Trade with China has increased by more than a third since the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.
Total trade between New Zealand and China went from $8.5 billion in October 2008, when the FTA took effect, to $11.1 billion in October last year.
"New Zealand's exports to China, now worth $4.5 billion, have almost doubled in the past two years, with growth in all major export sectors," Groser said.
"This has sheltered New Zealand from the worst effects of the global recession."
He said in six hours, New Zealand trades with China the same value it traded in a whole year in 1972.
"The FTA has opened the door for more of our companies to reach into China, and put China firmly in their focus."
He said a joint review was conducted late last year to examine how the FTA has served both New Zealand and China in its first two years.
The review showed that China continues to generate interest and excitement from New Zealand businesses, with the majority viewing the FTA in positive terms, he said.
The two governments will continue working together to improve trading conditions, such as customs procedures.
Prime Minister John Key and China's Premier Wen Jiabao last year set a goal of doubling trade by 2015.