A New Zealand trade mission is in Guam this week, hoping to cash in on spinoff from a US$20 billion spend by the United States on military bases in Micronesia.

New Zealand's trade with Guam now is around $9 million, and with the Northern Marianas more than $4 million, but the US military plans to re-deploy thousands of marines and their families to Guam from the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Mission leaders hope the project will open up significant opportunities for New Zealand businesses involved in construction and infrastructure, including consultants such as engineers and architects.

Business delegation leader Gilbert Ullrich said the huge US military spend was looked on by some as the "Klondike of the Pacific", referring to the great gold rush of the 1890s.

"Whilst this may not be a gold rush, it certainly offers big-money business opportunities, and even as sub-contractors, there is a big chunk of construction and infrastructure business for New Zealand companies.

With 8000 troops and their families scheduled to be relocated from Okinawa, there were also significant opportunities for New Zealand food and beverages suppliers.

Businesses and NZ Trade and Enterprise had spent the past four years building relationships with the US Department of the Interior (responsible for those US affiliated islands), and the US military - including attending conferences in Guam and Hawaii.

"This trade mission is yet another tangible statement of our serious intention to be involved in these military projects - and our physical presence in Guam, just now, could not be better timed," said Ullrich, who is chairman of the NZ Pacific Business Council.

The military installation on Guam is one of the most strategically important US bases in the Pacific.

During World War II it was captured by the Japanese in 1941 and retaken three years later.

Ullrich said, "This is yet another instance of New Zealand assisting in the defence of the Pacific, even if it does not involve a direct military involvement of NZ service personnel."