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About Tonga

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.

 

Trade

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.

2018 statistics

Two-way trade NZD$240 million*  
Goods exports to Tonga NZD$72 million* Top NZ exports: travel services, mechanical machinery, dairy products, wood
and meat
Goods imports from Tonga NZD$4 million* Top imports: travel services, vegetables, fruit and nuts
GDP USD$470 million^  
GDP per capita USD$4,665^ NZ GDP per capita is USD$41,267

 Sources: *MBIE Trade Intelligence May 2019 (external link)  ^IMF WEO April 2019 (external link)

Development cooperation

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.

Embassies

Recent official visits

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

Aviation partnership makes Pacific airways safer

Pacific
Cook Islands
Kiribati
Nauru
Niue
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu

Commercial air travel in the Pacific is now safer and more reliable following the completion of a four-year programme improving air navigation across the region.

Improved access to essential medicines for Polynesia

Pacific

Improved access to essential medicines in Polynesia following support from New Zealand will help Pacific people live healthier lives, MFAT Deputy Secretary Jonathan Kings announced on 3 October 2019.

Measles outbreak in New Zealand

Africa
Caribbean
Europe
Latin America
Middle East
North America
North Asia
Pacific
South Asia
South East Asia
Australia
United Kingdom

Find out more about the current outbreak of measles in New Zealand.