The Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade select committee is conducting an inquiry into New Zealand’s aid to the Pacific.
Tonga is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, located near Fiji and Samoa. It is home to around 103,000 people who live on 36 of the country’s 170 islands.
Tonga is the only Pacific country with a constitutional monarchy – it is known officially as the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga and New Zealand have a long history together.
Find out more about Tonga.
Tonga has a small export economy based around exports of fish and agricultural products, as well as tourism. Remittances make up 37% of GDP which includes the earnings of the 1,800 workers that take part in New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme each year. New Zealand and Tonga have good shipping links, and New Zealand is Tonga's main source of imports. Both countries are working toward growing the trade relationship. Economic growth is constrained by Tonga's small domestic market, work skill shortages, and high costs of doing business.
Tonga is the depository of PACER Plus, a landmark trade and development agreement that will improve prosperity and resilience in the Pacific region. PACER Plus will contribute to a more predictable trading environment for businesses across the Pacific, increase opportunities for inward investment, and support increased skills development and employment.
|Two-way trade||NZD$240 million*|
|Goods exports to Tonga||NZD$72 million*||Top NZ exports: travel services, mechanical machinery, dairy products, wood
|Goods imports from Tonga||NZD$4 million*||Top imports: travel services, vegetables, fruit and nuts|
|GDP per capita||USD$4,665^||NZ GDP per capita is USD$41,267|
New Zealand’s development cooperation is focused on Tonga’s wellbeing and prosperity.
In partnership with Tonga, our key areas of focus include support for governance institutions such as the judiciary and encouraging trade and economic growth. We also provide support to Tonga’s health and education system.
Find out more about our current priorities, achievements and activities in Tonga.
- New Zealand is represented in Tonga by the New Zealand High Commission, Nuku'alofa
- Tonga is represented in New Zealand with the Consulate of the Kingdom of Tonga, Auckland - Email
New Zealand to Tonga
- March 2018: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters led a Pacific Mission to Samoa, Niue, Tonga, and the Cook Islands on 4-9 March. While in Tonga the Prime Minister announced a $10 million recovery package, spoke to those affected by Cyclone Gita, and delivered emergency education resources to schools.
Tonga to New Zealand
- August 2018: Deputy Police Commissioner Pelenatita Vaisuai visited New Zealand were she was awarded with the 2018 New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellowship for Tonga. The visit included a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and an opportunity to learn about New Zealand approaches to youth justice.
- December 2018: Lord Fakafanua, Tonga’s Speaker of Parliament, visited New Zealand as a guest of the New Zealand Speaker Trevor Mallard. The visit included meetings with the Electoral Commission, the Auditor-General and enabled the Lord Speaker to observe New Zealand parliamentary processes.
- March 2019: His Majesty King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u visited New Zealand as a guest of the Governor General. The visit included a wreath laying at Pukeahu War Memorial, a visit to Archives New Zealand, and a visit to Te Papa Tongarewa.
News & Events
New rules on South Pacific bottom fishing will significantly improve management of deep water fisheries and reduce the impact on the marine environment.
Remarks by Deputy Secretary Pacific and Development Group Jonathan Kings at event hosted by New Zealand Aid and Development Dialogues at Victoria University, Wellington, 5 July 2018
New Zealand statement delivered by Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 23 September 2016