Melissa Chan-Green – A West Papuan human rights activist has questioned why Indonesia organised an expo for Pacific leaders to gather in Auckland on Friday.
But Indonesian officials say they feel very much part of the region and want to strengthen those ties.
The Pacific Exposition comes amid ongoing violent conflict between the Indonesian administration and Papuans seeking independence, but Indonesia's Foreign Minister is adamant its relationship with the Pacific is rocking along fine.
Speeches emphasised Indonesia's Pacific links, and leaders across the region, including Winston Peters, were also happy to bang that drum.
Outside, a small group of protestors say they represent concerns that Indonesian officials organised the expo to try and control the narrative about its relationship with the Pacific.
"I think this is something Indonesia trying to make the issues not focussed on the human rights situation but more focussed on the economic development," activist Rosa Moiwend said.
West Papua was not an issue the Indonesian Ambassador wanted to discuss.
"No we are not talking about politics here – we are talking about [the] economy, we are talking about tourism and we talk about investment," Indonesia ambassador Tantowi Yahwa said when questioned by Newshub.
There are high-level talks going on at the expo – with 17 ministers and more than 350 Government delegates from across the Pacific and Indonesia in attendance, including one from New Zealand.
We do have ideas and plans [on] how we can help Melanesia have a more comfortable relationship where Indonesia is concerned and we've got to work on that," New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.
He said he will raise those plans behind closed doors.