Our relationship with New Caledonia 

New Zealand and New Caledonia have a well-rounded relationship based on high-level political connections, defence cooperation, trade, sport, scientific collaboration, and education exchanges and scholarships.

As New Caledonia becomes increasingly integrated within the Pacific region it has sought New Zealand's expertise and advice. A strong and growing relationship has evolved including regular exchanges at official and ministerial levels. The New Zealand Defence Force and the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia cooperate in a range of areas including disaster response, search and rescue, maritime surveillance and training exercises.

French connections

Like French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia is an "overseas collectivity" of France. However, New Caledonia also has a unique constitutional arrangement, the 1998 Nouméa Accord. This sets out a process towards self-governance, with the exception of defence, foreign policy, justice, public order and currency, which remain with France. The Accord also includes the possibility of a referendum on future political status. Local politics remain divided along pro-independence and pro-France lines.


New Caledonia is in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 kilometers east of Australia. It's made up of the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and some small islets. The combined land area is 18,576 square kilometres and the population is 269,000.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$151 million


Exports to New Caledonia

$149.4 million 

Top exports: milk powder, beef, sawn or chipped wood

Imports from New Caledonia

$2 million

Top imports: scrap metal, citrus fruit


US$11 billion

GDP growth  2.8%  

New Caledonia is New Zealand’s fourth largest export destination in the Pacific. Food and fuel exports from New Zealand make up the bulk of goods traded. Agriculture officially employs only 5% of the New Caledonia population and makes up 1% of GDP, though it forms the basis of much of the indigenous population's subsistence economy. Production in most areas is heavily subsidised and prices are controlled. Agricultural output is hampered by a number of factors including labour being diverted to the more lucrative mining industry; nickel resources are the backbone of New Caledonia's economy, accounting for 90% of its export earnings. 

The two countries also trade in services. New Zealand is a popular education destination for New Caledonians wanting to learn English. Tourists travel in both directions with 17,800 New Caledonians visiting New Zealand in 2014, and 8,000 Kiwis visiting New Caledonia in the same year. New Zealand also supplies some services to the mining industry in New Caledonia.


New Zealand's aid activities in New Caledonia focus on education. Every year we offer 10-12 disadvantaged yet promising young people, short-term technical training opportunities in New Zealand. Tourism is the most popular study option for these students. The funding is administered by the New Zealand Consulate-General in New Caledonia which manages a modest aid programme of NZ$30,000 each year for the French Pacific Territories (New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna). 


Recent official visits

New Zealand to New Caledonia
  • April 2013:  Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse and a group of New Zealand veterans visited New Caledonia for commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of World War II in the Pacific
  • July 2013: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited New Caledonia with a delegation of MPs, business, NGO and media representatives as part of the Pacific Mission
  • 2011: Special Envoy John Hayes MP attended the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Ministerial Meeting on Energy, ICT and Transport
  • 2010: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited New Caledonia to meet with the Acting President
New Caledonia to New Zealand
  • September 2013: Commander of the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC), General Luc de Revel visited New Zealand
  • March 2013: President Harold Martin, High Commissioner Jean-Jacques Brot, member of government Sonia Backes and a delegation of private sector representatives from the energy sector, participated in the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland
  • October/November 2011: FANC Commander Brigadier General Jean François Parlanti visited New Zealand
  • September 2011: A New Caledonian delegation including President Harold Martin, President of Congress Roch Wamytan and Ministers and officials attended the Pacific Islands Forum meetings in Auckland

News & Events

NZ nominates Helen Clark for UN Secretary-General

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Prime Minister John Key has today announced the New Zealand Government is nominating Helen Clark for the position of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Tokelau ferry handover celebrated


The vessel is funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme, and can take 120 passengers between Tokelau's three atolls.