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Our relationship with the Philippines

New Zealand - Philippines relations have become more substantial over the last decade as trade has grown and more Filipino migrants settle here. A long-standing development assistance partnership adds strength to the relationship.

New Zealand connects with the Philippines in several regional and international forums including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), APEC, and the Cairns Group (for agricultural reform). In 2016 New Zealand and the Philippines will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations.

More than 40,000 Filipinos live in New Zealand making them one of the largest ethnic groups in this country. Numbers have grown significantly from the 15,300 living here in 2006, and Filipinos are expected to soon make up nearly 1% of the population. Many Filipinos are working in the dairy and health sectors, and on rebuilding Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake. 

More than 1,200 students from the Philippines studied in New Zealand in 2012. A working holiday scheme between our two countries began in 2014 which allows 100 young New Zealanders and 100 young Filipinos to work and travel in each others' countries each year.  


2015 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$766 million


Exports to the Philippines

$643 million 

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

Imports from the Philippines

$123 million

Top imports: dates, figs, pineapples, avocados, guavas, mangoes and mangosteens, electric accumulators


US$292 billion

GDP per capita (PPP) US$7,340 NZ GDP per capita (PPP) is US$37,695
GDP growth  5.9%  

The Philippines is a very important trading partner for New Zealand - it's one of our top 20 goods export markets and in 2014 was our sixth largest market for dairy.

The Philippines is a growing ICT export destination for us, as well as an exporter of ICT to New Zealand. Several New Zealand firms have set up back offices in the Philippines, to take advantage of larger scale, more economic operations and greater market reach. Business councils operate in each others' countries to promote trade and business opportunities, and there have been several government led trade missions in both directions.

Free trade agreements with the Philippines

We have a regional free trade agreement with the Philippines:

We're also negotiating another regional free trade agreement that includes the Philippines:

NZ Inc ASEAN strategy

As a member of ASEAN, the Philippines 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 the Philippines.

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

For more information, read the Philippines Embassy's fact sheet (external link).


The New Zealand Aid Programme in the Philippines is guided by our relationship with ASEAN. Our aid programme in ASEAN countries is about using New Zealand’s expertise in agriculture, knowledge and skills, and disaster risk management to support sustainable economic development.

Find out more about our aid programme with ASEAN


Recent official visits

New Zealand to the Philippines
  • November 2015: Prime Minister John Key visited for the APEC Leaders’ Meeting
  • October 2015: Minister Simon Bridges visited to attend the APEC Energy and Transport Ministerial meetings
  • August 2015: Minister Stephen Joyce visited and commemorated the New Zealand-ASEAN 40th anniversary, at which five Filipinos were recognised for their service to Philippines-New Zealand and ASEAN-New Zealand relations
  • 2014: Minister Woodhouse, Minister Groser and Minister Kaye visited the Philippines
The Philippines to New Zealand
  • March 2016: Energy Secretary, Zenaida Monsada visited for an energy conference and bilateral meetings
  • September 2015: Labour Secretary Baldoz visited New Zealand
  • October 2012: President Benigno S Aquino visted New Zealand accompanied by six Cabinet Secretaries

News & Events

2017 New Zealand General Election

Latin America
Middle East
North America
North Asia
South Asia
South East Asia

The General Election will be held on 23 September 2017. Voters who are overseas can vote from 6 September to 23 September.