NZIIH Launches in Tel Aviv to Foster Ties between Israel and New Zealand

Last month, the New Zealand Israel Innovation Hub (NZIIH) opened in Tel Aviv, which is established for fostering new partnerships and collaboration between the two nations.

The purpose of the non-profit organization is facilitating enterprise and communication and also taking on a business council role and promoting trade and export in both directions.


The Executive Director and Founder of NZIIH, Josh Brown said that he had become frustrated while he was working for the government in New Zealand because of the bureaucracy involved.

Before moving to Israel, Brown had been working as a Senior Analyst for the Treasury in New Zealand. He said that governments by their nature move very slowly.

He stated that a tech transformation is necessary for New Zealand and he believes that an organization like his could provide the solutions that are needed.

There are no such formal ties between New Zealand and Israel, as there are roughly 6,800 Jews in the country and there is no free trade agreement that exists.

While the city of Wellington does have an Israeli embassy, New Zealand’s counterpart in Turkey is accredited to Israel and Tel Aviv has an honorary consulate.

New Zealand and Israel

New Zealand is indeed familiar with Jews and Israel because three of the country’s Prime Ministers were Jewish. The last Jewish Prime Minister had been John Key who had remained in the role for 8 years until 2016.

Taika Waititi, the successful director of Marvel movies, also boasts Jewish roots and has developed some of the most popular entries in the franchise.

Elinor Swery, the Startup Advisor at NZIIH said that there are plenty of things that the two countries can learn from each other and enhanced partnerships can help in doing so.

She said that the two countries are essentially islands that have a lot of immigrants. Born in Israel, Swery had moved to New Zealand at the age of 10.

However, four years ago, she had made Aliyah. She stated that there are huge collaboration opportunities related to alternative meat, agriculture and how things can be grown productively and efficiently.

She added that New Zealand wants to stick to its clean green image and there is not much in terms of energy sources to be found in Israel, which is another collaboration opportunity.

Tech sector

As far as the tech sector of the two countries is concerned, Israel is certainly more advanced in this aspect and New Zealand can learn from that.

Swery praised Israelis for their innovation and their willingness to take risks. She said that New Zealanders tend to be risk averse.

She added that they lack the drive that Israelis have and are mostly comfortable and satisfied with where they are.

She said that this was yet another thing that New Zealand can leverage from Israel and added that the former is also one of the best countries for setting up a company.

This is due to less corruption and the existence of infrastructure, along with a welcoming environment.

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