Last updated in February 2013
In 2013, Germany and New Zealand are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on 10 November 1953. Over a period of more than six decades now, 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 Foreign Minister Westerwelle visited Auckland in June 2011. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key travelled to Hamburg and Berlin in June 2012 and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English visited Hamburg and Frankfurt in October 2012 to coincide with New Zealand’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In January 2013, New Zealand Minister of Trade Tim Groser attended the International Green Week in Berlin. The celebrations marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries will form part of New Zealand’s already lively cultural scene. The 60th anniversary events, which are being jointly organized by the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, the New Zealand German Business Association, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Goethe Society, will include concerts, exhibitions, workshops and lectures as well as video competitions for students of New Zealand’s schools and PR events.
Economic relations are straightforward. A double taxation agreement was signed as early as 1978. The New Zealand-German Business Association in Auckland 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 the Hamburg-based governmental organization New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
New Zealand’s major 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. Germany ranks eighth among New Zealand’s principal trading partners, and second among EU countries. Numbering 66,000 annually, German tourists rank sixth in New Zealand’s statistics.
Along with the US, 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, production engineering.
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. In addition, 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 10 November 2013, Germany and New Zealand are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. For 2013, the German Embassy in Wellington is organizing a series of events to mark the occasion in cooperation with the cultural intermediaries active there: the Goethe Institute, the New Zealand German Business Association, the DAAD and the Goethe Society.
The series of events kicked off in early February with a concert by the Minguet Quartet in Wellington, which was co-organized by the Goethe Institute and the German Embassy. Other events included, in late February, a joint scientific workshop in New Zealand, co-organized by the University of Bremen and the University of Waikato as part of the INTERCOAST International Graduate School, which is being co-funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and New Zealand institutions, and a lecture organized by the German Embassy as a New Zealand-German Science Circle event. Other events, planned for May 2013, are a major alumni meeting in Wellington, a concert by the Rhineland-Palatinate Youth Orchestra and a gala evening being organized by the New Zealand German Business Association to coincide with its 30th anniversary. Various exhibitions mounted by the Goethe Institute, a GI video competition for students of New Zealand’s schools and a Goethe Society panel discussion at Victoria University of Wellington will round off the series of events. Together with the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin and a Berlin advertising agency, the German Embassy in Wellington has developed a 60th anniversary logo that will be used by both embassies throughout the anniversary year. A special New Zealand postage stamp featuring this logo has already been issued. In late 2013, an exhibition on 60 years of German-New Zealand relations is to be held in the Federal Foreign Office atrium in Berlin.
Since 1 December 2000, the so-called 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. Every year, close to 8,000 young Germans take advantage of this opportunity. 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 organizes each year a wide range of cultural events in cooperation with local partners. In addition, the Goethe Societies in the major cities help to cultivate German language and culture.
There are also numerous German academics and scientists working at New Zealand’s universities and research institutions.
While the German side awards many German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarships and an above-average number of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarships to New Zealanders, in 2004 the New Zealand side launched the Julius von Haast Fellowship Programme with the specific aim of promoting the exchange of researchers between Germany and New Zealand. This programme enables German scientists and academics to spend time in New Zealand as guest researchers. The University of Auckland has a DAAD-seconded German lecturer who, together with the German Embassy and the Goethe Institute, advises on questions relating to scholarships and on studying and researching in Germany. 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.