Latin America includes South America, Central America and Mexico.
New Zealand began diplomatic relations with countries in the region after the Second World War (from 1945). New Zealand has few embassies in the region and not many Latin American counties have embassies in New Zealand. New Zealand had difficult relationships with Chile when it was ruled by a dictatorship (1973–90), and with Argentina when it was at war with the UK over the Falkland Islands in the 1980s.
In the 1970s and 1980s political refugees came to New Zealand from some Latin American countries to escape brutal governments. In the 1990s there was a second wave of migration for economic reasons. Some younger people come to New Zealand on working holidays.
Trade and investment
In the 2000s the New Zealand government launched a strategy to encourage trade with Latin America. Trade was limited but growing, especially in agricultural products. Some New Zealand agricultural firms have investments in South America, particularly in the dairy industry.
Latin American embassies work to promote their countries’ culture in New Zealand. Events and organisations promoting Latin American culture include film festivals, a radio station and cultural groups.
New Zealand plays rugby against Argentina.
New Zealand universities have ties with their Latin American counterparts and there are some student exchanges.
Latin America is an increasingly popular destination for New Zealand tourists, and the number of Latin Americans visiting New Zealand is also increasing.