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.

In September 2016 the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, and the President of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain, signed a Joint Cooperation Plan. The Plan aims to enhance bilateral cooperation and provides an outline of agreed priority areas such as trade and economic engagement, education and sport.

Joint Cooperation Plan - English version [PDF, 73 KB]

Joint Cooperation Plan - French version [PDF, 657 KB] 

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.


2015 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$153.6 million


Exports to New Caledonia

$151.3 million 

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

Imports from New Caledonia

$2.3 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 2012: 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
  • June 2016:  President Philippe Germain, Vice-President Jean-Louis d’Anglebermes, and Government Member responsible for health, youth and sports, Valentine Eurisouké, visited New Zealand for bilateral meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, as well as the Speaker, David Carter, and ministers Simon Bridges and Jonathan Coleman.  The delegation also participated in the Pacific Energy Conference and engaged with the business community.
  • May 2016:  President Philippe Germain visited New Zealand as part of French Prime Minister Manual Valls’ official delegation
  • 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

New Caledonia: Tropical Cyclone Cook

New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Cook has passed through New Caledonia as a Category 3 cyclone bringing destructive winds and heavy rain.