Prime Minister John Key has cancelled his planned trade visit to Argentina following the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in north Canterbury.
He was scheduled to depart tomorrow afternoon.
Mr Key says he still hopes to attend the APEC summing in Peru, which starts this Saturday - but there is a possibility that trip might be cancelled too.
"The situation is still unfolding and we don't yet know the full extent of the damage," Mr Key says.
"I believe it is better that I remain in New Zealand in the coming days to offer my assistance and support until we have a better understanding of the event's full impact."
Mr Key's Buenos Aires visit would have been the first official tour by a New Zealand Prime Minister since 2001. It was aimed at boosting trade ties, especially in the agri-tech sector.
It also means a business delegation, which includes Murray Mexted and Mike Brewer, won't visit Argentina either.
APEC is expected to be Mr Key's final face-to-face meeting with US President Obama, before President-elect Donald Trump takes the reins next year.
Mr Key is booked in to speak about redesigning trade at the CEO summit at APEC.
A decision on whether Mr Key will attend APEC will be made later this week.