Read the Wellington Declaration here
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today described NZ as a country that "punches way above its weight", after signing a new agreement bringing the two countries closer than ever together.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Mrs Clinton announced the terms of the Wellington Declaration at a joint press conference at the Beehive this afternoon.
It represents a new era of partnership in a relationship that has underperformed since the fallout over New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation 25 years ago.
The strategic partnership commits New Zealand and the US to working more closely together on practical projects in the Pacific, with a focus on challenges such as renewable energy, and natural disaster readiness and response.
Mrs Clinton praised New Zealand, saying her visit was a sign that the US was making a "committed, concerted effort to restore America's rightful place as an engaged pacific nation".
"In a world where solving problems takes more partners than ever before, New Zealand punches way above its weight in every sector of challenge in the world today. It is for me personally a great pleasure to help deepen and broaden and strengthen this important partnership and [I'm] hopeful that the Wellington Declaration will be a sign of closer cooperation in the years ahead," she said.
"We have a strong partner in New Zealand. This is for us a very important relationship and it is probably ... at its strongest and most productive in 25 years. Why is it so important? Together we can address issues in this region and beyond that have very real impacts on both of our peoples."
The agreement will focus on regular meetings between the countries for high-level political dialogue. Ministerial level meetings will be held regularly, and political military talks will take place between officials from both countries every year.
"We'll also make sure that our subject experts meet regularly - there's no point in working in isolation on issues like climate change, or non-proliferation and disarmament," Mr McCully said.
He said the new partnership was "highly symbolic".
"It turns a new page in the relationship and establishes a framework for close cooperation across a whole range of fields of shared interest."
The partnership confirms that the thaw in US-New Zealand relations is complete, and has been for several years.
Prime Minister John Key said discussions today with Mrs Clinton included trade, the war in Afghanistan and the countries' roles in the Pacific.
New Zealand and the US had their respective parts to play in "delivering a safe and more secure global environment".
They also discussed the US joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the East Asia Summit.
At the end of the press conference, as Mr Key thanked Mrs Clinton for her visit, he called her "President Clinton", which they both laughed off harmlessly.
Clinton arrives at Parliament
Earlier, Mrs Clinton arrived at Parliament for talks after being greeted with a powhiri and a challenge, as is common for visiting dignitaries.
US ambassador David Huebner accepted the wero laid at the feet of Mrs Clinton's party by a Maori warrior on a blustery Wellington day.
Mrs Clinton was dressed in a black three-piece trouser suit with a string of chunky pearls adorning her neck.
For more than an hour before she arrived police, parliamentary security officers, secret service agents, media and a few brave members of the public waited on Parliament's forecourt in the wind and rain.
Security was tight with extensive searches of the gardens and restrictions on where people could stand.
The secret service agents wore ear pieces, long black coats and sunglasses - despite the overcast weather - as they talked into their sleeves.
By the time Mrs Clinton arrived just after 2pm there were a few hundred people gathered behind barricades, some with small American flags, and security people looking in every direction.
Another 100 or so parliamentary staff gathered to watch.
Dr Kurt Campbell, US assistant Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific region, was with Mrs Clinton.
She has an entourage of 60 and five travelling media with her.
A 14-car motorcade included black SUVs with tinted windows, several white vans and the black BMW that Mrs Clinton was travelling in.
The rain let up as she was greeted with a traditional Maori hongi and the kapa haka group performed. Someone was on hand to explain the ceremony to her.
Speaker Lockwood Smith, Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully greeted Mrs Clinton and at the top of Parliament's steps she turned to wave to the crowd who clapped and cheered.
Among them was 18-year-old Steven Beban. A Wellington local, Mr Beban has not been to the US but said he was a big supporter of Mrs Clinton and President Barack Obama.
He even had a poster of Mr Obama to prove it.
He said he wanted to come out to support Mrs Clinton, especially after the mid-term elections in the US yesterday which saw Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.
Mr Beban said he supported the policies of the Democrat administration and congratulated them on keeping a majority in the Senate.
"He's (Mr Obama's) still in there, he'll still do well."
Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton was focusing on international diplomacy. She was meeting Mr McCully and Mr Key ahead of a press conference later this afternoon.
After the Beehive talks, press conference and reception, Ms Clinton will go to Premier house for a barbecue hosted by Prime Minister John Key and catered by top restaurant Logan Brown.
Ms Clinton arrived in Wellington at dawn this morning and went for an unscheduled walk along the waterfront.
Tomorrow she heads down to Christchurch.