Last updated in June 2015
On 10 November 2013, Germany and New Zealand celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Over a period of six decades, a relationship of mutual trust has developed, not least owing to the two countries’ very often taking similar positions on international issues. A regular dialogue has been established between the two countries at various levels. Federal Chancellor Merkel visited New Zealand from 13 to 14 November 2014, before attending the G20 summit in Australia. New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier in Berlin in March 2014. The Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, David Carter, travelled to Munich and Berlin in April 2015.
Economic relations are good. A double taxation agreement was signed as early as 1978. The New Zealand German Business Association (NZGBA) in Auckland, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in November 2013, acts as a local German foreign chamber of commerce. On request, it brokers contacts with New Zealand business partners and conducts market analyses. New Zealand’s business community is represented in Germany by New Zealand’s Hamburg-based governmental organisation New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.New Zealand’s principal exports to Germany are meat products (mainly mutton and game), dairy products and wool. Its main imports from Germany are motor vehicles, machinery of all kinds and medical and pharmaceutical products. In 2014, Germany ranked seventh among New Zealand’s most important trading partners in goods, and first among EU countries. According to Statistics New Zealand, nearly 79,000 Germans visited New Zealand in 2014, putting Germany in sixth place among countries of origin.
Along with the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, Germany is one of New Zealand’s principal cooperation partners in science and technology. Since the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation was concluded in December 1977, scientists from both countries have been cooperating in numerous joint research projects. In February 2007, the provisions of this agreement were reaffirmed by the two countries’ research ministers, the following priority areas being defined for future cooperation: health, food/agriculture, biotechnology, the environment, marine and Antarctic research and, since 2010, renewable energy. In 2013/14, New Zealand’s government pumped more research funding into bilateral scientific projects with Germany than with any other country.
Outstanding examples of research cooperation include, in the area of geosciences, the institutional partnership GENESYS between the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam and New Zealand’s Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS), and the project INTERCOAST – Integrated Coastal Zone and Shelf-Sea Research between the Universities of Bremen and Waikato, which was launched in February 2010. There are numerous cooperation projects in the area of Antarctic and marine research and a ring laser project between the Technical University of Munich and the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. In early 2008, the New Zealand-German Science Circle was officially launched, an intergovernmental initiative featuring lectures by prominent scientists that is designed to further promote mutual understanding in research matters. On the sidelines of Federal Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Auckland in November 2014, the University of Auckland and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct a research project on preventive ergonomics and rehabilitation measures. Another partnership, in production engineering, between the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA and the Universities of Auckland and Stuttgart is in the advanced proposal phase.
There are numerous German scientists and academics working at universities and research institutions in New Zealand. The German side awards a large number of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships and an above-average number of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarships to New Zealanders. Conversely, in 2004 New Zealand launched the Julius von Haast Fellowship Fund with the specific aim of promoting the exchange of researchers between Germany and New Zealand. This programme enables German researchers to spend time in New Zealand as guest researchers. The DAAD has seconded a lecturer in German to the University of Auckland. Together with the German Embassy and the Goethe Institute, he provides information and advice on scholarships and on Germany as a study and research destination. Conversely, the Institut Ranke-Heinemann in Essen and Berlin represents all of New Zealand’s universities. It offers independent counselling free of charge on all questions relating to studying in New Zealand. In November 2014, Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger, a German chemist engaged in research at Massey University in Auckland, was presented with New Zealand’s top researchaward, the Rutherford Medal, by the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ).
Since 1 December 2000, the Working Holiday Programme has enabled young people to finance stays of up to twelve months in the partner country by taking on a vacation job there. This gives them the opportunity to learn something about each other’s culture and everyday life. In the 2014-2015 fiscal year (from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015), the New Zealand side issued some 11,000 Working Holiday visas to young Germans. In addition, some 3,500 German students attend schools and universities in New Zealand.
The Wellington-based Goethe Institute is an important mediator of German language and culture. Besides offering language courses, it organises each year a wide range of cultural events in cooperation with local partners. In addition, the Goethe Societies in Auckland and Wellington help to foster German language and culture.
There are five partner schools belonging to the Schools: Partners for the Future network (PASCH) in New Zealand. The network links schools that give special priority to German teaching. The fifth PASCH school was opened in May 2013 at a ceremony attended by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
In 2013, a series of events was held in New Zealand to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Germany. It was co-organised by the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, the New Zealand German Business Association, the DAAD and the Goethe Societies. The events included concerts, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and video competitions for schools as well as the screening of the film “Far Apart – Close at Heart”, which was commissioned by the German Embassy in Wellington to mark the anniversary. In November 2013, an exhibition on 60 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and New Zealand went on show in the atrium of Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.New Zealand’s very active remembrance of the First World War includes remembering the heavy casualties on the battlefields and the suffering on the home front. The high point of this year’s commemorative events was ANZAC Day (a memorial day to honour the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on 25 April 2015, which marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Gallipoli. Since 2014, numerous projects and events have taken place in New Zealand to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and these are continuing in 2015. One such event was a children’s football tournament held on 10 December 2014 to commemorate the 1914 Christmas Truce (the so-called Game of Truce), when the weapons remained silent on parts of the Western Front. The tournament, in which students from schools in the Wellington area participated, was jointly organised by the British, French and German embassies.