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Our relationship with the Philippines

New Zealand - Philippines relations have become more substantial over the last decade. People-to-people connections are driving this increasingly close relationship with more than 50,000 Filipinos in New Zealand. They are prominently represented in the construction, health and aged care sectors and as workers on dairy farms.

The large Filipino community is spurring growth in tourism and education. In 2016, 20,000 Filipinos visited New Zealand and 4,116 came to study. There are direct flights between Auckland and Manila.



2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$744 million


Exports to the Philippines

$634 million 

Top exports: Dairy products, wood, paper, meat

Imports from the Philippines

$111 million

Top imports: Fruits and nuts, electronic machinery, paint and dye, leather, prepared vegetables


US$305 billion

GDP per capita (PPP) US$7,798 NZ GDP per capita (PPP) is US$37,695
GDP growth  6.9%  

During the past five years the Philippines growth rate has been one of the strongest in Asia, reaching almost seven percent in 2016. The Philippines was New Zealand’s 18th largest export destination in 2016, with goods and services exports totalling NZ$858 million. Two-way trade is worth around NZ$1 billion. By 2020, over 90% of New Zealand’s trade to the Philippines is expected to be duty-free.

Free trade agreements with the Philippines

We have a regional free trade agreement with the Philippines:

We're also negotiating another regional free trade agreement that includes the Philippines:

NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

As a member of ASEAN, the Philippines is included in the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy. NZ Inc is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with key international partners.

Find out more about the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

Working Holiday Scheme

A working holiday scheme between our two countries began in 2014 which allows 100 young New Zealanders and 100 young Filipinos to work and travel in each others' countries each year.  New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for the Philippines.

To apply, you can go to the Philippines Embassy in Wellington.

For more information, read the Philippines Embassy's fact sheet (external link).


The New Zealand Aid Programme in the Philippines is guided by our relationship with ASEAN. Our aid programme in ASEAN countries is about using New Zealand’s expertise in agriculture, knowledge and skills, and disaster risk management to support sustainable economic development.

Find out more about our aid programme with ASEAN


Recent official visits

New Zealand to the Philippines

  • November 2017: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters attended the East Asia Summit and related meetings in Manila.
  • August 2017: Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee visited Manila for the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting.
  • November 2015: Prime Minister John Key visited for the APEC Leaders’ Meeting.
  • October 2015: Minister Simon Bridges visited to attend the APEC Energy and Transport Ministerial meetings.
  • August 2015: Minister Stephen Joyce visited and commemorated the New Zealand-ASEAN 40th anniversary, at which five Filipinos were recognised for their service to Philippines-New Zealand and ASEAN-New Zealand relations.

The Philippines to New Zealand

  • May 2017: Secretary of Cabinet, Leoncio Evasco, visited New Zealand as an ASEAN Prime Minister’s Fellow, meeting Prime Minister Bill English and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee.
  • March 2016: Energy Secretary, Zenaida Monsada visited for an energy conference and bilateral meetings.
  • September 2015: Labour Secretary Baldoz visited New Zealand.
  • October 2012: President Benigno S Aquino visted New Zealand accompanied by six Cabinet Secretaries.


News & Events

Earthquake in Mindanao


At approx 4.30am (local time) a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines on Saturday 29 April.