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Our relationship with Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands lies to the east of Papua New Guinea. It is culturally and geographically diverse with about 1,000 islands, a land mass of 28,000 square kilometres, and a population of about 600,000.

New Zealand and Solomon Islands have a long and friendly relationship.  New Zealand’s earliest connections with Solomon Islands date from 1849 when Bishop Selwyn founded the Anglican Melanesian Mission in the Pacific including Solomon Islands. Later, New Zealand and other allied troops fought in the bloody Guadalcanal campaign from January 1942 to August 1945. Guadalcanal is home to Honiara, now the capital of Solomon Islands. It was the closest point to New Zealand in which Kiwis would fight in World War II.

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been a key element in the recent bilateral relationship. Around 2,000 New Zealanders from the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, other government agencies and volunteer organisations were deployed during the 14 year mission, which concluded in June 2017. Today, our relationship with Solomon Islands is characterised by regular political dialogue, a strong development partnership and growing people-to-people links.


Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

In 2003, New Zealand joined Australia and all other Pacific Islands Forum nations to help restore stability, security and prosperity to Solomon Islands. This came after a time of serious conflict and violence between ethnic groups, known as “the Tensions” (1998-2003). The Solomon Islands was experiencing widespread violence, intimidation and corruption and the government was unable to provide basic services such as education and health. This led to the Solomon Islands Government requesting its Pacific neigbours for assistance.

Pacific foreign ministers responded by establishing the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) which focused on helping Solomon Islands to restore law and order, rebuild its public service and reform economic management. In 2013 RAMSI transitioned from a combined military/police/development mission to a solely policing mission focussed on helping build the capability of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. The mission concluded on 30 June 2017.

Find out more about RAMSI (external link)


2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$34.8 million


Exports to Solomon Islands

$29.1 million 

Top exports: sugar and sugar cane confectionary, iron and steel, dairy products

Imports from Solomon Islands

$5.7 million

Top imports: wood and wood products, coconut oil


US$1.2 billion

GDP per capita US$2,380 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  3%  

The trading relationship between New Zealand and Solomon Islands is modest, accounting for only 3% of our trade in the Pacific.

Fisheries are an important source of income and food for Solomon Islands. We have an agreement that allows New Zealand fishing companies to enter into contracts directly with the Solomon Islands government.


The New Zealand Aid Programme works with Solomon Islands to achieve sustainable economic growth, improve the quality of their education and make communities safer.

Find out more about our aid progamme in Solomon Islands

Every year Solomon Islanders come to New Zealand to work in our horticulture and wine industries under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme. Many of them come year after year, and the money they earn and send home is an important source of income for Solomon Islands.

Find out more about the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (external link)


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Solomon Islands
  • 2017: Deptuy Prime Minister Paula Bennett led a high delegation, including New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police officials, to the RAMSI drawdown celebrations.
  • 2017: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited Solomon Islands (Minister McCully also previously visited 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015). 
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key led a delegation to Solomon Islands for the 10th anniversary of RAMSI
  • 2009: Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Satyanand made a state visit to Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands to New Zealand
  • 2017: Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka visited on the invitation of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment to observe the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. He visited later in the year to attend the 10th anniversary of the scheme.
  • 2016: Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka visited for the Pacific Trade Ministers Meeting and the signing of the revised Joint Commitment for Development with New Zealand.
  • 2014: Prime Minister Gordon Lilo led a delegation to New Zealand
  • 2013: Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Clay Forau visited New Zealand
  • 2011: Prime Minister Danny Philip came to New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting, Auckland

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