Pacific Affairs minister Aupito William Sio meets Pope Francis


The Hon. Aupito William Sio has just returned from Europe where he had an audience with Pope Francis and represented New Zealand at COP23, the world’s most important climate change conference.

The Māngere electorate MP, who won his seat for the fourth time with another massive majority, is now the Minister for Pacific People and Associate Minister for Courts and of Justice.

“Never in my dreams did I imagine I would have this opportunity when I was sworn in as a new minister for this Labour-led Government,” he says.

He says his audience with the Pope, along with other ministers from governments around the Pacific was personally quite significant given his own upbringing.

“The meeting had been organised by the South Pacific Forum who were seeking His Holiness’ blessing before Forum members travelled to Bonn Germany for the Climate Change COP23 meetings,” Sio says. “As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was busy with trade and APEC meetings, it fell on myself and Minister James Shaw to represent New Zealand.

“It was a particularly poignant and heartfelt experience given my father is such a faithful Catholic who raised all of us in the Catholic religion.”

Pope Francis affirmed his desire to see world leaders combat climate change. Sio was one of New Zealand’s representatives at the South Pacific Forum, along with Minister for Climate Change James Shaw.


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