Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in New Zealand
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in New Zealand, August 2009 Photo by Archive
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Israel's first ambassador in New Zealand for eight years was jeered by a group of pro-Palestinian supporters when he arrived to present his credentials at Government House on Friday.

Shemi Tzur is the first resident ambassador in Wellington since 2002 when Israel withdrew its envoy because of financial restraints, leaving relations in the hands of its senior diplomat in Australia.

The Wellington Palestine Group, which accuses Israel of crimes against the Palestinians, protested when Tzur arrived to present his credentials to Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand.

Tzur said his arrival marked a new era in relations between the two countries.

New Zealand froze diplomatic relations in 2004 when two Israelis were jailed for obtaining false New Zealand passports.

Israel's then-foreign minister Silvan Shalom formally apologized for the men's activities in 2005, a move then-prime minister Helen Clark said was tacit recognition they were spies.

Israel did not confirm that the pair were members of its Mossad secret service.