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Our relationship with Thailand

We have a long-standing and warm relationship with Thailand, and we’re enthusiastic about greater business connections and new areas of collaboration. In 2016, Thailand and New Zealand commemorated 60 years of diplomatic relations. Both countries hosted a number of cultural and social events that celebrated the broad connections linking us together.

We have around 10,000 Thai people resident in New Zealand with over half living in the Auckland region.

New Zealand and Thailand work cooperatively on environmental issues. We’re both members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings countries together to find ways to grow more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The New Zealand Police and the Royal Thai Police have worked closely together for more than 30 years. Police cooperation has spanned across a range of issues such as transnational crime and disaster response in the region.


June 2016 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$2.98 billion


Exports to Thailand

$810 million   

Top exports: milk powder, butter and dairy spreads, buttermilk

Imports from Thailand

$2.17 billion

Top imports: trucks and vans, motor vehicles, plastics


US$395.3 billion

GDP per capita $5,445 (NZ GDP per capita is US$36,801)
GDP growth  0.7%  

Thailand is the second largest ASEAN economy and is New Zealand’s eighth largest trading partner. While the goods trade dominates, trade in some services sectors – particularly education, health, security and IT – is showing promise. Thailand is New Zealand’s largest source of overseas students from South East Asia, and education cooperation between our countries is a priority for Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Thai International Airways operates direct flights between Bangkok and Auckland five times a week, and our respective airlines are both members of the Star Alliance. In 2016, there were over 22,000 Thai visitors to New Zealand and more than 100,000 New Zealanders visited Thailand.

Free trade agreements with Thailand

We have a free trade agreement with Thailand:

We have a regional free trade agreement that includes Thailand:

We're also negotiating another free trade agreement that includes Thailand:

NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

As a member of ASEAN, Thailand is included in the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy. NZ Inc is the Government’s plan to strengthen New Zealand’s economic, political and security relationships with key international partners.

Find out more about the NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Thailand.

To apply, you can go to the Thai Embassy in Wellington.

For more information, read the Thai Embassy website (external link).


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Thailand
  • 2013: Prime Minister John Key made an official visit to Thailand, with Minister Nathan Guy and a business delegation
  • September 2012: Trade Minister Tim Groser met with Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, and met Dhanin Chearavanont, Chair of Thailand’s largest conglomerate Charoen Pokhpand
  • July 2012: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and witnessed the signing of a police cooperation agreement between New Zealand and Thailand
  • 2009: Prime Minister John Key visited Thailand for ASEAN related meetings
Thailand to New Zealand
  • 2013: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made an official visit with six Ministers