Relations with New Zealand

  • Last updated: 05 Jul. 2024 16:18

NATO and New Zealand are strengthening relations to address shared security challenges in areas such as science and technology, cyber defence, and climate change and security, and to contribute to upholding the rules-based international order. They also cooperate as part of NATO’s broader relations with its partners in the Indo-Pacific region. New Zealand has made valuable contributions to NATO-led operations and missions.

NATO + New Zealand flag on black


  • New Zealand is one of NATO’s partners in the Indo-Pacific region, together with Australia , Japan and the Republic of Korea . The Indo-Pacific is important for the Alliance, given that developments in that region can directly affect Euro-Atlantic security.
  • NATO and New Zealand have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since 2001. In 2012, New Zealand and NATO agreed their first framework cooperation document, namely the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.
  • Since the very beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, New Zealand has been steadfast in supporting Ukraine’s right to self-defence. This has included contributions to NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package as well as bilateral support.


Political dialogue

  • At the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels, 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. This commitment was reiterated in the NATO 2022 Strategic Concept, the Alliance’s core policy document. Cooperation with partners in this region is key to addressing the increasingly complex global security environment, including Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies in various domains, the deepening strategic partnership between the PRC and Russia, and the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
  • In June 2022, the Prime Minister of New Zealand participated in the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, together with the Leaders of other partners from the Indo-Pacific (Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea). In July 2023 at the Vilnius Summit, the country participated in its second meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government.
  • Since 2022, New Zealand has regularly attended NATO Foreign Ministers’ meetings. This followed the country’s first-ever participation in a NATO ministerial meeting, in December 2020.
  • New Zealand also regularly participates in meetings held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels between NATO Allies and the four partners in the Indo-Pacific at the level of Ambassadors. Recent meetings have focused on cyber defence, technology and hybrid challenges.

Key areas of cooperation

New Zealand’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and covers many common security challenges, including:

  • Building capabilities and interoperability: An important focus of cooperation is to develop capability between NATO and New Zealand and to build capacity in other countries. This includes participation in operations, exercises and training; exchanges of information, personnel and lessons learned; as well as involvement in the development of standards and science and technology cooperation.
  • Science and technology: 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.

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.
  • 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, a maritime security operation in the Mediterranean.
  • Several New Zealand officers served in the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.