New Zealand has many formal connections in the Pacific and with Pacific peoples.

We engage across the Pacific region as a whole, through regional organisations including the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the University of the South Pacific, and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

We also have:

  • bilateral connections with 14 Pacific countries who are members of the Pacific Islands Forum (see below for more details) and
  • multilateral relationships which refers to our engagement through international organisations (such as the United Nations and the World Health Organisation) and with partner countries outside the Pacific.

The Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Islands Forum is the Pacific region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. New Zealand is a member and was one of the founding members of its predecessor, the South Pacific Forum.

The Pacific Islands Forum’s vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity so everyone in the Pacific can lead free, healthy, and productive lives. The 18 member countries work to achieve this by fostering cooperation between governments, collaborating with international agencies and representing the interests of its members.

Framework for Pacific Regionalism

In 2014, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders endorsed the Framework for Pacific Regionalism which sets out the Forum’s approach to achieving deeper regionalism in the Pacific. It describes this as: “the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose, leading progressively to the sharing of institutions, resources, and markets, with the purpose of complementing national efforts, overcoming common constraints, and embracing sustainable and inclusive development within Pacific countries and territories and for the Pacific region as a whole.”

Leaders’ meeting

The annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting is the most important appointment on the regional calendar. There are also high-level ministerial meetings throughout the year, which New Zealand regularly attends.

Pacific Islands Forum members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (external link)

Pacific regional agencies

New Zealand invests in regional agencies because we are committed to working with Pacific-owned and led organisations to support national and regional development goals.

Working with regional agencies is economic and sensible in cases where one country does not have the resources to deliver solutions on its own, or on issues that require a collective effort – such as climate change, offshore fisheries, statistics, and regional economic growth.