Our relationship with Republic of Korea (South)

Republic of Korea (South) is our sixth largest export destination and we have cooperation agreements for film, science and technology, education and the Antarctic. New Zealand and Korea are both liberal democracies with market economies, and we cooperate in regional and global forums.

The Korea New Zealand Business Council (KNZBC) helps to progress business relationships between our two countries. In 2012 both our countries celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations with a 'Year of Friendship' including cultural performances, business and academic exchanges and visits.

Diplomatic relations with Korea were established in 1962, with a New Zealand embassy opening in Seoul in 1971. However our political, economic and security links with Korea date back to the Korean War (1950-53) during which 6,000 New Zealanders served and 45 lost their lives. New Zealand continues to support efforts to bring peace and security to the Korean Peninsula and we also engage with Korea on military exercsies, ship visits, defence talks and exchanges.

High level visits between our countries are frequent, and there are regular ministerial and officials meetings. Strong links have been established with a Prime Minister’s Fellowship Programme for Korean politicians and parliamentary friendship groups in both countries.

High level visits between our countries are frequent, and there are regular ministerial and officials meetings. Strong links have been established with a Prime Minister’s Fellowship Programme for Korean politicians and parliamentary friendship groups in both countries.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$4.1 billion


Exports to Korea

$1.8 billion

Top exports: confidential items, logs, frozen beef

Imports from Korea

$2.3 billion Top imports: non-crude petroleum oils, waste oil, and biodiesel, motor vehicles, self-propelled bulldozers, graders, and excavators


US$1,417 billion

GDP per capita US$28,101 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  3.3%  

New Zealand and Korea have complementary economies and are natural trading partners. Korea is our sixth largest export destination. Two-way trade has grown more than four times since 1990, and the New Zealand-Korea FTA is expected to contribute to future growth.

New Zealand is popular with Korean tourists who are our seventh largest group of overseas visitors. Korea is also New Zealand's fourth largest source of international students.

Free trade agreements with Korea

Our countries signed a free trade agreement in March 2015:

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


We have around 30,000 Koreans living in New Zealand and a small community of New Zealanders are living in Korea, including more than 1,500 English language teachers. A working holiday scheme allows 1,800 young Koreans and New Zealanders to work in the other’s country for up to a year. This figure is expected to increas to 3,000 when the FTA comes into effect.

Korean students have studied in New Zealand since the 1960s, and in 2009 our two countries signed an Education Cooperation Agreement to strengthen the relationship at a policy level. The first New Zealand-Republic of Korean Joint Policy Committee on Education was held in Wellington in 2010.

Science and technology

New Zealand and Korea signed a Science and Technology Cooperation Arrangement in 1997, which has led to joint research activities in fields such as environmental science and food innovation. In 2014, we established the Korea-New Zealand Strategic Research Partnership Fund. This focuses on advanced technologies, the environment and Antarctic research, and health. That same year, we hosted the regular Korea, Australia, New Zealand (KANZ) Technology Summit which brings ministers, senior officials and business leaders together to discuss areas of common interest and commercial opportunities in the ICT sector.

Both countries enjoy a collaborative relationship in the field of film. Several Korean films have been partially made or post-produced in New Zealand and our countries signed a Film Cooperation Agreement in 2008.

The Antarctic

We’re both consultative parties to the Antarctic Treaty, have signed the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and are members of the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). In 2012, we signed an Agreement on Antarctic Cooperation to promote cooperation on Antarctic policy, scientific research and logistical activities.

Korea’s new research facility in the Ross Sea region, Jang Bogo Station, opened in early 2014 and is supported out of Christchurch.

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for South Korea.

To apply, you can go to, or post your application to, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Wellington or the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Auckland.

For more information, read the Korean Govenment's website (external link).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to the Korea
  • March 2015: Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser visited Korea for the signing of the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.
  • July 2014: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully met Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se in Seoul to help advance the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement negotiation
  • September 2013: Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce met education leaders and New Zealand-educated alumni and opened an education fair
  • July 2013: Prime Minister John Key met new President Park Geun-hye at the ‘Blue House’ in Seoul and joined a group of New Zealand veterans in international commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice
Korea to New Zealand
  • February 2014: Speaker of the National Assembly Kang Chang-hee and a delegation of National Assembly members and officials met Prime Minister John Key, Speaker David Carter, and members of the New Zealand-Korea Parliamentary Friendship Group.
  • August 2012: Foreign Affairs Minister Kim Sung-hwan visited Auckland for discussions on regional and global issues, during which he signed a new Antarctic Cooperation Agreement with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully
  • March 2012: Minister of Government Legislation Jeong Sun-tae met Minister of Justice Judith Collins, Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs Melissa Lee, and Deputy Speaker of the House Eric Roy.
  • 2011: Minister of Patriots and Veteran Affairs Park Sung Choon Par awarded 17 presidential citations to New Zealand war veterans who served in Korea and to the 16th Field Regiment at Linton Army Camp - he met Defence Minister Wayne Mapp and other Korean war veterans, and laid a wreath at Auckland War Memorial Museum



News & Events


Republic of Korea (South)

2019년 10월 1일부터, 대한민국 국민을 포함한 뉴질랜드와 비자 면제 협정을 맺은 국가 국민들이 뉴질랜드를 방문하거나 뉴질랜에서 환승할시에는 NZeTA(New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority: 뉴질랜드 전자여행허가증)을 사전에 반드시 받으셔야 합니다.

Statement by Friends of the Covax Facility (FOF)

European Union
Republic of Korea (South)
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom

Joint Statement by the COVAX Friends of the Facility, supporting fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines