U.S. Relations With New Zealand

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 26, 2016

More information about New Zealand is available on the New Zealand Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The U. S. diplomatic presence in New Zealand dates back to the commissioning of the first U.S. Consul in 1838. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1942, following the United Kingdom's recognition of New Zealand's domestic and external autonomy within the British Empire. During World War II, U.S. military personnel were stationed in New Zealand to prepare for battles such as Guadalcanal and Tarawa. The United States and New Zealand share common elements of history and culture and a commitment to democratic principles. New Zealand's relationship with the United States in the post-World War II period was closely associated with the 1951 Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) security treaty, under which signatories agreed to consult in case of an attack in the Pacific and to "act to meet the common danger." This changed in the 1980s, when New Zealand's implementation of a policy barring nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from its ports effectively prevented practical alliance cooperation under ANZUS. In 1986 the United States suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand.

In 2010 the United States and New Zealand signed the Wellington Declaration, reaffirming close ties between the two countries and outlining future practical cooperation. This was enhanced in 2012 by the signing of the Washington Declaration which strengthened the defense relationship by providing a framework and strategic guidance for security cooperation and defense dialogues.

The New Zealand Government attaches significant importance to continued close political, economic, and social ties with the United States. New Zealand actively engages in peacekeeping and international security efforts around the world. The United States and New Zealand work together on a range of scientific areas, especially research in the Antarctic. Christchurch is the staging area for joint logistical support operations serving U.S. permanent bases at McMurdo Station and South Pole, and New Zealand's Scott base.

U.S. Assistance to New Zealand

The United States provides no development assistance to New Zealand.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and New Zealand have signed a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, providing a strategic framework and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues. New Zealand's market-led economy offers many benefits for U.S. exporters and investors, and the United States is one of New Zealand's top trade and investment partners. U.S. exports to New Zealand include aircraft, machinery, agricultural products, vehicles, and optic and medical instruments. U.S. imports from New Zealand include frozen beef, caseins, milk protein concentrate, wine, and machinery. A number of U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. Many operate through local agents, and some are in association in joint ventures. U.S. direct investment in New Zealand is mostly in finance/insurance and manufacturing but also includes the food/agriculture, mining, professional services, transportation, energy, and wholesale trade sectors. Reported New Zealand foreign direct investment in the United States is led by the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors. The two countries work closely to promote free trade in a number of international economic forums. New Zealand is one of 12 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement that was signed in Auckland in February 2016.

New Zealand's Membership in International Organizations

New Zealand and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. New Zealand also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand is Mark D. Gilbert. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List .

New Zealand maintains an embassy in the United States at 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-328-4800).

More information about New Zealand is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State New Zealand Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
U.S. Embassy: New Zealand
History of U.S. Relations With New Zealand
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Travel and Business Information