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Embassies and consular services for Russia

Location Service areas
Embassy of New Zealand Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Embassy of the Russian Federation

Our relationship with Russia

New Zealand's relationship with Russia dates back to the early 1800's. Today there is a sizeable Russian community living in New Zealand.

In 1820 the famed Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen visited Aotearoa during the first imperial Russian expedition to Antarctica. His two ships, the Vostok and the Mirny, anchored in Meretoto (Ship Cove) in the Marlborough Sounds, where they were greeted by the Kurahaupō iwi of Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui. Through trading the Russians collected an array of taonga Māori, which are now housed at the Kunstkamera in St Petersburg and at Kazan Federal University. The expedition’s artist, Pavel Mikhaylov, recorded the encounter in sketches which are held by the Russian Museum in St Petersburg.

The legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured New Zealand in 1926, and gave her name to our national dessert.

The relationship developed during World War II. From 1941 to 1945, a large number of New Zealand sailors served in the Arctic Convoys which delivered essential supplies to the Soviet Union. In the decades that followed, there was steady expansion of the trading relationship and cultural ties.

Formal connections

New Zealand established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1944 and opened a Legation in Moscow that year. The New Zealand Embassy in Moscow has been in continuous operation since 1973. Russia and New Zealand commemorated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2019.

New Zealand and Russia are both members of international organisations and forums such as the United Nations, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit and the World Trade Organisation.

In the past we have worked with Russia on a bilateral basis and in international forums on matters of shared interest such as disarmament and Antarctic issues. Our relations with Russia have been strained since its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and have deteriorated significantly following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.


Information on New Zealand’s trade relationship with Russia is available on the New Zealand Trade Dashboard(external link).

Free trade negotiations with Russia

On 9 November 2010, New Zealand, Russia and the then Customs Union partners of Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed to start negotiations on a comprehensive and modern free trade agreement (FTA). The negotiations were suspended in 2014 following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Russia

  • August 2016: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully for UN Security Council consultations
  • February 2014: Trade Minister Tim Groser for trade and economic consultations
  • November 2013: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully for bilateral consultations
  • July 2013: Trade Minister Tim Groser for trade and economic consultations

Russia to New Zealand

  • February 2014: Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov for Foreign Ministry Consultations
  • March 2012: Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov for Foreign Ministry Consultations
  • January 2012Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov for bilateral consultations.


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