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 New Zealand EU Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation (PARC), and New Zealand’s ambitions for a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a state visit to New Zealand from 5 to 7 November 2017. Prime Minister Bill English visited Germany in January 2017, where he met with Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel. Former Prime Minister John Key visited Germany in December 2015, 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.

Read the joint statement from November 2014 (external link)

Read the joint statement from December 2015 (external link).


2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

NZ$3.1 billion


Exports to Germany

NZ$715 million*

Top exports: sheep meat, casein, peptones and other proteins, and medical and surgical equipment and parts.

Imports from Germany

NZ$2.4 billion

Top imports: motor vehicles and tractors, mechanical machinery, and retail medicines and pharmaceutical products


US$3,354 billion

GDP per capita US $48,200 (NZ GDP per capita is US$37,100)
GDP growth  1.4%  

 * This does not include more than $80 million of kiwifruit and apples that arrive in Germany through other EU countries.

Germany is the world’s fourth largest economy and a key trading partner - goods and services combined make it a NZ$1 billion-plus market for New Zealand.

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. All eight of New Zealand’s universities have cooperation agreements with Germany. It is also our sixth largest inbound tourist market. In total, more than 92,000 Germans visited New Zealand in 2016, including more than 15,500 German working holidaymakers. 

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

Science and technology

New Zealand and Germany have a strong history of engagement in 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 a recent exhibition of Gottfried Lindauer’s Māori portraits at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. 

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 go to 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

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

Minister O'Connor at Green Week in Berlin

New Zealand Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor travelled to Berlin from 18-21 January to take part in the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.