New Zealand’s aid programme with Kiribati focuses on building a healthy, educated, and resilient population in a well-governed country that provides acceptable future choices for its population.

In the new triennium that began on 1 July 2018, annual aid for Kiribati is expected to exceed $30 million (all figures in NZ$). This compares with around $20 million in the previous triennium.

Shared vision

New Zealand and Kiribati have signed a Joint Commitment for Development. This sets out the shared vision of our two governments, the priority areas we're focused on, each countries' responsibilities, and the funding New Zealand will provide.

Read the Joint Commitment for Development [PDF, 979 KB] 

What we're supporting

We're working closely with the Kiribati government and local agencies on several aid activities.

Priority Activities and Outcomes


Maintain a healthy marine resource base and develop fisheries sustainably
Our support for fisheries is intended to ensure that (1) Kiribati manages and develops its fisheries resources  sustainably, (2) food security is maintained, (3) key fish stocks are maintained or rebuilt, and (4) wealth from sustainable fisheries is increased.

Economic governance

Strengthen economic governance and efficiency
Within a group of Kiribati’s principal donors, we are providing advisory support to help identify critical policy reforms, and providing budget support triggered by successful implementation of agreed reforms. The donor group is now providing around 10% of the Kiribati recurrent budget. We are also continuing efforts to strengthen the capability of the public sector to deliver high-quality services, primarily through training.

Trade and labour mobility

Increase economic benefits from trade and a more mobile workforce.

We are helping increase the number of Kiribati workers coming to New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and derive more development benefits from this. We are supporting the training of seafarers, fishers and hospitality staff to help increase employment opportunities. We are also assisting with the implementation by Kiribati of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus.


Improve the health of i-Kiribati.
We are supporting initiatives to improve health through: training Kiribati doctors, improving access to family planning and contraception, raising public awareness of non-communicable disease factors, improving health facilities, introducing better solid waste management, ensuring improved supply of clean water in South Tarawa, and increasing access to improved housing.


Improve access to an efficient, safe, affordable, reliable and clean electricity system.
We are supporting upgrades to the electricity infrastructure in Kiribati’s two urban centres of Tarawa and Kiritimati Island, the latter in partnership with the European Union. We are also connecting new households to the electricity network, improving the safety of existing connections, and providing safety and technical training for electrical workers.

Maritime Safety

Improve maritime safety in Kiribati leading to increased economic activity.
We are working with artisanal fishermen on safety education and engine maintenance, and are providing Personal Locator Beacons to ensure they can be located if they get lost at sea. We are helping to improve maritime legislation and regulations to ensure compliance with International Maritime Organisation standards and are supporting the maintenance of emergency communication systems. We are conducting a maritime safety public awareness campaign and strengthening our partnership with the Pacific Community by increasing support to their Pacific Island Domestic Ship Safety (PIDSS) programme, which will bolster the programme’s focus on domestic ferry safety in Kiribati and in the Pacific region.

Urban Development

Strengthen urban planning and effective land use.
We have supported the completion of a feasibility investigation into the building up of approximately 300 hectares of marginal land in South Tarawa to make it fit for urban development and resilient to projected long term sea level rise. The next stage, led by the Government of Kiribati, will involve identifying co-funders for the project.

Find out more about our aid activities by country.

Recent achievements

Priority Achievement
Economic Governance

Provided NZ$10m in general budget contributions over 2014-2017 in response to agreed economic reforms by the Kiribati Government.

Reforms have included improved management of Kiribati’s sovereign wealth fund, improved transparency of fisheries revenues, and changes to enable increased access to telecommunications for the population of South Tarawa; New Zealand has also provided technical assistance to assist Kiribati’s strategic planning for the aviation sector.


Rehabilitated over half of the electricity substations in South Tarawa; facilitated the installation of a generator at Betio hospital; and provided safety and maintenance equipment, training and advice to utility staff.

In Kiritimati Island, jointly with the European Union, commissioned a new solar-diesel hybrid power station and high voltage network; developed maintenance plans for all government assets; and installed new solar-powered water pumps to improve freshwater access.

Health System

Recorded significant reduction in unmet need for contraception in areas covered by the Healthy Families initiative.

Supported full certification of 20+ doctors trained in Cuba to enable them to practice in Kiribati.

Public Health

Healthier physical environment in South Tarawa due to provision of an effective rubbish collection and landfill system.

Sixty-two high-density housing units built in an overcrowded area of South Tarawa.

Other Kiribati tertiary scholars achieving highly in New Zealand universities – 17 completed awards over 2017/18.

Evaluation and research reports

Evaluation of New Zealand support for the Marine Training Centre, Kiribati [PDF, 754 KB]


Figures showing Total Aid for Kiribati from 2018-2021