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Embassies and consular services for Russia

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

Our relationship with Russia

New Zealand's relationship with Russia dates back to the 1800's. Today there is a sizeable Russian community of around 15,000 people living in New Zealand.

The first encounter between Russia and New Zealand occurred in the early 19th century with the imperial Russian expedition to Antarctica led by von Bellingshausen. Bellingshausen’s two ships, the Vostok and the Mirny, anchored in Ship’s Cove, New Zealand on their way from Russia. The expedition’s artist, Pavel Mikhaylov, recorded the first encounter between Russians and New Zealanders. His sketches, which including some depictions of the Maōri people living in Queen Charlotte Sound, are today housed in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg.

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.

We established formal diplomatic relations in 1944 but it was not until 1973 that the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow was established.

Formal connections

In addition to formal bilateral contact involving Ministers and senior government officials, New Zealand and Russia engage in a number of regional, multilateral and international organisations, including the United Nations (UN) where Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and where New Zealand served as a non-permanent member, for 2015-16. Other areas of engagement include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). New Zealand and Russia have also concluded an agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$762 million


Exports to Russia

$240 million 

Top exports: butter and dairy spreads, mutton and lamb, malt extract

Imports from Russia

$522 million

Top imports: crude petroleum oils, potassium fertilisers, copper


US$1.9 trillion

GDP per capita US $12,926 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  0.6%  

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). Significant progress had been made, however the negotiations were suspended in 2014 following events in the Ukraine.


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Russia

  • February 2014: Trade Minister Tim Groser visited for trade and economic consultations
  • November 2013: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and held bilateral consultations
  • July 2013: Trade Minister Tim Groser for trade and economic consultations

Russia to New Zealand

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


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