A decade later New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spent almost 18 months in office to visit China.
When she settles in Beijing on Sunday to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, relations between the two nations are much more complicated.
But Jason Young, director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Center, said about the past In some years, there were more and more problems between the two countries.
"Some of these problems are due to how China has changed itself," he said.
The relations between China and New Zealand have encouraged Ardern predecessors.
Wellington's connections to Beijing but alarm bells in the United States, New Zealand's long-time ally, triggered.
In addition to Washington, New Zealand belongs to the exclusive intelligence community "Five Eyes," which also includes the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
"Australia and New Zealand are facing significant problems with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interference. In both cases, the CCP is very close to or near t The political core of both countries, if you will, Mattis told the commission.
The juggling of relations with the US and China has become increasingly difficult for New Zealand, as relations between the two giants become pissed off in the face of the escalation of US President Donald Trump's trade war.
Tensions with Beijing reached a new level in 2018 when the New Zealand Government Security Security Bureau prevented Chinese technology company Huawei from supplying 5G technology to one of the country's largest telecommunications companies, Spark.
The US is putting pressure on its allies and diplomatic partners to abandon Huawei for safety concerns, a move Beijing has routinely condemned.
Ardern spokesman Andrew Campbell said to CNN in February that the relationship was "a little bit confused". .. because of the GCSB's decision regarding Huawei.
Ardern on the back
In the last For months, Ardern came under increased pressure from opposition politicians and critics to defend the strength of New Zealand's relations with China.
At that time, Ardern contested that it is a "relationship problem" with China, instead it is an administrative error.
Ardern's journey also comes at a sensitive time for New Zealand, just two weeks after the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch in which 50 people died. She even said that she would shorten her trip to China, as it did not seem "appropriate" to be abroad at such a time.
"Since I've already raised it, that should give a clue," she told reporters this week.
Prior to their trip, a spokesman for the Prime Minister again denied that she was concerned that the relationship with China was deteriorating under her leadership. "China is one of our most important and far-reaching relationships, and our relationship is mature and resilient," the spokesman said.
The Chinese researcher Young agreed to the official line.
"I think if the relationship really worsens this way, it would be much clearer, I think China would be much more explicit in the message" I wanted to send a message, "he said.
The Pacific Rim – one A region where New Zealand has been playing a significant role for a long time, a new battlefield of influence is increasingly evolving.
Despite the many points of friction, Stephen Jacobi, the director of the New Zealand China Council, is not panic-stricken. Instead, Jacobi said, the biggest fear is that the tiny New Zealand will become irrelevant.
"The reality is that we are a small country and the Chinese do not think every day about how to do beautiful things for New Zealand," he said. "That means we have to be careful how we do things – but we'll never agree with China on everything."