The Israeli Embassy reopened in Wellington today, after an eight-year absence from New Zealand.

The embassy closed in 2002 for financial reasons, and the Canberra-based ambassador was accredited to New Zealand.

Plans to reopen the embassy were first announced last May, with the new ambassador-designate, Shemi Tzur, named in November.

The embassy opened its new doors on The Terrace in Wellington's CBD today.

Its location was not made public until after the opening, when contact details were posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website.

Israeli officials had been looking for a new site for the embassy in Wellington for some time, but told 3News last month they had failed to find a building with security to protect against the threat of attack.

Mr Tzur arrived in Wellington earlier this month.

Mr Tzur would need to present credentials from the Israeli president to New Zealand's Governor-General before he officially became the ambassador.

The ceremony, involving a traditional Maori challenge and a military guard of honour, would take place at Government House in Wellington on May 7.

Mr Tzur had participated in Middle East peace talks in the 1990s, and had held diplomatic posts in South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Fiji and Uzbekistan.

He had previously been the Israeli ambassador to Cyprus, Finland and Estonia.

A new group, No Israeli Embassy in Wellington (NIEW), said earlier this month it would protest outside the new embassy.

"Wherever the embassy goes, it'll be a noisy neighbourhood. We intend to have a frequent presence and make our objections known," spokesman Alastair Reith said.

NIEW was protesting the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government, including bulldozing houses and building Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Mr Reith said.

They were also protesting the theft and forgery of foreign passports by Israeli spies.

Fake British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports were believed to have been used by Mossad agents to enter and leave Dubai to kill Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Relations between Israel and New Zealand chilled after two reported Mossad agents, Eli Cara, 50, and Uriel Kelman, 31, were caught and jailed for trying to illegally obtain New Zealand passports in 2004.

A third suspected Mossad agent was a former Israeli diplomat based in Europe, Zev William Barkan, 37, who stole the identity of a tetraplegic Aucklander to fraudulently obtain his passport.

Police also sought a fourth person.

Helen Clark, who was prime minister at the time, said there was no doubt the men were Mossad operatives and suspended high-level diplomatic relations for more than a year until Israel apologised in 2005.

- NZPA