIA, I have had the time, support, and freedom to explore my interests in decolonizing international development practices and broader public policies and advancing justice and wellbeing through international collaboration and partnerships. I’m committed to public service work where I can incorporate diverse ideas and insights into how public services and policies are shaped and delivered to ensure these are responsive, resilient, and future-proofed for all communities they touch.”