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NATO is a long-standing and likeminded security partner for New Zealand, with whom we share a strong commitment to the rules-based international system and democratic values and norms. New Zealand has contributed to NATO deployments several times in recent decades, since first deploying alongside NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996, and since then also in Afghanistan, the Arabian Gulf, and the Mediterranean Sea.

What is NATO?

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)(external link) is the world’s largest and longest standing political-military alliance, formed under the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. Its members are countries in Europe and North America. New Zealand is not a member of NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty restricts any expansion of the alliance’s membership to European states only.

NATO safeguards the security of its members through political and military means, through deterrence and collective defence, crisis management, and cooperation with a broad range of security partners.

How New Zealand works with NATO

Cooperation on shared security challenges is an important feature of New Zealand’s engagement with NATO. New Zealand formalised its cooperation with NATO in 2012 with our Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP). In 2024, New Zealand and NATO updated their partnership framework, the Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP). The ITPP sets out goals in cooperation and responds to the changing global strategic landscape.  

New Zealand also engages with NATO as one of its partners in the Indo-Pacific, along with Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Since 2022 New Zealand Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, and their counterparts from Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea, have been invited to attend annual meetings with the NATO allies. This increased engagement reflects the increasingly global nature of today’s most pressing security challenges.


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