Member of the Month - H.E Jo Tyndall

Author: Monica Portillo

This month we had the honor to sat down with NZ Chamber Patron, H.E Jo Tyndall to learn a little more about our new High Commissioner to Singapore.

Company and Position:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore

Briefly, what is your role?

As High Commissioner, I’m the NZ government’s most senior representative in Singapore. That means I have a responsibility for promoting and looking after NZ’s interests across the board – our political, trade and economic, defence and security, science and innovation, and people-to-people relationships with Singapore. The team in the High Commission here works constantly to build and deepen our understanding of Singapore, how it fits in the region, and what the opportunities this presents for New Zealand.  I am also accredited to the Maldives.

Any advice for doing business in Singapore and/or the region?

It takes only a nano-second to realise that Singapore is a sophisticated market, but one that is very open and therefore easy to do business with. I’d also encourage businesses to think about Singapore’s role as a hub in the region and therefore a springboard to a range of other markets, and not just an end-point in itself. 

There’s a fantastic NZTE team here at the High Commission working hard to promote NZ trade and investment opportunities both for Singapore and for the wider region.

When did you move to Singapore? Where from?

I arrived in Singapore in late February and started work less than 24 hours after touching down. For the last (nearly) nine years, I’d been MFAT’s Climate Change Ambassador. That role was based in Wellington, but involved an unrelenting round of travel (anywhere from New York, Paris or Berlin to Dushanbe, Lilongwe or Svalbard), meaning I am intimately familiar with the transit lounge at Changi airport.

Where were you born? What country do you call home?

I am Wellington born but not bred, having grown up largely in Christchurch, where my memories are of skiing, kayaking, and tramping through beech forests and along alpine river beds near Arthurs Pass.  NZ is still therefore “home”

What do you like most about Singapore?

The surprise of how green the “city in a garden” is, despite the density of housing within its tiny footprint. It’s compact, but contains everything (except skiing), and it’s got the rest of South East Asia on its doorstep, ready for more adventurous exploration.

What do you do to relax?

Long and brisk walks with my dog – but that’s more of a challenge here because (a) the heat is very enervating, and (b) my dear little dog stayed behind in Wellington (he’s 15 and I figured a one-way trip wasn’t fair on him). I love to cook, but as High Commissioner there are precious few opportunities to indulge that passion!

 What's top of your bucket list?

I’m trying to tick off at least one “must-do” each weekend. Check my Twitter feed (@jotyndallNZ)

Why did you join the New Zealand Chamber (Singapore) and what do you like most about it?

The NZ Chamber is a great way to connect with a really diverse group of NZers here in Singapore, as well as many Singaporean friends of NZ. I was honoured and delighted to be asked to take on the mantle of Patron following my predecessor Jonathan Austin’s departure from Singapore. Maybe it was an unusually busy month, but I was impressed that the Chamber managed to convene four very well-attended events (launching the Maia Network, a Beehive Briefing with Hon Shane Jones, a Breakfast of Champions with Portia Woodman, and the regular Kiwi Networking Drinks at the amazing Skai bar on 70th floor of the Swissotel) within the first four weeks of my being here.