Traditionally NZ has had little to do with the “Hermit Kingdom” since we sent troops to defend South Korea from a northern invasion in the early ’50s.
This country only established diplomatic relations with North Korea in March 2001.
However for many years North Korea has had a small band of supporters in this country, busily beavering away to paint Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s tyranny in the best possible light.
Their main vehicle has been the DPRK/New Zealand Friendship Society, founded in 1974 by a group of Maoist student radicals, geriatric Marxist economist Wolfgang Rosenberg and Porirua based “clergyman“, Don Borrie.
I partially credit the Society with paving the way for the opening of NZ/NK diplomatic relations and other overtures from the NZ Government.
Certainly I think it was significant that then Labour MP, Graham Kelly led a delegation to North Korea in July 2001 as Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Defence Committee that included representatives of the DPRK/New Zealand Friendship Society.
The Society’s offshoot, the NZ Korea Peace Committee has also continued this work.
I thought it might be timely to profile some of North Korea’s friends in New Zealand.