Don Clarke

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Don Clarke

Don Clarke is a New Zealand public servant and activist. International Development Consultant, Monash University, Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand.

Lives in Bangkok, Thailand.


  • Studied International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington
  • Went to Kaikorai Valley College


Clarke against Compulsory Military Training

In 1971-76, Don Clarke was the Dunedin contact for the Organisation to Halt Military Service.

Involvement with NZUSA

In 1972, Clarke was the New Zealand University Students Association Welfare officer.

Support for Communist China

On April 5 1975, it was agreed, at an NZUSA meeting, that Clarke, a Dunedin Council of Organisations for the Relief Services Overseas (CORSO) activist, would be chairman for a 1975 Communist China trip selection panel.[1]

CORSO was dominated by the left.

In 1987, Clarke had become Vice-President of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand-China Friendship Society.

Support for Marxist Latin American regimes


It was reported in Socialist Action, the newspaper of the Trotskyist Socialist Action League, that on November 4 1983, Clarke, as part of CORSO, addressed a demonstration in Wellington, at the cenotaph, in which he condemned the U.S. invasion of Grenada, which saw the overthrow of the Marxist Revolutionary regime there.[2]


In 1987, Clarke, in support of the Marxist revolutionary Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, was on the first coffee bean picking brigade to that country.[3]

In January 1988, Clarke took part in another Nicaragua Work Brigade.

In 1987, the student newspaper Salient Number 4, carried an article on Nicaragua, by Carol Stevenson. It noted that for more information contact Don Clarke at CORSO or Gordon Campbell of the Latin America Committee.[4]

The Latin America Committee was Marxist dominated.

"Peace and justice" in Central America

In 1987, from July 18-19, Clarke spoke in Wellington at the South Pacific Conference for Peace and Justice in Central America.

Important figure in leftist aid agency

Clake had been involved with CORSO since atleast 1975, but by 1988, he had become their International Programmes Officer.

Keen interest in communist S.E. Asia regimes

Clarke and Vietnam

Around 1989, Clarke was on a list of names for the Vietnam Action and Information Network -(VAIN).

By 1990, Clarke was the VAIN spokesman.

On July 30 1990, an article written by Clarke appeared in the left-wing Tribune, entitled "U.S. drops Khmer Rouge", on the Cambodian crisis. He emplored people, through the Tribune, to join VAIN.[5]

Support for Cambodia also

In 1992, Clarke was the chairman for the Vietnam And Cambodia Support Network (VACSN) Newsletter Number 10.[6]

Clarke adds Laos to the list

Around 1994, Don Clarke produced, along with Bob Kerr and C.Kelly, the September issue of Vietnam Incorporating Cambodia And Laos Support Network News - (VICALSN).[7]

Producer of left-wing journal

In 1991, Clarke was the producer, (through the New Work Trust), of the Left Currents linked journal, called Labour Notes.

(Left Currrents comprised among its ranks, people of the former Maoist Workers Communist League).

Goodbye CORSO, hello OXFAM

In 1992, Clarke had become the Wellington contact for the aid-agency OXFAM.[8]

Clarke invovement with Council for International Development

From 1992-94, Clarke was the National co-ordinator of the Council for International Development.

By 1995, he was the executive officer of the CID.

Involvement with leftist BOOF organisation

In 1994, Clarke was described as a participant in the Building Our Own Futures - (BOOF) movement.[9]

Heavyweight in Commonwealth Foundation

In 1994, Clarke, by now age 42, was appointed as Deputy director of the Commonwealth Foundation, London. It is government funded to support unofficial Commonwealth organisations, Non-Government Organisations, Cultural and Voluntary organisations and so-on.[10]

Clarke attends CHOGM

By 1995, Clarke was by now considered sufficiently influential that he was able to attend the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) conference in Auckland.

Clarke's work with MFAT

NGO programme

In 2002, Clarke was, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, involved in a Non-Government Organisation programme.

Clarke an International Development specialist

In 2002, Clarke was by now an International Development specialist, the goals of which were "Civil Society, Human Rights, Social Impact and Development Research" under the Ministry of foreign Affairs and Trade.

Development research in NZAID

In the same year, Clarke was responsible for development research in the New Zealand Agency for International Development; a semi-autonimous agency of MFAT and had the task of developing the country's $230 million Overseas Aid programme which supports projects in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In 2004, Clarke was still working as an International Development Specialist, (under the "Civil Society" goal), once again under MFAT. (Indeed he was a former member of the Working Party).

Director of Global Group

In 2005, Clarke was becoming evermore influential in international development; he was now the director of the Global Group of NZAID.


  1. Canta Number 6 1975
  2. Socialist Action November 18 1983
  3. Salient Number 4 1987
  4. Salient Number 4 1987
  5. Tribune July 30 1990
  6. VACSN Number 10 1992
  7. VICALSN News September 1994
  8. OXFAM News Number 3 1992
  9. BOOF book 1994
  10. New Zealand Herald August 23 1994