Last updated in October 2018
On 10 November 2018, Germany and New Zealand celebrated the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Over the course of more than 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 President Steinmeier visited New Zealand from 5 to 7 November 2017, while Federal Chancellor Merkel visited the country from 13 to 14 November 2014, before attending the G20 summit in Australia. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Federal Chancellor Merkel met in Berlin on 17 April 2018. New Zealand Parliament Speaker David Carter travelled to Munich and Berlin in April 2015 and German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert paid a return visit to New Zealand in October 2016.
Bilateral trade relations between New Zealand and Germany are unproblematic. A double taxation agreement signed in 1978 has been in force since 1980. For more than 30 years, the New Zealand German Business Association (NZGBA) in Auckland has served 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 Trade and Enterprise, a government agency based in Hamburg.
In 2017, Germany ranked sixth among New Zealand’s trading partners. New Zealand’s principal exports to Germany are agricultural and forestry products, in particular mutton and game, fruit, dairy products and wool. Its main imports from Germany are motor vehicles, machinery and pharmaceutical products. In 2015, New Zealand ranked 65th among buyers of German exports and 66th among suppliers of German imports. Germany records a balance of trade surplus with New Zealand.
German tourists are important to New Zealand. Around 100,000 Germans visit New Zealand every year, making them one of the biggest groups of tourists.
Scientific and academic relations
Germany is one of New Zealand’s principal cooperation partners in research and technology, along with the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Since the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement was concluded in December 1977, scientists from both countries have been cooperating in numerous joint research projects. 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the agreement. Bilateral scientific consultations are due to take place in late October 2018.
Outstanding examples of research cooperation between Germany and New Zealand are, 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 joint graduate programme INTERCOAST – Integrated Coastal Zone and Shelf‑Sea Research between the Universities of Bremen and Waikato, which was launched in February 2010. 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) on conducting 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 academics to spend time in New Zealand as guest researchers. The DAAD has seconded a lector in German to the University of Auckland. Together with the German Embassy and the Goethe-Institut, 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 advice 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 research award, the Rutherford Medal, by the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ). The German research vessel SONNE regularly operates in New Zealand waters. In early 2017 the 40th anniversary of the bilateral Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement was celebrated in Auckland with an open ship day on the research vessel SONNE.
Bilateral cultural relations are intensive and wide‑ranging. Cultural life in New Zealand boasts a particularly vibrant festival scene for all types of performing arts (including the off cultural scene). German artists appear at many of the country’s festivals.
The Wellington-based Goethe Institute is the principal mediator of German language and culture in New Zealand. Besides offering language courses, each year it organises a wide range of cultural events in cooperation with local partners. In addition, the Goethe Societies in Auckland, Waikato and Wellington help to foster German language and culture.
There are five partner schools in New Zealand belonging to the Schools: Partners for the Future network (PASCH) that give special priority to German teaching.
Since 2000, the Working Holiday Programme has enabled young people to finance stays of up to twelve months in the partner country by taking a vacation job there. This gives them the opportunity to learn something about each other’s culture and everyday life. Every year, some 16,000 young Germans travel around New Zealand under this programme.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its Contents.