Our relationship with Croatia

We have a warm relationship with Croatia built on historical ties and strong family links through the Croatian expatriate community in New Zealand.

Croatian immigrants began arriving in New Zealand from the 1850s and today there are more than 100,000 New Zealanders of Croatian heritage. There are also more than 2,500 Croatian nationals living here.

Political relations

Political links developed more recently, particularly after Croatia joined the European Union in 2013. Since then there has been an increase in high-level visits to Croatia.

Our deepening relationship is reflected in these recent initiatives: 

  • reciprocal visa free status was granted in 2013 to Croatian citizens wishing to visit New Zealand as tourists 
  • a working holiday scheme was introduced in 2014
  • a Social Security Agreement is under negotiation.

New Zealand and Croatia cooperate in the international arena, where we share interests particularly as supporters of the United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts. New Zealand played a peacekeeping role during and following the Balkans war, and Croatia is active in peacekeeping operations and post-conflict recovery.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$4.8 million


Exports to Croatia

$2.4 million 

Top exports: molluscs, sheep meat, machinery

Imports from Croatia

$2.4 million

Top imports: self-adhesive plastic items, electrical transformers, soups


US$57 billion

GDP per capita US$13,494 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  -0.4%  

Despite the recent growth in political relations, the trade relationship between New Zealand and Croatia has been slower to develop. Two-way trade has fluctuated in the past few years but remains at modest levels - in 2010 it was $4.5 million, in 2012 trade totalled $11.2 million, and then fell back to $4.8 million in 2014.

A number of New Zealand companies have a presence in Croatia in industries such as shipbuilding, meat products and wine.

There are good prospects for expanding trade and economic links with Croatia, and MFAT and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise are working there to promote doing business with New Zealand. Areas with potential for increased cooperation include agriculture, aquaculture, energy, fisheries, food processing, horticulture, viticulture and tourism.

Working Holiday Scheme

Information on New Zealand’s Working Holiday Scheme with Croatia will be available soon.


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Croatia
  • July 2014: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited Dubrovnik for the Croatia Forum
  • July 2013: Social Development Minister Paula Bennett visited 
  • July 2012: Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith visited with a parliamentary delegation 
  • April 2011: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited 
Croatia to New Zealand
  • March 2014: Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović visited
  • June 1995: President of Croatia Franjo Tudjman visited

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