Michael Powles has headed New Zealand diplomatic posts in the Pacific (Fiji) and Asia (Indonesia and China) and more recently he was Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and then Ambassador to the United Nations. He was then appointed a Human Rights Commissioner. In 2002 he became Founding Chairman of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.
He has written and lectured on Pacific and Asian affairs and on international legal and human rights issues. He edited Pacific Futures (Pandanus Books, 2006) which brought together predominantly Pacific Island viewpoints on options for the Pacific’s future – political, economic and social.
He has lived and worked in China recently and remains an Adjunct Research Fellow of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai. A Pacific perspective of the rise of China is due for publication shortly.