We're supporting Vanuatu to reach its economic potential by growing the valuable tourism and agriculture sectors and improving marine transport. We are also helping to improve the quality of education, providing communities with better access to potable water and sanitation services, and assisting youth into decent jobs through vocational training opportunities.

Increase economic benefits from tourism

Increase economic and food security benefits from agriculture

Total aid to Vanuatu is made up of programme funding for activities specific to Vanuatu, as well as other funding which can include scholarships, regional initiatives, activities supported through the Partnerships Fund, and humanitarian response. 

Shared vision

New Zealand and Vanuatu 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, 129 KB]

In March 2018, the New Zealand Government launched the Pacific Reset, a government strategy, supported by increased funding, aimed at re-energising how we engage with other Pacific nations and partners.

As part of the Pacific Reset, New Zealand is looking to build a deeper partnership with Vanuatu in order to achieve this shared vision. Our relationship is one of longstanding friendship, enhanced through robust people and cultural linkages. Going forward, we look to focus on and amplify our respective strengths to achieve the shared ambition of greater prosperity for Vanuatu and its people.

What we're supporting

We're working closely with the Government of Vanuatu and local agencies on a number of development projects.

Priority Activities and outcomes

Education and Youth

Improve knowledge, skills and basic education

Support youth empowerment and employment

New Zealand is working to improve school facilities, as well as the quality, accessibility and management of education.

We also provide scholarships and vocational training to support economic opportunities and help address skills shortages.

New Zealand supports a number of civil society organisations working to address the significant challenges faced by Vanuatu’s rapidly growing youth population and to deliver youth services.


Improve the health of people in Vanuatu

The New Zealand Medical Scheme has run a number of regional health programmes in the Pacific since 1994. The Scheme, under which New Zealand has invested NZD 6.1 million in Vanuatu, helps facilitate medical specialist visits to Vanuatu, as well as oversee referrals for Ni-Vanuatu.

New Zealand has been providing significant support to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Vanuatu since 2003, with current investment in the sector totalling NZD 12.4 million. This contribution includes the Water Sector Partnership, which supports the Government of Vanuatu to improve sustainable and equitable access to safe water across the country.

We are currently supporting the construction of a Fred Hollows Eye Clinic. The Clinic will contribute towards the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness in Vanuatu and the Pacific Region.


Increase economic benefits from tourism

Tourism is the key contributor to Vanuatu’s domestic revenue and the sector with the greatest potential for economic growth. New Zealand is the major donor in the tourism sector, investing to improve infrastructure, and enhance the quality of products and services, including destination marketing and product development. Total support to the sector is NZD 6.6 million for 2015 to 2019, with a focus on strengthening both industry and government.

Labour Mobility and Trade

Increase economic benefits from trade and labour mobility


New Zealand wants to help Vanuatu achieve sustained economic growth through trade and new labour mobility opportunities in skilled and semi-skilled sectors.

Vanuatu now sends over 4,445 workers annually to New Zealand, to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme. This makes Vanuatu the largest source of seasonal labour from the Pacific region. We are working to improve the development benefits for Ni-Vanuatu from the New Zealand RSE Scheme.

Once the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus enters into force, Australia and New Zealand will be providing combined funding of NZD 27 million across five years. This funding will go towards providing trade-related assistance, such as the strengthening of biosecurity capacity, trade in services, and into investments that will help facilitate trade.


Increase economic and food security benefits from agriculture

Agriculture is a core part of Vanuatu’s economy and we are working to help drive its ability to contribute to Vanuatu’s economic growth.

Our work is supporting farmers to transition from subsistence agriculture to commercialised, market-led agricultural production, which includes a focus on increasing the quantity of fresh local produce into resorts and hotels.

We are also working to strengthen agricultural value-chains (with a focus on beef), improve market access through biosecurity and food safety systems, build resilience, and tackle food security and nutritional challenges.

Climate Change

Improve the preparedness of Pacific partners to adapt to and mitigate climate change through investing in targeted climate change adaptation initiatives, and mainstreaming these measures

New Zealand wants the Pacific, including Vanuatu, to benefit from both global action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and the process of global transformation towards a low-carbon economy.

New Zealand support for Climate Change in Vanuatu is broad and includes climate adaptation (water sector strengthening and community awareness), climate mitigation (renewable energy support), and climate risk monitoring (risk mapping). 

Our climate risk monitoring support is being provided through research institute NIWA and involves a three-year NZD 2.4 million project.  NIWA are tailoring a New Zealand risk mapping tool ‘Riskscape’ for the Vanuatu context. This will enable authorities to measure the likely impact of climate change and climate related hazards across the country, and better plan for disaster response and implement climate smart land use planning.  


Expand access to affordable, reliable and clean energy 

New Zealand’s NZD 11 million Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project is providing renewable solar technology to more than half of rural households. This initiative is replacing the use of petroleum fuels for light and power. We are also supporting Vanuatu to explore the viability of developing a geothermal resource on the main island of Efate.


Strengthen resilience and respond to humanitarian emergencies
New Zealand has so far committed NZD 3.25 million to relief efforts following the Ambae volcano response in early 2018. This includes provision of emergency relief supplies, technical support in volcanology, a focus on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), and livelihood support.

Recent achievements

Priority Activities and outcomes


In 2018 NZ signed an agreement with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to deliver a three-year USD 2 million Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project. This project will provide support for the Electoral Office and assist with legislative processes.

Law and justice

New Zealand funding continues to support the provision of a District Court Judge to Vanuatu with a new judge arriving in 2018. The programme has been running successfully since 2003 and the current judge is the eighth New Zealander to fill this role.

New Zealand has provided continuous support to the corrections sector for over 15 years, including funding to supporting the establishment and subsequent capacity development of the Department of Correctional Services in 2006. Vanuatu Department of Correctional Services is now recognised as one of the best in the Pacific.

In 2017 the New Zealand funded NZD 2.6 million high and medium risk correctional facility was opened in Lugainville. The facility, built using local contractors, is Vanuatu’s main correctional facility and meets UN standards.


In late 2017 the popular Port Vila seafront and portside precinct redevelopment was opened. New Zealand contributed NZD 12 million toward the project which has enhanced the tourist experience and provided urban spaces for local people.

Our tourism support has included training and support for more than 300 tourism operators (taxi and bus drivers, tour operators, small businesses). This support has improved the professionalism of local business and service providers and improved visitor experiences.


New Zealand provided emergency assistance following Tropical Cyclone Pam (2015), Donna (2017) and Hola (2018). Total contribution to the Cyclone Pam response and recovery was NZD 5.5 million with a focus on WASH and education (replacing school curriculum materials and classroom reconstruction). During Cyclone Donna we committed NZD 250,000 for relief efforts (pre-positioned supplies and emergency funding) and following Cyclone Hola we committed NZD 50,000 to assist with surveillance flights and supplies.


Over the past three years New Zealand funded projects have delivered improved water and sanitation access to approximately 30,347 people, more than 10% of the Vanuatu population. 

Between 2010 and 2017, 115 Ni-Vanuatu patients were referred overseas for treatment and 1,006 patients were treated in-country by 20 specialist teams, as part of the New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme.

 Agriculture We are providing NZD 5 million over five years (2016-2020) to support the beef sector and agri-food productivity. The first phase of this project delivered a beef livestock survey and industry plan, support for Vanuatu’s agri-tourism strategy, farming infrastructure, policy support for development of the Primary Producers Authority, and small scale coffee and potato sector support.
Education and Youth

New Zealand has provided sector support to education together with Australia for over 10 years. Our contribution to the current Vanuatu Education Support Programme (VESP) is NZD 14 million. VESP finishes in 2018 and has delivered some important results including a new curriculum, increased quality of teaching, and delivery of an information management system to track education outcomes and ensure evidence based policy making.

In the past four years New Zealand has invested NZD 11 million to provide scholarships and training opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu.

New Zealand has supported civil society organisation Wan Smolbag (WSB) for over 10 years. Through this support WSB has improved the health and well-being of youth and communities through provision of services (sexual and reproductive health services, vocational training, youth empowerment) and raising awareness on critical issues (violence against women, corruption, environmental issues).

Evaluation and research reports

Some of the following reports are about the Pacific region as a whole, but feature case studies from Vanuatu.

Mama Graon - Vanuatu Land Programme, Mid Term Review [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Independent Review of the Pacific Ombudsman Alliance (POA)
[PDF, 722 KB]

Evaluation of the New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme [PDF, 938 KB]


Figures showing Total Aid for Vanuatu from 2018-2021