Chris Hipkins attending King Charles' coronation, NATO, visiting Australia this weekend

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' travel plans for the next few months have been revealed.

He will travel with a trade delegation to Australia this weekend to mark 40 years of Closer Economic Relations (CER). He'll also travel to the United Kingdom to attend the coronation of King Charles III in May, where he'll be joined by a delegation of prominent Kiwis and community representatives who'll represent New Zealand at the ceremony.

He's also accepted an invitation to attend the NATO leaders' summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

"My focus is on the cost of living and cyclone recovery challenges New Zealand is facing. As such I will only undertake a small number of international engagements this year," Hipkins said.

"When overseas I will look to put trade front and centre in order to support our economic recovery.

"I will be taking a business delegation with me to Australia and will be seeking to advance our trade deal with the UK when in London for the King's coronation and with the EU when I attend NATO."

The Government is also continuing to pursue a trade-focused trip to China later this year.


Hipkins will visit Australia this Saturday and Sunday to meet Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and advance people and business ties between the two countries.

"During our last meeting in February, Prime Minister Albanese and I discussed the situation of New Zealand citizens living in Australia. This visit will follow up on those discussions," Hipkins said.

"My visit will also reinforce the trade and economic benefits and resilience which New Zealand gains from the trans-Tasman relationship, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Closer Economic Relations. 

"New Zealand and Australia's economic success is inextricably linked. The Single Economic Market is a powerful engine for growth on both sides of the Tasman."

Anthony Albanese and Chris Hipkins met in-person in February.
Anthony Albanese and Chris Hipkins met in-person in February. Photo credit: Getty Images

Hipkins will be joined by the Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor and will travel with a business delegation and senior Māori representatives. They will attend a business networking dinner with key Australian and New Zealand contacts.

"I look forward to supporting New Zealand businesses with growth ambitions in Australia, including several Māori businesses and firms from cyclone-affected areas," Hipkins said.

King Charles III's coronation

The Prime Minister will attend the coronation service of King Charles III in London on May 6 along with the Governor-General, the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, senior Royal Honours holders, iwi leaders, and community representatives. In recognition that it's an election year, Hipkins also invited the leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon to attend.

The members of the New Zealand delegation are:

  • Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies
  • Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
  • New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Phil Goff
  • Leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon
  • Richie McCaw, Order of New Zealand representative
  • Willie Apiata, Victoria Cross for New Zealand representative
  • Abdul Aziz, New Zealand Cross representative
  • Kiingi Tuheitia and Makau Ariki Atawhai
  • Dame Naida Glavish and Lorraine Toki
  • Ben Appleton, kaiāwhina and director of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club (UK-based)
  • Sarah Smart, UK general manager of The Dairy Collective (UK-based)
  • Craig Fenton, 2023 UK New Zealander of the Year (UK-based)
  • Rebecca Scown, former Olympic rower and CEO of Youth Experience in Sport (UK-based)
  • Rhieve Grey, graduate student and 2021 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University (UK-based)
  • Sergeant Hayden Smith, flag bearer selected by the New Zealand Defence Force.

Hipkins will depart for the United Kingdom on May 1. Once there, he'll undertake trade-focused activities prior to the coronation to promote the NZ/UK free trade agreement.

"It's important for the Government and the country to be represented at our Head of State's coronation," Hipkins said.

King Charles.
King Charles. Photo credit: Getty Images

Tree planting to mark coronation

Hipkins has also announced a range of events in New Zealand to mark the coronation.

A donation of $1 million has been made to Trees That Count as New Zealand's gift. Hipkins said Trees That Count, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, will work with community groups to plant more than 100,000 native trees. 

Also, on the weekend of May 6 and 7, local councils across New Zealand will plant native trees as part of He Rā Rākau Tītapu - King Charles III Coronation Plantings. The public is encouraged to attend their local events, including a family-friendly celebration at the Auckland Domain on May 7.

"Environmental restoration projects would not be possible without the generous contribution made by volunteers around the country," Hipkins said. 

"The coronation will be a time to acknowledge the immense efforts made by volunteers to improve social cohesion and build stronger, more resilient communities."

Other ways to mark the coronation will include:

  • The illumination of a number of buildings across New Zealand with purple lights overnight on May 6
  • A gun salute by the New Zealand Defence Force in Wellington on May 7
  • The renaming of the next New Zealand Royal Honours List to The King's Birthday and Coronation Honours List 2023
  • NZ Post's issue of commemorative stamps and coins (from May 3).