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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and New Zealand

Switzerland has good, but not particularly intensive, relations with New Zealand. Trade between New Zealand and Switzerland is marginal.

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.

Economic cooperation

Neither in New Zealand nor in Switzerland is there a joint chamber of commerce. In 2011, Switzerland imported goods worth approximately 87 million CHF, representing 0.05% of its total volume of imports. In contrast, Swiss exports amounted to 199 million CHF, corresponding to 0.1% of Switzerland's total volume of exports. Switzerland consistently has a positive trade balance with New Zealand.

Cooperation in the field of education

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

At the end of 2011, there were 6732 Swiss nationals resident in New Zealand, of whom 4907 have dual citizenship.

History of bilateral relations

In the mid-19th century, the first Swiss nationals emigrated to New Zealand, and sought their fortune as gold prospectors in the 1860s. 

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 1963, when Switzerland opened an Embassy in Wellington. In 1968, the Swiss ambassador to New Zealand took residence in Wellington and no longer resided in Canberra. New Zealand accredited its first ambassador to Switzerland in 1973 with residence in Bonn, and subsequently in Berlin.