Ambassador James Kember took up his duties as Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the OECD on 6 November 2014.
Mr. Kember obtained a Bachelor of Arts with honours from Wellington University and a PhD in London in 1976.
Mr. Kember started his professional career in 1977 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he held several important positions: in 1977 he was nominated Third Secretary, External Division Aid; in 1978 Third, then Second Secretary at the New Zealand Commission in Hong Kong; from 1980 to 1982, he is appointed Second Secretary at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing; from 1982 to 1984 he occupies a post within the Asian Division in China; in 1985 Mr. Kember is nominated Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, then in 1986 Consul at the New Zealand Consulate-General in Nouméa, New Caledonia.
In 1989 Mr. Kember served as First Secretary at the New Zealand permanent Mission to the United Nations, and then from 1993 to 1994 he is Deputy-Director at the United Nations and Commonwealth Division. In 1994 he was appointed Private Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1997 he served as High Commissioner at the New Zealand High Commission in Rarotonga, Cook Islands then in 1998 Consul-General in Hong Kong, China.
From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Kember served as Director and Associate Professor of the New Zealand Asia Institute of Wellington University; from 2004 to 2006 he was nominated Director of Information and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; in 2006 he was appointed Ambassador in Ha Noi and in 2009 Director, United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
From January 2011 until his nomination as Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the OECD, Mr. Kember was Ambassador to the African Union and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with cross-accreditations to Djibouti, Rwanda, Seychelles and Uganda.
Ambassador Kember is married to Ms. Alison Kember.