Opening of the Czech consulate in Auckland
Marrying the daughter of a Baťa shoe designer has culminated in an Auckland lawyer, Gregory Shanahan, being named the first Auckland Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic.
The consulate is now based at Rudd Watts and Stone´s Auckland offices and was opened by the visiting Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Palouš.
Mr. Shanahan met his wife Vlasta Vlček, at Victoria University, and through her became involved in the closeknit Czech community in Wellington at the time.
Mr. Shanahan´s father in law, Josef Vlček, was principal designer for the Czech shoe company, Baťa, after he moved to Wellington with his family in the late 1950s.
Mr. Shanahan was nominated by the Wellington Honorary Consul, Miroslav (Mirek) Paulik, a friend of Mr. Shanahan and his wife.
"When I lived in Wellington I got to know Mirek. I speak a limited number of Czech words, but I have been involved with the Czech community for a long time and Mirek asked if he could put my name forward," Mr. Shanahan said.
He was interviewed by senior officals during a visit to Prague last year, and the appointment was comfirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Jan Kavan, last month.
Mr. Shanahan´s foraqy into foreign affairs carries on a family tradition. His father, Foss Shanahan, with two others, established the Foreign Service (now the Ministry of Foreign Aaffairs and Trade). His brother Paul Shanahan has held a number of diplomatic postings overseas and is presently a senior official with the World Trade Organisation based in Geneve, Switzerland.
Mr. Shanahan said the Czech Republic vas keen to foster business relationships with Auckland businesses and the community in general.
"The Czech Republic and New Zealand have similar opportunities in developing their engineering, IT and film industries among others. Prague is also one of learning, going back to Roman times, and we see huge potential for students exchanges and tourism links betveen the two countries."
While trade with the republic is small, Mr Shanahan believes it will incerease as international trade is encouraged and the republic forms new trade alliances. His role is to encourage exchange of information, helping Czech visitors and migrants to adapt to New Zealand, and, through Rudd Watts´ network in the New Zealand business community, act as a catalyst for increasing trade with the Czech Republic.
Originaly published in Law News -- July 20, 2001
Střípky -- Čriepky, časopis Čechů, Moravanů, Slezanů a Slováků na Novém Zélandě číslo 8, srpen 2001
At the opening of the Czech consulate at Rudd Watts and Stone´s offices 11. 7. 2001 were: (from left to right) Dr. Martin Palouš, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic; Gregory Shanahan, the new Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for Auckland; Josef Sládek, Ambassador of the Czech Republic.
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