A cross-party trip to Africa led by Speaker Trevor Mallard could lay the groundwork to boost Africa-NZ trade in the decades ahead.

The group, including National MPs Nick Smith and Nicky Wagner, Green MP Gareth Hughes and Labour MP Angie Warren-Clark, will spend about a week in Ethiopia and Rwanda, and then travel to Gallipoli for Anzac Day commemorations.

Mallard said the cost of the 13-day trip was so far "tracking well under" its budget of $164,000.

The Turkey leg of the trip has taken on renewed importance since the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch; Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the gunman's video at election rallies and then, referring to the Anzacs at Gallipoli, said that anyone visiting Turkey for anti-Muslim reasons would be returned "in coffins", as their grandfathers were.


Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters travelled to a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul to assure Muslim leaders that New Zealand was a country that embraced its Muslim community.

Mallard said the delegation would meet Erdogan in Turkey.

"My message will be that all of us are very concerned about the terrorist attack in Christchurch, and I hope the way it's been handled in New Zealand and internationally will be useful to the world in a more peaceful future."

Mallard said the trip to Africa was his own initiative and followed advice that New Zealand should establish more frequent relations with African countries.

"The advice when I first came to be Speaker from [former Deputy Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister] Don McKinnon was that there are lots of places where New Zealand has links only when we want something.

"One of the roles of the Speaker can be to develop or reinforce links which otherwise would be very thin. There's no doubt in the longer term, because the GDP is increasing quite rapidly in a number of African countries, good contacts now make a lot of difference in 20 to 30 years as far as trade is concerned."

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand exports to Africa have more than tripled in the decade to 2014, when two-way goods trade was worth almost $2.5 billion.

It will be New Zealand's first Speaker-led delegation to Ethiopia, where the African Union is based, and Rwanda.

In Ethiopia, MPs will visit the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and a rehabilitation centre that receives New Zealand and United Nations aid money.

In Rwanda, they will visit the genocide memorial as well as meet the Speaker of the Senate Bernard Muzika. Some of the group will also spend their only day off on a gorilla tour, which they are paying for themselves.

Mallard said Rwanda has viewed New Zealand warmly due to its efforts to support a stronger international intervention to stop the genocide 25 years ago, in which 800,000 died.

In Turkey, Mallard will deliver an address and lay a wreath at the Anzac dawn service. The delegation will also travel in Ankara to meet Mustafa Şentop, the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

"The events of the 15th of March and the aftermath of that, both negative and positive, have added to the importance of the meetings in Istanbul and Ankara," Mallard said.

Mallard has often clashed with Nick Smith in the House, but Mallard expected them to get on well for the trip.

"It's like a rugby team when you all play for your provinces, but when you're an All Black, you all pull together as a team."