SYDNEY (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he had told State Department officials to fully cooperate with President-elect Donald Trump's incoming administration.

After Trump's stunning upset of the heavily favored Hillary Clinton, Democratic President Barack Obama and leading figures in the Republican Party who had struggled to make peace with Trump all vowed to move past the ugliness of an angry campaign to seek common ground.

Kerry said State Department staff must not lose sight of the important issues facing the United States.

"One of the beautiful things of democracy - and we particularly pride ourselves in the United States - is that we have this amazing peaceful transfer of power," Kerry told reporters in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"And we will do everything in our power, as I have instructed our team, to work with the incoming administration as fully and openly as possible, to be as helpful as possible, so that the transfer of power will be as smooth as it possibly can without missing a beat on the important issues before us."

Kerry is in New Zealand en route to Antarctica. Last month 24 countries, which included the United States, and the European Union agreed to create the world's largest marine park in the Antarctic Ocean.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry)