I feel very lucky to be able to live and work in what I consider to be a truly unique pocket of the Pacific. New Zealand has a special relationship with Bougainville, and VSA continues to play a central role in strengthening this through contributing to locally-identified development needs. I am proud to work for an organisation where the kaupapa truly guides the work, and places the importance of relationships at core of everything it does.    

 After completing my Geography degree at the University of Otago, I was fortunate to gain a place on VSA’s UniVol Programme back in 2018-2019 and undertook an assignment with World Vision Papua New Guinea supporting their monitoring and evaluation of agriculture projects in Bougainville. During my time in Bougainville I had the privilege of building strong relationships with my work colleagues, the football club, and local church, all of which I have continued to maintain.  

 I have spent the last three years working for the New Zealand Ombudsman to build relationships and collaborate with Ombudsman and Human Rights Institutions across the Pacific. In that role I continued to grow my kete of knowledge through working with and learning from my Pacific colleagues.

 On the side, I recently completed a Master of International Relations at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University. My area of interest was looking at electoral systems in the Pacific, and specifically how traditional custom interacts with Western concepts of corruption and electoral bribery.

 Outside of work, you can find me with a fishing rod in hand exploring new waters around Bougainville, or running around the football field hoping to secure a contract in the PNG national league!

2023 Matt Lambie