France and New Zealand


Political relations

Relations between France and New Zealand are built on trust. They stepped up in 2016 with visits of the French Prime Minister to New Zealand of New Zealand’s Prime Minister to France.

A joint declaration signed in Paris on 8 November 2013 by France’s and New Zealand’s Foreign Ministers established areas for cooperation between our countries including the centenary of the First World War, the climate and environment, the Pacific and regional integration of French communities and the United Nations Security Council.

The Embassy of France in New Zealand assists the community of 4,400 French nationals residing in New Zealand (9,000 total including people with dual citizenship and residents who are not recorded). More than 60,000 French visitors and tourists visit New Zealand every year, half of them from New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

Relations between New Zealand and New Caledonia have strengthened owing to the appointment and action of a New Caledonian delegate in the Embassy of France in Wellington since November 2012. His main role is to represent, promote and sustain New Caledonia’s interests in New Zealand and his responsibilities cover the political, economic, cultural and education, and scientific and technical sectors.


French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ visit to New Zealand on 1 and 2 May 2016, marking the first visit by a French head of government in 25 years, was an indication of the high quality relationship between our two countries. In 2011, the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs visited New Zealand and participated in the Post-Forum Dialogue of the Pacific Islands Forum.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, visited France in July 2016 for France’s national holiday celebrations. New Zealand troops were invited to participate in the parade on the Champs-Élysées where he met with the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister. Previously, Mr Key made an official visit to France in September 2013 and also attended the opening ceremony of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs visited France in November 2013, March 2015 and August 2016.

Relations are growing stronger in the Pacific where France is present through its three territorial communities: New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis-and-Futuna. During a visit in July 2012, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, reaffirmed the excellent relations between his country and New Caledonia; he could make another visit in 2017. He also visited French Polynesia in December 2013. Finally, New Zealand backed the accession of New Caledonia and French Polynesia to the Pacific Islands Forum as full members.

The first official visits of the President of Caledonia’s and Polynesia’s Governments to New Zealand in July 2005 sent a strong signal with regard to regional integration of our communities. New Zealand, which also supported in 2006 the accession of New Caledonia and French Polynesia to the Pacific Islands Forum, the political and cooperation organization in the region, as an associated member and that of Wallis and Futuna as an observer, helped Nouméa and Papeete achieve the status of full member in 2016.

France’s and New Zealand’s objectives converge in Oceania. France would like to step up integration of its Pacific communities into their regional environment, which is a policy supported by New Zealand. The France-Oceania Summits, held regularly since 2003, help to develop this policy. The fourth one took place in November 2015 in Paris with President Hollande in attendance.

Economic relations

New Zealand ranks 66 among our clients and 71 among our suppliers. It ranks 47 among our trade surpluses (€150 million in 2016).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French is the leading language taught in the New Zealand school system (47,000 French students). Education opportunities include bilingual French-speaking sections in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Alliance Française networks and New Zealand assistant training programmes in France. Every year, some 30 young people from New Zealand discover our country and our language as language assistants. Working Holiday visas for people aged 15 to 30 enable young people from both our countries to work or reside in the country visited for a maximum period of one year. More than 8,000 young French people visit New Zealand with this visa a year.

In the cultural sector, partnerships are active in the areas of literature, with two writer residencies in Menton and Wellington, film (French Film Festival), as well as creative technology and contemporary art (artist residencies). Sport cooperation (particularly focused on rugby) is also significant.

The France-New Zealand Friendship Fund helps finance human exchanges between our two countries. Every year it selects projects supporting and promoting dialogue between our civil societies.

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Scientific cooperation between the two countries has been consistently strong, the areas with high standards of excellence being very compatible (agronomics, biotechnologies, marine resources, environment and biodiversity, earth sciences and natural hazards, nanotechnologies). Scientific exchanges are supported in the joint scientific Dumont d’Urville programme - Hubert Curien programme, providing the same amount of funds for researchers from both countries participating in exchanges (some 50 projects since 2005). It celebrated its ten year anniversary last year.

France also encourages research in the Pacific on specific problems of the region via the Pacific Fund, which finances two to four projects between New Zealand and French communities of the Pacific every year.

Other cooperation

Defence Cooperation and Commemorations

Bilateral military relations continue to grow stronger benefiting the whole of Oceania. The most recent political-military consultations were held in March 2016 in Wellington. Regular visits of public figures enabled high-level contact between our forces in the Pacific and the New Zealand armed forces. Our armies cooperate on a regular basis particularly in the implementation of the FRANZ Agreement (France, Australia, New Zealand) during emergency and humanitarian interventions in the event of natural disasters in the region. This was the case in Tonga in 2014, Vanuatu in 2015 and 2017, and Fiji in 2016, all three of which were hit by hurricanes.

The brotherhood of arms forged during the First World War—106,000 New Zealand soldiers who fought in the war,18,500 of whom were killed and 41,500 wounded—, the foundation of our bilateral relationship, is still very much alive. An agreement on shared memory was signed during a visit by Prime Minister Helen Clark to France in June 2004. Commemorations of the centenary of the First World War play an important role in our bilateral relationship. They pay tribute to the 106,000 New Zealand soldiers who fought in the war, 18,500 of whom were killed and 41,500 wounded. The Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance visited New Zealand in November 2013 and 2016 to prepare these centenary commemorations, and his counterpart visited France in 2013 and 2015. In 2016, New Zealand troops participated in the parade on the Champs-Élysées for France’s national holiday celebrations. In addition, France is building a commemorative monument in the National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

Updated: 16/06/17