Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will leave in a week on a trade trip to Singapore and Japan – her first international travel in more than two years.
Ardern and Trade Minister Damien O'Connor will travel on the Royal Air NZ Force Boeing 757 with a 13-strong business delegation for the six-day-long trip.
It is the first of several trips Ardern is planning this year after two years of Covid-19 measures halted the usually busy international agenda of Prime Ministers – she has signalled she will also travel to the US, Europe and the UK as the usual leaders' round of international summits start to kick off again.
As well as regional security issues in the Pacific, Ardern said a key focus of the trip was to reinforce that New Zealand has now reopened its borders, and promote business and trade.
"It's just over two years since Covid-19 hit New Zealand's shores, prompting us to close the borders to protect lives and livelihoods. Now we must continue to reconnect with the world and I look forward to supporting our businesses across a range of sectors, and seeing my political counterparts in person," Jacinda Ardern said.
In Singapore, Ardern will meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and call on President Halimah Yacob.
In Japan, she will meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the first time - he became Prime MInister in October 2021.
It is the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and New Zealand this year and Ardern said global and regional security issues will be a focus of those talks. That is likely to include measures being taken in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and concerns about China's influence in the Indo-Pacific and reports over its security deal with the Solomon Islands.
Ardern said the two countries are among New Zealand's closest Indo-Pacific partners and her message would be clear - "New Zealand is open for business."
The business delegation with Ardern will include representatives from the dairy, food and beverage, technology, tourism and renewable energy sectors.
"I will be highlighting New Zealand's reopening for tourism and education, as well as supporting our businesses as they rebuild and grow connections with partners and customers in these two significant markets," Ardern said.
The Singapore trip will also include a visit to a major port to discuss supply chains and talks with aviation sector leaders.
Both Japan and Singapore are among the CPTPP trade grouping and trade minister Damien O'Connor said such key markets were critical as New Zealand reconnected with the world.
Japan is New Zealand's fourth-largest trading partner and major exports include horticulture, dairy and meat. Two-way trade totalled $8.34 billion to the year ended December 2021.
Singapore is the fifth largest with a total of $6.56b in two-way trade over the same period.
The delegation will leave New Zealand on April 18 and return on April 24.