Our relationship with Central Asia

New Zealand engagement with Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan occurs mainly in the multilateral context. This is predominantly at the United Nations, where we often share similar positions on important issues, such as nuclear disarmament and nuclear-free zones. For example, all five states ratified the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone – the first such zone in the Northern Hemisphere – which entered into force in May 2009.

There have also been a number of recent high-level visits between New Zealand and Central Asian countries. For example, Tajikistan’s former Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi visited New Zealand in July 2013 – the first such visit by a Tajikistan Minister – and in April this year, Kazakhstan’s Special Envoy Sergey Gromov visited New Zealand. The New Zealand Prime Minister’s Special Envoy the Rt Hon Jim Bolger has also conducted numerous visits to the region. Between 2013 and 2014, he visited Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

New Zealand contributes to the development of the region through its Embassy in Moscow’s Head of Mission Fund (HOMF). This is a small grants scheme aimed at supporting small-scale development projects. Recent examples include New Zealand co-sponsoring a project aimed at providing life skills to a group of orphaned children in Astana. New Zealand has also co-funded a number of projects in the Kyrgyz Republic aimed at supporting vulnerable groups (children with disabilities, rural residents and women) and improving agricultural practices. In Tajikistan, the Fund has been used to support projects focused on empowering women, and promoting energy-saving solutions and proper use of fertilisers, in several different rural areas. In Turkmenistan, the Fund has been used to support projects focussed on providing people with visual and hearing impairments with vocational training. The Fund has also assisted women to start up small businesses in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan – a region in the northwest of Uzbekistan that has been severely affected by the shrinking of the Aral Sea. 

While currently limited, our trade and economic connections with the region have the potential to grow.  Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic are members of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Embassies and consular services

  • New Zealand is represented in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan by the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow.
  • New Zealand has had an Honorary Consul in Almaty, Kazakhstan since May 2015.
  • Kazakhstan is represented in New Zealand by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Singapore.
  • The Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan do not currently have representation in New Zealand.

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