Atafu village Tokelau. Image courtesy of Tokelau Liaison Office, Samoa.
The Ministry's Pacific Division manages New Zealand's bilateral and multilateral relationships in the South Pacific region. The Division is involved in a wide range of issues including political and economic relations, trade relations, defence and regional security, environment and fisheries management, and disaster relief assistance.
The Pacific is an important market, with New Zealand's exports to the region now worth more than NZ$1 billion a year.
Environment and the Oceans - Environment priorities for New Zealand in the Pacific include climate change, the protection of whales and concerns over the shipment of spent nuclear material through the region.
Regional Security - Security has become a significant focus of the Pacific Islands Forum's work in recent years.
Fisheries - The Pacific is the world's most significant tuna fishing area, valued at up to $US2 billion and supplying a third of world tuna production. Safeguarding and managing the region's fish stocks is a major concern.
Economic - Rapid population growth, pressure on resources, and weak economic growth present substantial risks for the Pacific region.
Health and Social - The Pacific region faces a range of health challenges. In Polynesia "lifestyle" non-communicable diseases (NCDs - such as diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and some forms of cancer) are the major health concerns.
Disaster relief - New Zealand responds to cyclones and other natural disasters in the Pacific. Pacific Division coordinates an Emergency Task Force that responds to natural disasters 24 hours a day, every day of the year.