New Zealand earned more from overseas than it spent for the first time in a year in the three months to the end of September.
The surplus was due to incoming insurance money following the Canterbury earthquake on 4 September.
Earthquake payments from foreign reinsurers offset payments by New Zealanders overseas to produce a $35 million surplus in the September quarter.
Lower profits earned by foreign owners of domestic companies also contributed to the surplus.
But despite New Zealand having paid its way in the world in the September quarter, the annual current account remained in deficit.
The annual deficit was equal to 3.1% of Gross Domestic Product at the end of September
Once insurance payments, and payments from tax settlements by Australian-owned banks are accounted for, the deficit was 3.8% of GDP, an improvement from the 4.3% deficit in the year to September 2009.