Relations with New Zealand

  • Last updated: 10 Feb. 2023 14:10

NATO and New Zealand are strengthening relations to address shared security challenges. New Zealand has made valuable contributions to NATO-led efforts in Afghanistan and in the fight against piracy.


  • NATO and New Zealand have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since 2001.  New Zealand is one of a range of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, often referred to as “partners across the globe”.
  • Since 2012, work is being taken forward through an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.
  • New Zealand provided support for NATO-led defence capacity-building efforts in Afghanistan until spring 2021 and also seeks to continue cooperation in the maritime security sphere.
  • NATO and New Zealand are interested in cooperating in areas of common interest, including science and technology, maritime security, cyber defence, Women, Peace and Security, and climate security.

Key areas of cooperation

New Zealand’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Since 2014 under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, New Zealand participates in the Interoperability Platform, which brings Allies together with selected partners that are active contributors to NATO’s operations.
  • An important focus of cooperation is to develop capability between NATO and New Zealand and to project stability and build capacity in other countries.  This includes participation in operations, exercises, training, exchanges of information, personnel and lessons learned, as well as involvement in development of standards and science and technology cooperation.

Support for NATO-led operations and missions

New Zealand made a significant contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which completed its mission in December 2014. It led a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province. From 2015 until spring 2021, New Zealand contributed to the Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.

In the last decades,

  • New Zealand contributed twice to NATO’s past maritime counter-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa, Ocean Shield.
  • It also contributed to Operation Active Endeavour.
  • Several New Zealand officers served in the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Wider cooperation

  • In the framework of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme, cooperation with New Zealand has addressed the topics of counter-terrorism and small states’ responses to salient security challenges.
  • For the first time, in December 2020, New Zealand participated in a NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, together with Australia, Finland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the European Union High Representative/ Vice President of the European Commission, to discuss the shift in the global balance of power and the rise of China. This was only one of the latest and more visible political exchanges NATO has had with New Zealand at various levels in recent years. The NATO Secretary General travelled to New Zealand in August 2019.
  • At the NATO Brussels Summit in June 2021, Allies agreed to increase dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO and existing partners, including New Zealand as one of the partners in the Indo-Pacific region.