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Our relationship with India

India and New Zealand have a longstanding, friendly and growing relationship. Our ties go back to the 1890s when the first immigrants from Punjab and Gujarat came to New Zealand. Indian troops fought alongside the Anzacs in Gallipoli in 1915. And of course we’ve been long-time sporting rivals on the cricket pitch. There are around 180,000 New Zealanders of Indian descent. 61,440 Indians visited New Zealand in 2017, and more than 27,000 Indian students currently study in New Zealand.

Our relationship with India is a priority for New Zealand and its importance to New Zealand is growing. India’s strong economy, large population and international influence make it a key partner in the Asia-Pacific region. It also represents enormous potential for our exporters.

Both our countries have an interest in the prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and actively participate in the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. India is a Post Forum Dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum. We also connect as members of a number of international organisations including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the Commonwealth.


December 2017 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$1.27 billion


Exports to India

$680 million 

Top exports: logs, coal, wool, aluminium and fruit

Imports from India

$615 million

Top imports: retail medicines, precious metals and jewellery, machinery, textiles and apparel


US$2.515 billion

GDP per capita (PPP) US $7,066  
GDP growth  6.7%  

India has been the world’s fastest growing major economy in recent years and by 2020 is expected to be the fifth largest economy in the world.  New Zealand and India enjoy a growing trade relationship and New Zealand is negotiating toward a free trade agreement with India, both bilaterally and through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

We have taken significant steps in our trade and economic relationship over the past five years. Services trade has more than doubled, to $1.39 billion, and this has helped take total trade (goods and services) to around $2.7 billion. Tourism has likewise more than doubled since 2011, with over 61,000 Indian tourists visiting New Zealand last year. India is New Zealand’s second largest source of international students, with over 17,500 Indian students studing in New Zealand in 2017.

There are also opportunities to grow exports in areas such as professional services, in-country provision of education, healthcare, and aviation.

Free trade agreements with India

We're negotiating a free trade agreement with India:

We're also negotiating a free regional free trade agreement that includes India:

NZ Inc India strategy

The NZ Inc India strategy – a strategy designed to chart a path for New Zealand to ensure that its relationship with India is delivering to its potential across all sectors and areas of interest - was launched in 2010.  This strategy is currently being refreshed.


The New Zealand India Research Institute (external link) (external link) is a consortium of scholars actively engaged in research on India in New Zealand universities.

Find out more about the NZ Inc India strategy 



Some New Zealand NGOs received funding from the New Zealand Aid Partnerships Fund for projects in India (TEAR Fund, Christian Blind Mission, Rotary NZ, Banzaid) to support projects in agriculture development, water and sanitation, community development and small business support. New Zealand currently supports an agriculture development project run by the Christian Blind Mission, a water and sanitation project run by Rotary NZ, a community development project run by TEAR Fund, and a small business support project run by Baptist Aotearoa New Zealand (Banzaid).

Students from India can apply for Commonwealth Scholarships for postgraduate study in New Zealand. Find out more and see if you are eligible here.


Recent official visits

New Zealand to India
  • October 2016: Prime Minister Key visited India with a large business delegation.
  • September 2015: Minister Amy Adams visited India with a clean technology business delegation.
  • November 2014: Minister Michael Woodhouse visited Mumbai to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six key Indian tour operators under the Tourism Industry Partnership programme
  • November 2014: Minister Nathan Guy led a business delegation to Mumbai and New Delhi in the lead up to the Cricket World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand
  • November 2013:  Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully attended the Asia-Europe meeting
  • June 2013: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited New Delhi for high level engagement across the bilateral relationship
India to New Zealand
  • April 2017: CEO of the National Institution for the Transformation of India (Niti Aayog) Amitabh Kant visited New Zealand as a Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow
  • April 2016: Indian President Mukherjee undertaook the first ever official visit of an Indian President to New Zealand.
  • June 2015: Indian Minister of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship led a Parliamentary delegation to New Zealand to build links with New Zealand parliamentarians and to discuss opportunities for collaboration in skills development
  • July 2013: Minister of Human Resource Development, Education, Dr MM Pallam Raju visited to discuss the education relationship through the India-New Zealand Education Council
  • April 2012: Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar and a group of Indian Members of Parliament came to New Zealand as guests of the New Zealand Parliament
  • September 2011: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Preneet Kaur, participated in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) post-Forum Dialogue

News & Events

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