The visit by a US warship to New Zealand later this week will represent a milestone in the relationship between the two countries and the normalisation of security cooperation, Secretary of State John Kerry says.
The destroyer USS Sampson will be joining warships from 13 other countries in Auckland harbour to commemorate the New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary.
The acceptance of New Zealand's invitation ended the stand-off that has existed since New Zealand anti-nuclear legislation was enacted.
"This is a visit by a US ship for the first time in more than three decades," Mr Kerry said at a press conference in Wellington on Sunday.
"It represents a new milestone in our relationship and the normalisation of our security cooperation."
Speaking after holding talks with Prime Minister John Key at Premier House, Mr Kerry heaped praise on New Zealand for working alongside the US to address global threats.
He referred to New Zealand's help in training Iraqi forces and the humanitarian aid given to Syrian refugees.
"The bonds between our peoples are stronger than ever before," he said.
"We are both bordered by oceans and peaceful neighbours, but in today's world that doesn't protect us completely from dangers that originate many thousands of miles away.
"The US is grateful New Zealand has become a key contributor to global peace and security."