United Kingdom

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Embassies and consular services for United Kingdom

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British High Commission
New Zealand High Commission United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Our relationship with the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is one of New Zealand’s oldest and closest partners. The bilateral relationship is grounded in constitutional links, shared history, culture and values, and strong people-to-people links.

King Charles III is New Zealand’s Head of State, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840, New Zealand’s founding document, was signed between the British Crown and Māori. New Zealand’s system of government is modelled on the British Westminster system, adapted to meet New Zealand’s circumstances.

The bilateral relationship spans all sectors of society from business, trade and defence to the arts, culture, sport, and science and technology. Reflecting our close partnership, we engage with the UK across almost all government portfolios, including regular secondments across both jurisdictions.  New Zealand and the UK work closely together in multilateral forums including the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and World Trade Organization.

Defence and security

New Zealand and the UK enjoy a close defence, intelligence and security partnership. There is a long record of cooperation, bilaterally, in small coalitions, and as part of Five Eyes. This includes operating side-by-side in conflicts stretching back to World War I, joint dialogues, training, exchanges, intelligence sharing, and adoption of common doctrine.

Contemporary cooperation has included working together in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine (we train Ukrainian troops in the UK), and the Red Sea.  In the Pacific, New Zealand and UK defence forces supported Tonga’s recovery after its volcanic eruption in 2022.

We share with the UK a desire to ensure a free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, and work together closely to promote a peaceful and resilient Pacific.

Trade and investment

The UK is one of New Zealand’s largest export markets, a significant source of foreign direct investment (FDI), and an important source of tourists. The UK also benefits from New Zealand FDI.

Our trade is highly complementary. New Zealand’s main imports from the UK are vehicles; mechanical machinery; travel; insurance and pension services; and other business services. New Zealand’s main exports to the UK are travel; meat and offal; beverages; business services; telecommunications, computer and information services. A wide range of New Zealand businesses have secured niche markets in the UK outside the primary and agricultural sectors.

In February 2022, New Zealand and the UK signed a high-quality, comprehensive and progressive Free Trade Agreement which entered into force in May 2023. The FTA contains world-leading commitments on sustainable and inclusive trade.

New Zealand welcomed the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (CPTPP) in 2023.

The British Business Association(external link) (BNZBA) promotes business relationships, trade and investment between the UK and New Zealand.

The latest information about New Zealand's trade profile with the UK is available on the New Zealand Trade Dashboard(external link).

People and culture

Strong historical, cultural and people-to-people connections are central to the bilateral relationship. The UK is home to New Zealand’s largest diaspora (after Australia) and is one of our biggest sources of migrants and visitors.

The UK and New Zealand have made enhancements to our long-standing, and very popular, Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Schemes(external link).

Information for young UK citizens interested in living and working in New Zealand can be found on Immigration New Zealand’s UK Working Holiday Visa website(external link).

The UK is one of New Zealand’s closest science and research partners. In 2022, New Zealand and the UK finalised an Arrangement on Research, Science and Innovation Cooperation(external link) - a framework for deepening science, innovation and technology cooperation between our countries, with a focus on quantum technologies, oceans and climate change, aerospace technologies, agritech and bioengineering. With both New Zealand and the UK enjoying Associated Country Status in Horizon Europe(external link), the EU’s flagship research and innovation programme, there are also many new avenues for science collaboration with the UK within Pillar II of the programme.

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