One event can be guaranteed to be on the schedule when Jacinda Ardern finally secures her first trip to China as Prime Minister.

She will be opening New Zealand's newly completed embassy in Beijing.

It is already up and functioning, and is the base for 80 staff from 10 Government agencies – making it New Zealand's largest diplomatic post abroad.

It cost $50 million and is on the site of New Zealand's first embassy in Beijing, which was acquired soon after Norman Kirk's Government recognised Mao's China in 1972.


Two new diplomatic posts were opened last year, by Foreign Minister Winston Peters: one in Dublin, Ireland, and the other in Stockholm, Sweden, which was a re-opening.

The Stockholm event had special significance for Peters because it had first been established when he was last Foreign Minister, from 2005 to 2008. National 's Murray McCully had closed it during the global financial crisis. It was considered a low priority.

It will be a base from which to improve New Zealand's relations with the other four Nordic countries - Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

And with New Zealand negotiating a free trade agreement with Europe, it made sense to have more influential friends in the Union.

Peters quoted an Abba song when presiding over the re-opening in November: "…I've been broken- hearted, blue since the day we parted ... why, why did I ever let you go?"

He also said the decision to reopen the post in Sweden was grounded in the basic realities that both countries had the same fundamental values and had followed similar paths in seeking prosperity including social justice and opportunity for all at home.

The Dublin embassy had been in the planning stages under the National-led Government. The impetus for getting the go-ahead was the vote in 2016 by Britain to leave the EU.

In anticipation of that, it was seen as wholly inappropriate to have the bilateral relationship managed by New Zealand's London post.

And it was seen as about time that New Zealand upgraded its diplomatic relations with Ireland, given the long historic linkages between the two countries – one in six Kiwis claim some Irish heritage Peters said at the opening.

There is only one more new post in the pipeline and that is in Colombo, Sri Lanka, also planned by the previous Government.

With Peters' powerful position in Government, the purse strings have been loosened for his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and more diplomats is a higher priority than more diplomatic posts.

In the 2018 Budget, he got a whopping $900m more for Foreign Affairs over four years, of which $191m is designated for 50 extra diplomats.

And there will be no shortage of posts.

Despite the global financial crisis, the controversial restructuring at MFAT under McCully saved enough to expand New Zealand's diplomatic posts – some in new countries and some expansions in existing countries.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters quoted a poetic lyric from Abba at the re-opening of the Stockholm embassy. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Foreign Minister Winston Peters quoted a poetic lyric from Abba at the re-opening of the Stockholm embassy. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The post in Ethiopia was primarily opened to provide closer links to the 55 countries of the African Union, based in Addis Ababa.

And New Zealand's new post in Barbados was designed to give closer links to the 13 states in the Caribbean.

New Zealand's embassy in Iraq was reopened in 2015 when New Zealand joined the coalition to fight ISIS. It had first been opened in 1975 but closed in 1991 during the first Gulf War.

Representation in the influential United Arab Emirates was expanded beyond Dubai's trade office to Abu Dhabi.

And expansions to representation in the economic powerhouses of China and the United States took place with new consular offices in Guangzhou and Chengdu for China, and Honolulu for US.

The new embassy in Colombia reflects not only its emergence from civil conflict as a democratic and like-minded country but its importance in New Zealand's ambitions to join the Pacific Alliance trade pact of South American countries.

Myanmar's emergence from its hermit-like existence was also recognised with a new diplomatic mission in Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon.


• Barbados, Bridgetown
• China, Chengdu
• China, Guangzhou
• Colombia, Bogata
• Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
• Iraq, Baghdad (reopened)
• Ireland, Dublin
• Sweden, Stockholm (reopened)
• United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
• United States, Honolulu
• Myanmar, Yangon

NZ ESTABLISHED EMBASSIES [includes those above]

• Argentina, Buenos Aires
• Australia, Canberra, Melbourne (consulate, Sydney (consulate)
• Austria, Vienna
Barbados, Bridgetown
• Belgium, Brussels
• Brazil, Brasilia, Sao Paulo (consulate)
• Canada, Ottawa, Vancouver (trade office)
• Chile, Santiago
• China, Beijing, Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu
Colombia, Bogata
• Cook Islands, Rarotonga
Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
• Egypt, Cairo
• Fiji, Suva
• France, Paris,
• Germany, Berlin, Hamburg (consulate)
• Hong Kong
• India, New Delhi, Mumbai (consulate)
• Indonesia, Jakarta
• Iran, Tehran
Iraq, Baghdad
Ireland, Dublin
• Italy, Rome, Milan (consulate)
• Japan, Tokyo
• Kiribati, Tarawa
• Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
• Mexico, Mexico City
Myanmar, Yangon
• Netherlands, The Hague
• New Caledonia, Noumea
• Niue, Alofi
• Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby
• Philippines, Manila
• Poland, Warsaw
• Russia, Moscow
• Samoa, Apia
• Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
• Singapore
• Solomon Islands, Honiara
• South Korea, Seoul
• Spain, Madrid
Sweden, Stockholm
• Taiwan, Taipei (Commerce and Industry Office)
• Thailand, Bangkok
• Timor-Leste, Dili
• Tonga, Nuku'alofa
• Turkey, Ankara
• Vanuatu, Port Vila
• Vietnam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Consulate)
• United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai (consulate)
• United Kingdom, London
• United States, Washington DC, Plus consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu
• South Africa, Pretoria