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New Zealand and Kiribati have a strong bilateral relationship based on people to people links and shared Pacific interests. New Zealand’s official aid programme to Kiribati has increased substantially in recent years. There is a small i-Kiribati community of approximately 1,600 people in New Zealand.
Ranking: NZ’s 158th largest trading partner
NZ exports: NZ$7.4 million (FOB)
Main exports: Wood ($1m); Machinery ($0.9m); Vehicles ($0.7m)
NZ imports: NZ$84,000 (CIF)
Main imports: Coconut and copra oil
New Zealand Aid Programme activities in Kiribati are based on the overall aid programme mandate and the specific development challenges in Kiribati. The programme includes workforce training to equip seafarers for international employment, waste management and water supply initiatives to provide a healthier urban environment, family planning and medical treatment initiatives to promote health and manage population pressure, and transport infrastructure support.
Although trade between Kiribati and New Zealand is limited, and can fluctuate widely from year to year, the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme between New Zealand and Pacific states is supporting the development of the relationship, as does the annual allocation of residential permits under the Pacific Access Category. Under the RSE scheme Kiribati (and other Pacific Island Country) people may be recruited for temporary work in New Zealand in the horticulture and viticulture industries.
With 3.55 million square kilometres, Kiribati has the second largest EEZ in the Pacific. The Royal New Zealand Air Force assists Kiribati with maritime surveillance flights to help police its huge exclusive economic zone against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Both countries share membership of regional and international organisations, such as the Pacific Islands Forum, and a common interest in sustainable development, maritime security and climate change.
New Zealand is represented in Kiribati through its High Commission in Tarawa.
The High Commissioner is HE Mike Walsh.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not issued a specific travel advisory for Kiribati. Links to other nations' advice, and New Zealand's Pacific regional advice, can be found at Safe Travel website [external link].