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Our relationship with Poland

New Zealand and Poland enjoy a warm and friendly relationship. It dates back to at least 1872 when the first Polish settlers arrived in New Zealand. In March 2013, we marked the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

We also have shared experiences of our troops fighting alongside each other in World War Two, most notably at Monte Cassino and in the Battle of Britain.

A New Zealand delegation attended the 70th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in January 2015. New Zealand was an early contributor to the Perpetual Fund set to maintain these camps as a testament to future generations.

New Zealand and Poland have a double taxation agreement and a working holiday scheme in place. We have also recently signed a film co-production agreement.

New Zealand and Poland are also building relationships between their parliaments, NGOs and think tanks. Both countries parliaments have active friendship groups which discuss opportunities for cooperation. The New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and the Polish Institute of International Affairs have recently agreed to hold regular meetings to discuss international relations. Finally, Poland and New Zealand both participate in the work of the Global Research Alliance, and focus on the work of the Livestock Research Group which aims to cut greenhouse emissions from agriculture.


New Zealand's best known Polish immigrants arrived in 1944 when New Zealand took in about 800 war refugees, most of them orphaned children who were cared for at a camp in Pahiatua and were known as the Pahiatua children. Many stayed and became New Zealanders because the political situation in Poland prevented them returning home after the war ended. November 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of their arrival, and three delegations from Poland came to New Zealand to mark the occasion.

After World War II about 200 Polish war veterans and 700 Polish displaced persons migrated here. Then in the early 1980's a further 320 refugees from the Communist regime were given a home here.

New Zealand now has a thriving Polish community of around 5,000 - 6,000 people.


2017 statistics

Total trade in goods

$215.1 million  

Exports to Poland

$56.6 million 

Top exports: fish fillets and machinery

Imports from Poland

$158.5 million

Top imports: trucks, vans and harvesting machinery


US$519 billion


Trade between New Zealand and Poland has shown impressive growth in recent years, and there’s potential for increasing trade and economic links. An example is New Zealand wine for which demand is rapidly growing in Poland. There is also untapped potential in the education market, and New Zealand educational institutions are making connections with Polish universities, particularly in science and innovation.

Both countries are focused on growing the trading relationship. In collaboration with the Polish Ministry for Economy and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Embassy in Warsaw held successful New Zealand Business Days in March 2015 and in October 2016. These days helped to educate Polish and New Zealand businesses about opportunities between our countries.

Working Holiday Scheme

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

To apply, you can go to the Polish Embassy in Wellington. If you are overseas you can also apply through any Polish Consulate (external link).

For more information, read the Embassy of Poland's website (external link).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Poland

  • June 2015: Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries met with his counterpart and farmer organisations
  • April 2015: Hon David Carter, Speaker of Parliament led a delegation of MPs visited Poland as part of the annual Speaker's Delegation to exchange views on the economic, political and security challenges facing the European Union and its near neighbourhood, as well as those affecting the Pacific
  • January 2015: Attorney General Christopher Finlayson, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Annette King, and Gael Keren representing the Jewish Community of New Zealand visited Krakow for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • July/August 2014: Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown visited Warsaw to participate in events for the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising

Poland to New Zealand

  • November 2014: Three Polish delegations visited New Zealand for the 70th anniversary of the arrival in New Zealand of the Polish orphan refugees, known as the Pahiatua children. The Senate delegation was led by Deputy Marshal of the Senate Maria Pańczyk-Pozdziej. The Parliamentary delegation was led by MP and Chairperson of the Poland-New Zealand Parliamentary Group Ligia Krajewska. The delegation from the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression was let by Jan Stanisław Ciechanowski
  • June 2014: Marshal of the Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz visited New Zealand for discussions on the state of our two economies, and NZ's ambitions for an FTA with the European Union
  • May 2013: Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski visited New Zealand to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Poland. Discussions focused on increasing New Zealand's cooperation with Poland, particularly in the agricultural and education areas, and on New Zealand's bid for UN Security Council bid
  • March 2013: Former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski visited Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland for a series of seminars on the geopolitics of Central Europe

More information


News & Events

New Zealand Speaker visits Germany


Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, visited Berlin and Munich for a two day bilateral visit on 14-15 January 2019.