JUAN ZARAMA PERINI/Stuff
EU Ambassador to New Zealand Nina Obermaier will wrap up her posting in November this year.
Nina Obermaier has been the European Union’s ambassador to Aotearoa New Zealand since 2019. Originally from Germany, she was the lead EU negotiator on issues related to Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations before coming to Wellington.
What part of Wellington do you live in, and why?
I live in Wadestown. I didn’t really have the choice because that comes with the job of an ambassador and the residence that we bought in 2016 happens to be in Wadestown.
My favourite thing about this part of Wellington is….
It’s amazing. It’s wonderful because of the views and it’s very close to Te Ahumairangi Hill, the best hill in Wellington.
What were your first impressions of Wellington?
What struck me when I arrived was the colour of the sky. I think the sky has got a blueness that you would only find in Lisbon in Portugal – the closeness to the sea really does something to the sky. Something that is very special to New Zealand that you’re never far from the ocean.
The other impression is that it’s very green – you’re always in the bush and wonderfully signposted hiking walks. The last one will not come as a surprise: it’s very windy
What do you think is Wellington’s best feature?
The best feature is definitely the fact that everything is walkable. I can walk to work – I couldn’t do that in Brussels. Doing that with a view of the ocean is just an incredible privilege.
The best meal in the region is…
The yum cha at Dragons is our family’s favourite. Wellington has got a lot of amazing Asian restaurants.
Not many people know this about Wellington but…
It’s a very good city for flags. There is a flag pole just in front of the residence and whenever I’ve got take a picture the flag is always nicely unfurled because of the wind.
My perfect Sunday morning is…
I usually do sports on Sunday so pilates in Petone, followed by a quick drop to The Dutch shop on Jackson St, then followed by either a walk along the beach or a breakfast at home.
You mentioned in an interview a few months back that New Zealand could be part of the Eurovision Song Contest, do you think Wellington has what it takes to take part?
Wellington definitely has the vibe to do that. To be in a good position to apply for participation you need to show grassroots enthusiasm, and I’m very pleased to hear that following the interview, there are some viewing parties in the making!