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New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on foreign and trade policy, and promoting New Zealand's interests in trade and international relations

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We're the Government's lead advisor on foreign affairs and trade. Our people are diplomats, negotiators, analysts and advisers. Together we assist with solutions to global challenges, and help our country and region towards improved prosperity, resilience and security.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was first established as the Department of External Affairs (NZDEA) on 11 June 1943 through an Act of Parliament. This decision was prompted by a need for New Zealand to conduct its own external relations and because New Zealand's neighbour Australia already had its own Department of External Affairs since 1921. Prior to that, New Zealand's interests had been represented overseas by the United Kingdom. The establishment of the External Affairs Department was accompanied by the creation of a foreign service and the establishment of diplomatic missions in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Soviet Union between 1942 and 1944. Like its similarly named Australian and Canadian counterparts, the NZDEA was named "External Affairs" rather than "Foreign Affairs" in deference to the British Government's responsibility for conducting foreign policy on behalf of the British Empire and later the Commonwealth of Nations. The ministry represents New Zealand interests to other governments, including at the United Nations, APEC, TPPA and the WTO. It takes an active role in the Asia-Pacific region, and has been involved in regional security initiatives.