Germany and New Zealand established diplomatic relations in 1953 and over the course of the last six decades the two countries have formed a partnership marked by close mutual trust. This partnership is based not least on shared interests and values and it has made the two countries like‑minded partners in international affairs, trade, research and cultural exchange. Germany and New Zealand have cultivated these good relations with numerous high‑level visits. Following Chancellor Merkel’s visit in 2014, President Steinmeier paid a state visit to New Zealand in 2017. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last travelled to Germany in April 2018, where she met Chancellor Merkel, among others.
Economic relations between the two countries are excellent. The German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (GNZCC) has been operating for 30 years now. New Zealand’s business community is represented in Germany by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise based in Hamburg. The German Asia‑Pacific Business Association in Hamburg has regular committee meetings on New Zealand.
Germany is New Zealand’s second most important trading partner within the EU. New Zealand, in turn, ranks 59th among Germany’s global 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.
Furthermore, Germany supports the conclusion of a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union. There have been ongoing negotiations to this end since 2019.
Since 2000, the Working Holiday Programme between Germany and New Zealand has enabled young people to stay between one and twelve months in either country to take up a vacation job. This offers them the opportunity to finance their own stay and to get to know the culture and everyday life of the host country. Every year, some 16,000 young Germans travel around New Zealand under this programme.
Cultural and academic relations are also good. Thanks to the work of the Goethe-Institut and other cultural institutions as well as numerous cooperation arrangements between universities, there is a vibrant exchange between the two countries.