Our relationship with Germany

Germany and New Zealand enjoy a healthy and supportive relationship based on common interests and values, making us natural like-minded partners in international affairs, trade, commerce, science and cultural exchange.

As the largest economy in the EU, Germany has clout when it comes to decisions that affect New Zealand’s economic and trade interests. It has been supportive of New Zealand in a number of ways including through its support for the developing New Zealand EU Free Trade Agreement, and the New Zealand Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation (PARC).

Both countries have fostered these links through numerous high level visits in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Adern visited Berlin on 17 April 2018, and met with Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel where they discussed our ‘truly excellent relationship’.. German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier previously paid a state visit to New Zealand from 5 to 7 November 2017 – the first visit by a Federal President since 2001. Former Prime Ministers Rt Hon Bill English and Sir John Key visited Germany in 2017 and 2015 respectively, and Chancellor Merkel visited New Zealand in 2014. Joint statements reaffirming the close relations between New Zealand and Germany were made in 2014 and 2015, which can be seen below.

Read the joint statement from November 2014 (external link)

Read the joint statement from December 2015 (external link)


Year ending March 2019 statistics

Total trade

NZ$6.02 billion


Exports to Germany

NZ$1.745 billion

Top exports: meat, optical and medical equipment, fruit, casein, fish and wool.

Imports from Germany

NZ$4.29 billion

Top imports: motor vehicles, mechanical machinery and equipment, pharmaceutical products and electrical machinery.

GDP per capita



Germany is our largest export market for venison and one of our largest for sheep meat. Other trading opportunities exist, particularly in food and beverages, high value consumer products and healthcare. New Zealand companies are working actively in Germany in these sectors.

In the services sector, Germany is our sixth largest education market, and our largest in Europe – in 2017 there were 3,000 German students that studied in New Zealand. All eight of New Zealand’s universities have cooperation agreements with Germany. It is also our sixth largest inbound tourist market. Our Working Holiday Scheme with Germany is very popular, with around 13,600 Germans visiting New Zealand in 2017/2018 – the largest number from any country.

Here (external link) is the website address for German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. 

Science and technology

Germany has long been one of New Zealand’s most important partners in the area of science and innovation, with 2017 marking the 40th anniversary of the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement.

Key projects include:

  • the successful InterCoast joint post-doctoral programme for integrated coastal zone and sea shelf research, between the University of Bremen and the University of Waikato; 
  • an “ICON” project between Fraunhofer’s Institute for Production and Automation Technology Stuttgart and the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute, launched when then Prime Minister John Key visited Berlin in December 2015. Scientists from both institutions will collaborate to create human exoskeletons that will reduce workplace injury and help stroke patients, a project with strong commercial potential.

Cultural links

Cultural links between New Zealand and Germany are strong, and Berlin is fast becoming a destination for New Zealand artists. New Zealand has artist/writer-in-residency programmes in Berlin, funded by Creative NZ.

Berlin writers' residency (external link)

The Military History Museum in Dresden engaged New Zealand artist Kingsley Baird in 2014 to create an installation for its World War I commemorations. Exhibitions by New Zealand-based artists feature regularly, including an exhibition of Gottfried Lindauer’s Māori portraits at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2015, which attracted a near record of 150,000 visitors. 

Germany profiled New Zealand as the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012, showcasing our country to more than 68,000 people.

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Germany.

To apply, you can contact the German Embassy in Wellington. You can also apply at a local immigration office in Germany within 90 days of arrival.

For more information, go to the German Embassy in Wellington website (external link).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Germany

January 2019: Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives

September 2018: Hon Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture

June 2018: Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth/Environment

May 2018: Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport

April 2018: Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister

January 2018: Hon Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture

May 2017: Hon Simon Bridges, Minister of Transport

April 2017: Hon Chris Finlayson, Attorney-General

January 2017: Rt Hon Bill English, Prime Minister

May 2016: Hon Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Germany to New Zealand

November 2017: German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

October 2016: Professor Dr Norbert Lammert, the President of the German Bundestag

November 2014: Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, Dr Angela Merkel

News & Events

Voting in the 2020 General Election


The 2020 General Election will be held in New Zealand on 17 October along with the End of Life Choice and Cannabis referendums. Overseas voting will be possible from Wednesday 30 September.

Panel Discussion: From Crisis to Resilience 22 September


The Embassy of New Zealand, in cooperation with the GIGA, is excited to invite you to our upcoming online panel discussion, entitled “From Crisis to Resilience ‒ How Can We Link Recovery, Sustainability, and Trade?” on Tuesday, 22 September 2020 | 09:00–10:30 a.m.(CET)

German International Parliamentary Scholarship


The German Bundestag has now included New Zealand in its International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS). The IPS will fund a five-month stay of a young New Zealander in Berlin, including a three-month parliamentary internship, complemented by a study programme.