Leading a trade delegation to Australia, King Charles’ coronation and a Nato leaders’ summit are confirmed for New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins' international travel programmes for the year, with a visit to China still possible.

Hipkins will travel with a trade delegation to Australia this weekend to mark 40 years of Closer Economic Relations.

He will also go to the United Kingdom to attend the coronation of King Charles III in May with a delegation.

The prime minister has also accepted an invitation to attend the Nato leaders’ summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

Hipkins said he was focused on issues such as the cost of living and cyclone recovery challenges and would only undertake a small number of international engagements this year.

“When overseas I will look to put trade front and centre in order to support our economic recovery,” Hipkins said. 

The government is continuing to pursue a trade-focused trip to China later in the year.

In Australia, Hipkins will meet his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese. This will include follow-up discussions on the rights of NZ citizens living in Australia.

“My visit will also reinforce the trade and economic benefits and resilience which NZ gains from the trans-Tasman relationship, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations.”

He will be accompanied by trade minister Damien O’Connor and will travel with a business delegation and senior Māori representatives.

The delegation travelling with Hipkins for the king’s coronation on May 6 are:

  • Governor general Dame Cindy Kiro and Richard Davies.
  • Prime minister Chris Hipkins.
  • NZ high commissioner to the UK, Phil Goff.
  • Opposition leader Christopher Luxon.
  • Richie McCaw – Order of NZ representative.
  • Willie Apiata – Victoria Cross for NZ representative.
  • Abdul Aziz – NZ Cross representative.
  • Kiingi Tuheitia and Makau Ariki Atawhai.
  • Dame Naida Glavish and Lorraine Toki.
  • Ben Appleton – Kaiāwhina and director of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club (UK based).
  • Sarah Smart – UK general manager of The Dairy Collective (UK based).
  • Craig Fenton – 2023 UK New Zealander of the Year (UK based).
  • Rebecca Scown – Former Olympic rower and CEO of Youth Experience in Sport (UK based).
  • Rhieve Grey – Graduate student and 2021 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (UK based).
  • Sergeant Hayden Smith – Flag bearer selected by the NZ Defence Force.

The prime minister will depart for the UK on May 1 and undertake trade-focused activities in the UK before the coronation to promote the NZ/UK FTA. 

Hipkins also announced a range of events and activities in NZ to celebrate the coronation of King Charles and the Queen Consort. 

“I am pleased to announce a donation of $1 million to Trees That Count as NZ’s gift to mark the Coronation,” Hipkins said. “On the weekend of May 6 and 7, local councils across New Zealand will plant native trees as part of He Rā Rākau Tītapu – King Charles III Coronation Plantings. The public are encouraged to attend events in their communities, including a family-friendly celebration at the Auckland Domain on Sunday, May 7." 

Other ways to mark the Coronation will include:

  • The illumination of several buildings with purple lights overnight on May 6.
  • A gun salute by the NZ Defence Force in Wellington on May 7.
  • The renaming of the next New Zealand Royal Honours List to The King’s Birthday and Coronation Honours List 2023.
  • NZ Post’s issue of commemorative stamps and coins.