New Zealand Embassy The Hague, The Netherlands

New Zealand and Norway

Political and economic relations

While few countries are more geographically distant than Norway and New Zealand - Oslo is 17,660 kms from Wellington - contacts have existed since the early stages of European settlement in New Zealand.

Norway and the wider Scandinavian region was visited by Isaac Featherston, New Zealand's Agent-General, in 1870 for the purpose of recruiting settlers for New Zealand. There was some success and between 1871 and 1876 3,327 arrivals from the "Scandinavia region" are recorded. In fact in 1878 Scandinavians made up one percent of the population, the highest level they have ever reached.

Further information on the migration of Scandinavian people to New Zealand can be found on the Te Ara (The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand) website.

New Zealanders had another reminder of Norway in the early years of the 20th century when explorer Roald Amundsen on 14 December 1911 led his Norwegian expedition to the South Pole, beating the British expedition of Captain Robert Scott.

Most of New Zealand's recent interaction with Norway has been at the international level - through the activities of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. Norway is similar in size and population to New Zealand and both countries have similar social policies and values. Increasing cooperation has become a feature of the bilateral relationship across a wide range of political and social areas. Human rights, international security, disarmament, Antarctic issues, oceans issues and climate change are all areas where cooperation and collaboration with Norway is strong.

New Zealand's Prime Minister visited Oslo in June 2004 and Norway's Prime Minister Bondevik visited New Zealand in February 2005.

A Working Holiday Scheme has been operational since July 2005. This enables 18-30 year old Norwegian and New Zealand nationals to work for up to a year in the other country. The agreement does not place any upper limit on the number of Norwegians able to take advantage of this scheme in any given year.

Trade Relationship

Norway was New Zealand's 69th largest trading partner in 2009/10.  Exports to Norway for the year ended June 2010 totalled NZ$28 million, with principal export being aluminium.

Imports to New Zealand from Norway were worth NZ$35 million in the year to June 2010, with fertilisers being the single largest item.

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