Our relationship with Brunei

New Zealand has a friendly relationship with the tiny oil-rich sultanate of Brunei, cooperating in many areas such as education, trade and defence. Much of the contact between New Zealand and Brunei is in the context of Brunei's membership of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Brunei and New Zealand also work together in the East Asia Summit (EAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Brunei is also a member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Around 100 students from Brunei study here each year and Otago and Auckland Universities have an arrangement with the Brunei government in which they take a small number of Bruneian medical and dental students. Aside from study, around 1,000 Bruneians visit New Zealand each year for work or leisure.

More than 150 New Zealanders live in Brunei, many working as teachers. Several New Zealand pilots and engineers work for Royal Brunei Airlines. Other New Zealanders work in Brunei’s oil and gas sector and as professional consultants. The New Zealand Defence Force has bilateral engagement with Brunei, including military exercises, training assistance and annual discussions.


2019 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$13.54 million


Exports to Brunei

$12.53 million 

Top exports: travel services, dairy and machinery

Imports from Brunei

$1.01 million

Top imports: textiles

GDP (2018)

US$13.6 billion

GDP per capita (last figures 2018) US$31,437  
GDP growth (2018) 0.1%  

Free trade agreements with Brunei

Brunei and New Zealand have similar views on trade liberalisation. We have two regional free trade agreements that include Brunei:

Brunei is also a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Brunei 
  • 2014: Todd McClay (then Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister of Trade) visited to mark 30 years of diplomatic relations with Brunei.
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key and and other Ministers visted for ASEAN-related meetings, including the East Asia Summit.
  • 2013: Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman attended the second ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Brunei.
Brunei to New Zealand
  • 2016: Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, and Minister of Energy and Industry, Pehin Yasmin Umar, visited New Zealand.
  • 2016: Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, visited for the TPP signing ceremony.
  • 2015: Pehin Dato Abu Bakar Apong (Minister of Education) visited.

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