Our strong relations with ASEAN are based on our shared history, growing trade, development and security interests and our close geographic location.

Home to 625 million people, ASEAN is a very important partner for New Zealand. We have a thriving trade relationship with ASEAN and it is one of New Zealand’s most significant source of foreign students, tourists and migrants. Today there's a vibrant community of around 80,000 people of South East Asian origin living in New Zealand.

In 2014, we appointed a dedicated Ambassador to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, reflecting the growing ties between New Zealand and ASEAN.

40 years of partnership

NZ Inc ASEAN Strategy
NZ Inc ASEAN Strategy

In 2015 we celebrated 40 years of our formal relationship with ASEAN. New Zealand became a dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1975. Since then the areas of cooperation and mutual interest have grown and we’ve built a solid partnership. We have high ambitions for the future of this relationship - the ASEAN NZ Inc Strategy sets out our plan to work towards greater levels of engagement, integration and cooperation. 

Read the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

New Zealand – ASEAN trade and economic ties have gone from strength to strength over this period. In 1975 two-way trade between ASEAN and New Zealand was worth US$133 million. This represents just a week’s worth of our trade today - last year's total trade with ASEAN was close to nearly $12 billion. The ASEAN - Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which came into force in 2010 provides a strong foundation to continue our close economic partnership. 

Read more about AANZFTA

A commemorative summit marking the 40 years was held in Kuala Lumpur in November as the finale to the year’s celebrations. Several other events were held throughout the year, including the visit of the ASEAN Secretary-General, an ASEAN Youth Voices event, media familiarisation visits and AANZFTA workshops. We celebrated the anniversary in a number of ways – an important part of this was the ASEAN 40 Awards.

ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership for 2010-2015

Signed in Hanoi in 2010, this declaration is a significant milestone in our relationship that aims to strengthen our political, security, economic and social relationships. Discussions are underway for the next plan of action post 2015.

ASEAN forums

We're an active member of several ASEAN-centred forums including:

East Asia Summit

New Zealand is a founding member of this regional leaders’ forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security, economic and social issues of common concern. The East Asia Summit (EAS) comprises the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. 

New Zealand plays an active role in the EAS, including in disaster relief capacity-building, regulatory good practice, and counter-radicalisation initiatives.

ASEAN Regional Forum

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) includes the 10 ASEAN members and 17 other countries in the region, including New Zealand. Foreign Ministers attend the annual ARF Ministerial Meeting, which is a valuable opportunity for consultation on regional security and political issues, and on global matters that affect the region. The ARF’s priorities include: confidence-building and preventive diplomacy, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, disaster relief, maritime security, and disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons.

ARF is important to the region’s security and therefore our security. New Zealand’s participation is particularly focused on preventive diplomacy, ship profiling for maritime security, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons, countering illicit drugs and disaster response

Read more about the ASEAN Regional Forum (external link) 

ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus

New Zealand is a founding member of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), a group of Defence Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners. ADMM-Plus pursues security and defence cooperation in seven areas: maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster management, peacekeeping operations, military medicine, humanitarian mine action, and cyber security.

New Zealand and the Philippines currently co-chair the ADMM-Plus Expert Working Group on cyber security.

Read more about the ADMM-Plus   (external link)

The ASEAN-CER Integration Partnership Forum

Six forums have been held to date.

Read more about the most recent event in Auckland, New Zealand

News & Events

Measles outbreak in New Zealand

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

Statement on attacks on Surabaya churches


The New Zealand Government expresses sympathy and offers condolences to Indonesia and the families of those killed and injured in the attacks on three Christian churches in Surabaya.