The New Zealand Army has a number of key relationships with foreign military forces in both operational and non-operational environments. The non-operational relationships support the Army’s operational missions, increase the interoperability of our force in coalition environments, support the development and sustainment of our capabilities, and help meet our training requirements.
These relationships are part of a larger NZDF International Engagement Framework which in itself is consistent with NZ foreign policy objectives. The New Zealand Army conducts these international relationships through both a number of bi-lateral and multi-lateral forums.
Some of these relationships and forums are historical and reflect New Zealand’s shared history, some reflect our geo-political position, and others reflect New Zealand’s historical or current contributions to International and Regional security organisations and missions.
Relationships continue to develop and are dynamic as both the capabilities and the focus of security forces adjust to a multi-polar world and 21st Century security trends.
Key Bilateral (Army to Army) Engagements
The NZ Army’s closest bi-lateral relationship is with the Australian Army, which reflects the fact that New Zealand’s closest Defence Relationship is with Australia.
Other bi-lateral relationships exist with the UK, the USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, China, France, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, and many other nations. The NZ Army regularly conducts individual training courses with many of our bi-lateral partners and many personnel from these countries attend NZDF courses as students. Collective Training Exercises occur every year between the NZ Army and many of our partners with these occurring both in New Zealand and overseas.
Formal staff talks are conducted between the New Zealand Army and other partners in order to share information and to ensure that activities and development of capabilities are synchronised and support interoperability.
As part of its bilateral engagement, the NZ Army also maintains non-operational posts in Australia, UK, Canada, USA, Vanuatu, and Tonga, with several other Army personnel filling NZDF posts in other nations.
Key Multi-Lateral Engagement Forums
As part of the NZDF, the NZ Army contributes force elements as part of a number of multi-lateral security relationships and forums:
The United Nations
As a founding member of the United Nations, New Zealand and the NZ Army has always been a strong contributor of forces to UN peace operations. The NZ Army currently contributes personnel to UN Peace Operations in Timor Leste, the Republic of Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Israel/Lebanon, and Iraq.
The Five Power Defence Arrangements
The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) was established to provide a security umbrella for the defence of Singapore and Malaysia and to assist both nations in developing their own defence capabilities. The FPDA also created a framework for New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom’s strategic defence engagement with the region.
While the FPDA has evolved and adapted to meet changes and new challenges in the strategic environment over the years, its focus remains the defence of Malaysia and Singapore. The FPDA continues to build conventional military capabilities and interoperability among the five nations and also seeks to build capacity in non-conventional areas such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The NZ Army contributes land elements and staff officers to FPDA exercises and also hosts an FPDA exercise in New Zealand every four years.
The ABCA Armies Programme
The American, British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand (ABCA) Armies Programme was formed in 1947 as a result of close Allied co-operation on operations. The Australian Army joined in 1963 with the New Zealand Army gaining observer status in 1965 and full membership in 2006. The ABCA Armies Programme is focused on the deliberate analysis of interoperability gaps and the development of products required by the Armies to close those gaps.
The ABCA Armies programme achieves the effective integration of those capabilities necessary for the ABCA Armies to successfully conduct the full spectrum of coalition land operations, in a Joint Environment.
Regional Security Operations
The NZ Army currently contributes forces to four Regional Security Operations. These are the Multi-National Force Observers (MFO) in the Sinai, the Regional Assistance Mission (Solomon Islands), and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanisation (NATO), and the International Security Forces (ISF) in Timor Leste.
Other Regional Multi-Lateral Forums
The NZ Army hosts and attends numerous regional military forums and events ranging from support to the ADMM+ Peackeeping Working Group (and Exercises) to attending the Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference and the Pacific Armies Management Seminar (hosted in NZ in 2013). As part of the NZDF, the Army contributes forces and also leads Regional HADR and other Training Exercises with partner nations.
Download our International Engagements in PDF [1.57 MB, 2 pages]
This page was last reviewed on 18 March 2015 and is current.