New Zealand joined UNESCO on 4 November 1946. It is covered by the UNESCO office in Apia, Samoa.
UNESCO’s most visible cooperation with New Zealand in recent years has been in the field of cultural heritage. In June 2007, the country hosted the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee, chaired by New Zealander Tumu te Heuheu.
In October 2004, the ‘World Heritage – Pacific 2009’ Workshop was held in Tongariro. The workshop resulted in an action plan for the programme. The World Heritage Kit, “Our Pacific Heritage – The Future in Young Hands” prepared by the New Zealand National Commission with UNESCO support was also launched at the workshop.
The Associated Schools Project network (ASPnet) counts around 69 schools in New Zealand. In August 2003, the ASPnet 50th Anniversary International Congress “Navigators for Peace” was held in Auckland. Some 200 participants from 95 countries adopted a new ASPnet Strategy and Action Plan (2004-2009) to reinforce the Network’s role in promoting quality education.
The implementation of the Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) programme in New Zealand also reflects the country’s successful collaboration with UNESCO. The programme’s activities, aimed at improving water resource management, were conducted in the Mouteka Basin near Nelson, on the northernmost tip of the South Island.
In 2006, Laurence Zwimpfer of New Zealand was elected Chairman of the Intergovernmental Council for UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP), which promotes universal access to information and knowledge for development.