Air New Zealand is launching its service to Houston and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is on the inaugural flight.
"It's hugely exciting to see our national carrier flying there and reaching into the middle of the continental US for the first time," he said before leaving this morning.
"Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and a major airline hub for the southern and eastern United States."
Mr Joyce sees economic benefits.
"Trade with Texas alone is worth $500 million a year and this new air link will support more New Zealand companies to build ties in the southern states and through Central and South America."
Mr Joyce has meetings lined up in Houston with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and he's going to an Asia Society event to promote the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.