Bilateral relations Switzerland–New Zealand
Switzerland has very good, but not particularly intensive, relations with New Zealand. The volume of trade between the two countries is negligible.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Bilateral political contacts are rare, but the two countries have established close relations at the multilateral level, for example within the United Nations framework, as well as on issues such as human rights, peace and the environment. The two countries are regularly involved in joint multilateral initiatives.
The Swiss Embassy in New Zealand is also responsible for the island states of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands.
The volume of trade with New Zealand is low. Switzerland mainly exports pharmaceutical products and precision instruments. Conversely, New Zealand mainly exports agricultural products to Switzerland.
Cooperation in the field of education
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI) is responsible for implementing Switzerland's international strategy in the field of education, research and innovation.
Scholars and artists from New Zealand can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
A trainee agreement enables young people from New Zealand to spend a limited period of time in Switzerland in order to acquire additional professional experience and to hone their language skills.
Swiss nationals in New Zealand
In 2021, there were over 7,000 Swiss nationals living in New Zealand. In addition, New Zealand is a popular destination for tourists from Switzerland. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 20,000 Swiss citizens visited the country each year.
History of bilateral relations
The first Swiss to visit New Zealand was probably the Bernese John Webber. He accompanied James Cook's third expedition as a painter and illustrator between 1776 and 1779. In the 1860s, the first Swiss nationals emigrated to New Zealand to try their luck as gold prospectors.
Switzerland opened its first representation, a Consulate, 1912 in Auckland. In 1937 the Consulate moved to Wellington, and in 1959 it was upgraded to a Consulate General. Diplomatic relations with New Zealand were established in 1962, and Switzerland opened an Embassy in Wellington in 1963.
The Ambassador of New Zealand accredited to Switzerland resides in Berlin. New Zealand has a mission and a consulate general in Geneva.