New Zealand and Kiribati have a strong bilateral relationship based on people to people links and shared Pacific interests. New Zealand’s official aid programme to Kiribati has increased substantially in recent years. There is a small i-Kiribati community of approximately 1,600 people in New Zealand.
New Zealand Aid Programme activities in Kiribati are based on the overall aid programme mandate and the specific development challenges in Kiribati. The programme includes workforce training to equip seafarers for international employment, waste management and water supply initiatives to provide a healthier urban environment, family planning and medical treatment initiatives to promote health and manage population pressure, and transport infrastructure support.
Although trade between Kiribati and New Zealand is limited, and can fluctuate widely from year to year, the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme between New Zealand and Pacific states is supporting the development of the relationship, as does the annual allocation of residential permits under the Pacific Access Category. Under the RSE scheme Kiribati (and other Pacific Island Country) people may be recruited for temporary work in New Zealand in the horticulture and viticulture industries.
Defence and Police
With 3.55 million square kilometres, Kiribati has the second largest EEZ in the Pacific. The Royal New Zealand Air Force assists Kiribati with maritime surveillance flights to help police its huge exclusive economic zone against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, visited Kiribati (including Kiritimati Island) during the Pacific Energy Mission 23-27 April 2014 along with EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.
In December 2012 Minister McCully visited Kiribati with a small business delegation.
In September 2010 Foreign Minister Murray McCully visited Tarawa and Kiritimati Island with a 30 strong delegation.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully made a two day visit to Kiribati in July 2009 during Independence Week.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Taito Phillip Field visited for the 25th independence anniversary celebrations in 2004.
Prime Minister Helen Clark attended the 31st Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tarawa in 2000.
Visits from Kiribati
President Tong attended the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland in 2013.
MPs Martin Moreti and Tetaake Kwong attended the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington in April 2013.
In September 2012 President Tong lead the Hillary Institute’s 5th Annual Symposium on Climate Equity in Christchurch where he was awarded the 2012 global Hillary Laureate.
President Tong led the Kiribati delegation to the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum held in Auckland in September 2011.
Hon Taberannang Timeon, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, visited New Zealand in December 2009 to discuss possible joint ventures and ODA support for the Fisheries Training Centre.
Hon Iotebwa Redfern, Kiribati Minister for Labour and Human Resources Development, visited New Zealand to discuss Kiribati’s participation in New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme in June 2009 and May 2011.
President Tong was hosted as Head of State in June 2008, when he visited for World Environment Day and then for a series of bilateral calls.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not issued a specific travel advisory for Kiribati. Links to other nations' advice, and New Zealand's Pacific regional advice, can be found at Safe Travel website [external link].