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Senior Officials' Meeting 1 media kit

Haere mai, welcome.

For the first time, New Zealand will host the entire APEC year virtually in 2021 and we are committed to providing media with access to everything they need to cover APEC 2021 remotely.

The first official meetings of New Zealand’s host year begin on Thursday 18 February, 2021 with the First Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM1) and related meetings. Senior Officials’ Meetings prepare for Ministerial Meetings and supervise working programmes to implement declarations and directives given by APEC Leaders and Ministers.

A virtual media conference will be held with the APEC 2021 SOM Chair and APEC Secretariat Executive Director on Thursday 11 March, 2021, where media based anywhere in the world will be able to ask about New Zealand’s host year, including the policy priorities for APEC 2021.

This media kit provides supporting media materials for SOM1, as well as a guide to registering and participating in the first APEC 2021 virtual media conference.

Contacting the media team

Media registration enquiries:

All other media enquiries, including interview requests:

Sign up for media updates by emailing, using the subject line ‘Media updates’. We will notify you when registration opens for each meeting cluster and share media content and story ideas throughout the year.

Official APEC 2021 channels


Social media: Follow along #APEC2021

Click here to view the APEC 2021 meeting calendar, which will be updated throughout the year.

APEC Secretariat channels


Social media:

SOM1: A guide for media

Media registration

All media who are part of an APEC media delegation must be registered by their economy’s Media Accreditation Officer, via the APEC 2021 Registration Portal.

If you are not part of an APEC media delegation, and wish to register as a media delegate, you will need to apply by emailing We will need the following information:

  • First name and surname
  • Email address
  • Media organisation
  • A photo of your business card; or an email or letter confirming your employment.

Once your application is approved, the APEC New Zealand team will contact you for further information to complete your registration. The APEC 2021 participant portal will provide media delegates with access to the SOM1 virtual media conference and any other parts of the SOM1 programme open to media. Media will need to be registered by Friday 05 March, 2021.

If you need assistance with the registration process at any stage, please contact

SOM1 virtual media conference

Time: 1:00pm NZDT time, Thursday 11 March, 2021

Focus: The media conference will be held as senior officials prepare for their final meeting day in the Senior Officials' Meetings 1 (SOM1) cluster. It will provide media with an opportunity to ask questions about how New Zealand will host APEC 2021 virtually, APEC 2021’s key deliverables and New Zealand’s policy priorities.


  • SOM Chair Vangelis Vitalis
  • APEC Secretariat Executive Director Dr Rebecca Sta Maria


  • Media log into the virtual media conference platform – from one hour before the media conference begins. Instructions will be supplied to all registered media.
  • A facilitator will explain how the media conference will work.
  • The SOM Chair’s opening remarks.
  • A 30 minute Q&A session will follow - a facilitator will direct media to ask their questions on-screen and then direct each question to the most appropriate speaker.
  • Registered media will be invited to submit questions before the media conference, but questions submitted via private chat during the media conference will also be accepted. Media allocated questions will be invited to ask their questions on-screen.

Media conference materials: After the close of the virtual media conference, registered media will be sent a link to download the following media materials:

  • A recording of the media conference.
  • Individual video files for each speaker during the virtual media conference, including media asking questions.
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and still imagery of the media conference in progress.

Media not registered for the media conference can request access to the media conference materials by emailing

New Zealand media: New Zealand-based media will have the option of participating in the media conference in person, in Wellington. There will also be an opportunity to take a tour of the APEC 2021 virtual hosting facilities, hosted by APEC New Zealand Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith, before the virtual meeting media conference begins. New Zealand-based media will be contacted by the APEC 2021 media team to confirm if they wish to participate in person, or virtually.

SOM 1 media conference participants

APEC New Zealand Deputy Secretary Andrea Smith

As Deputy Secretary of APEC New Zealand in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Andrea Smith is responsible for leading the all-of-government team that will deliver New Zealand’s APEC host year in 2021.

Prior to this role, she was Deputy Secretary for the Ministry’s Americas and Asia Group for five years, leading the management of New Zealand’s relationships with all the countries of Asia and North and South America. Ms Smith served as Ambassador to Turkey, Israel and Jordan and as Representative to the Palestinian Authority (2009 to 2011). She was also Director of the Ministry’s Pacific Division (2011-12) and was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as a Foreign Policy Advisor to then Prime Minister Helen Clark (2006-08).

SOM Chair 2021 - Vangelis Vitalis

Vangelis Vitalis is the APEC 2021 Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Chair for New Zealand’s host year. The SOM Chair is appointed by the host economy to facilitate the APEC policy agenda and coordinate the work of the Senior Officials. As hosts in 2021, New Zealand will chair the APEC Senior Officials Meetings.

Mr Vitalis is also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Deputy Secretary, Trade and Economic Group. He is an experienced negotiator, currently holding the role of Chief Negotiator for the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. Previously, he was the Chief Negotiator who concluded the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and, before that, in 2007-9 led the conclusion of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA).

APEC Secretariat Executive Director - Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria

Based at the APEC Secretariat in Singapore, Dr Rebecca Sta Maria advises and provides support for APEC’s 21 diverse member economies. Styled “Tan Sri Datuk” in her native Malaysia, where she was a top-level civil servant and trade negotiator, Dr Sta Maria played an integral role in Malaysia’s participation in multilateral trade and cooperation.

As Secretary-General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry she often represented Malaysia in Minister-level APEC meetings and she also oversaw the formulation of Malaysia’s positions in agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As representative to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr Sta Maria chaired the body that drafted ASEAN’s economic community blueprints for 2015 and 2025.

What happens at SOM1?

The first Senior Officials’ Meeting – commonly known as SOM1 – will bring together hundreds of government officials from each of the 21 APEC economies, along with their support teams.

As well as the Senior Officials’ Meeting, SOM1 also provides an important meeting place for APEC’s many committees and working groups – from the Digital Economy Steering Group to the Health Working Group. These working groups are the engine room of APEC, bringing together policy and subject matter experts to progress the important work in their areas.

At SOM1, work will also get under way on the Action Agenda – the plan for APEC to implement the Putrajaya Vision 2040, endorsed by APEC Leaders in 2020. This will be a major focus for economies throughout APEC 2021.

APEC 2021 policy priorities

New Zealand’s priorities were developed through many discussions with key stakeholders. They include elements of APEC’s previous and ongoing work and provide a space for continued dialogue on what are complex, long-term issues like sustainability in trade.

The policy priorities were also shaped by the COVID-19 crisis and are focused on bringing the region together to promote an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery.

The policy priorities are:

1. Economic and trade policies to strengthen recovery

This priority focuses on APEC’s economic response to COVID-19. It is about encouraging trade and economic policies that support openness and connectivity, and reduce friction at the border. The goal is to reduce barriers, making it easier for companies to trade and do business throughout the APEC region.

2. Increasing inclusion and sustainability for recovery

This priority acknowledges the need for APEC’s long-term response to COVID-19 to be sustainable and inclusive of all people. It is about enhancing the participation of groups such as women and indigenous people in the economy, and ensuring their contributions are valued. It will also ensure the region’s recovery can be used to improve sustainability outcomes, including in the area of climate change.

3. Pursuing innovation, and a digitally enabled recovery

The final priority focuses on APEC taking advantage of innovation in the digital space. Innovations can improve the way business is done, making it more efficient and adaptable so this priority is about encouraging APEC members to embrace open and competitive markets for new technologies.

APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040

At the APEC 2020 Leaders’ Meeting, hosted by Malaysia, APEC economies agreed the Putrajaya Vision 2040. It replaces the previous Bogor Goals, which guided APEC’s work up to 2020,  and outlines a vision of an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, for the prosperity of all people and future generations.

Guiding the development of an Action Agenda – the plan for APEC to  implement the Putrajaya Vision 2040, will be a key deliverable of New Zealand’s host year. This important work will shape the Asia Pacific region for the next two decades.


The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is a high level group of business leaders that advises APEC Leaders on priority issues for business in the region.

This connection with business across the Asia Pacific is a major strength of APEC’s work.

ABAC will provide a business voice at APEC meetings throughout 2021, and give a report to Leaders in November on issues of interest to the business community. The group’s first 2021 virtual meeting takes place on 09 February, 2021 .

Supporting media materials

Website content


Official media releases