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Our relationship with Solomon Islands

New Zealand and Solomon Islands have a long and friendly relationship.  New Zealand’s earliest connections with Solomon Islands date from 1849 when Bishop Selwyn founded the Anglican Melanesian Mission in the Pacific including Solomon Islands. Later, New Zealand and other allied troops fought in the bloody Guadalcanal campaign from January 1942 to August 1945. Guadalcanal is home to Honiara, now the capital of Solomon Islands. It was the closest point to New Zealand in which Kiwis would fight in World War II.

Today, our relationship with Solomon Islands is characterised by regular political dialogue, a strong development partnership and growing people-to-people links. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been an important part of the bilateral relationship since 2003.

Solomon Islands lies to the east of Papua New Guinea. It is culturally and geographically diverse with more than 1,000 islands, a land mass of 28,000 square kilometres, and a population of about 565,000.

Regional Assistance Mission

In 2003, New Zealand joined Australia and all other Pacific Islands Forum nations to help restore stability, security and prosperity to Solomon Islands. This came after a time of serious conflict and violence between ethnic groups, known as “the Tensions”. The Solomon Islands was weakened and the Solomon Islands Government sought help from its Pacific neighbours.

Pacific foreign ministers responded by establishing the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands which focused on helping Solomon Islands to restore law and order, rebuild its public service and reform economic management. In 2013 RAMSI transitioned from a combined military/police/development mission to a solely policing mission focussed on helping build the capability of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

Find out more about RAMSI (external link)

Trade

2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$37 million

 

Exports to Solomon Islands

$30 million 

Top exports: cane sugar and pure sucrose, iron and steel, yachts and other vessels

Imports from Solomon Islands

$7 million

Top imports: sawn or chipped wood, logs, legume flour, meal and powder

GDP

US$1.2 billion

 
GDP per capita US$2,009 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  1.5%  

The trading relationship between New Zealand and Solomon Islands is modest, accounting for only 3% of our trade in the Pacific.

Fisheries are an important source of income and food for Solomon Islands. We have an agreement that allows New Zealand fishing companies to enter into contracts directly with the Solomon Islands government.

Aid

The New Zealand Aid Programme works with Solomon Islands to achieve sustainable economic growth, improve the quality of their education and make communities safer.

Find out more about our aid progamme in Solomon Islands

Every year Solomon Islanders come to New Zealand to work in our horticulture and wine industries under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme. Many of them come year after year, and the money they earn and send home is an important source of income for Solomon Islands.

Find out more about the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (external link)

Embassies

Recent official visits

New Zealand to Solomon Islands
  • 2015: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully visited Solomon Islands. He has visited several times in recent years (August 2013, January 2012, June 2011, August 2010) and with Prime Minister John Key and several Pacific Island leaders in January 2009
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key led a delegation to Solomon Islands for the 10th anniversary of RAMSI
  • 2009: Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Satyanand made a state visit to Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands to New Zealand
  • 2014: Prime Minister Gordon Lilo led a delegation to New Zealand
  • 2013: Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Clay Forau visited New Zealand
  • 2011: Prime Minister Danny Philip came to New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting, Auckland

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