United States Secretary of State John Kerry and New Zealand ambassador to the US, Mike Moore, will speak in Washington next week about protecting the Antarctic's Ross Sea.

Both men will be at a function which will include a screening of the New Zealand film The Last Ocean.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr may also be there.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully had a long telephone conversation with Mr Kerry this week, his first since the former presidential candidate replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.


One of the main subjects discussed was the joint bid by the US and New Zealand to get support at a meeting in Germany in July of the 25 Antarctic Treaty partners for a vast protected area in the Ross Sea.

Mrs Clinton championed the marine protected area and it appears Mr Kerry is also committed to it.

"He was very keen to promote oceans-related issues and mentioned his keenness for us to work together for the Ross Sea MPA and to co-ordinate our efforts towards the meeting," Mr McCully said.

Mr Kerry had also mentioned that he and Mr Moore would be at the Ross Sea event, hosted next Tuesday afternoon NZ time by a Pew environmental trust in Washington.

It is expected to be attended by Washington-based ambassadors of countries belonging to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCMLR).

The Last Ocean - in which Mr McCully appears - features mainly US and New Zealand scientists arguing against commercial fishing in the Ross Sea and film-maker Peter Young is in Washington for the screening.

Attempts by the US and New Zealand to get agreement for the proposed 2.27 million sq km reserve, including a 1.6 million sq km no-fishing zone, failed at the CCMLR meeting in Hobart in November.

Nations that must be persuaded to support any Ross Sea reserve include South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.

Mr McCully has not met Mr Kerry but may do so in May at an NZ-US partnership forum in Washington.

Mr McCully said Mr Kerry had said he was "very much on board with the emphasis that the Asia-Pacific region had been given under the Obama Administration" and would take a similar interest in the region.

He hoped Mr Kerry could visit New Zealand this year.

• Film-maker Peter Young is political editor Audrey Young's brother.