New Zealand officially recognized Korea in July 1949 and participated in the Korean War with 5,350 army and navy personnel together with the other Commonwealth nations. To commemorate the Gapyung Battle, at which the forces of the U.K., Australia, Canada and NZ stopped the advance of the Chinese in 1951, the Gapyung Monument was erected in September 1961. To commemorate the battle upon returning home, the NZ veterans of the Korean War organized an association which has annually provided a scholarship to one North-Gapyung Middle School student since 1976.
NZ established diplomatic relations with Korea in 1962 and the embassies were set up in each other’s capital city in 1971.
Prime Minister J. Bolger visited Korea in 1993 and the vice minister of Foreign Affairs and Commerce in 1999. N.Z. mainly exports wood, agriculture and livestock commodities, metal products, medicines, etc. to Korea while it imports vehicles, machinery, steel and chemical products. The imports amounted to US$ 286.09 million and the exports to US$ 718.20 million in 2000. Following the Fishery Agreement of 1978, 4 Korean fishery companies have been operating in NZ but have faced difficulties due to its domestic fishery protection policy.
Korea-New Zealand Pulp Joint-Venture Co. was founded in October 1978. Hyundai began exporting its automobiles, to NZ in 1982. There exist many associations established in order to promote friendship and co-operation; such as Korea-NZ Korean War Veterans Association, Korea-NZ Association, Korea-NZ Friendship Association of Parliamentary Members, Korea-NZ Association for Economic Co-operation.