Location of New Zealand within the Realm of New Zealand
|Ethnic groups (2013)|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||John Key|
(House of Representatives)
|Independence from the United Kingdom|
|-||Self-government||17 January 1853|
|-||Dominion||26 September 1907|
|-||Statute of Westminster Adoption Act||25 November 1947|
|-||Current constitution||13 December 1986|
|-||Total||268,021 km2 (75th)
103,483 sq mi
|-||Water (%)||1.6n 3|
|-||June 2014 estimate||4,537,0816 (123rd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.91010
very high · 7th
|Currency||New Zealand dollar (NZD)|
|Time zone||NZSTn 4 (UTC+12)|
|-||Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
|(Sep to Apr)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||NZ|
New Zealand (//; Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 CE and developed a distinctive Māori culture. Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642 CE.11 In 1840, the British Crown and Māori signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant. The country's economy was historically dominated by the export of wool, but exports of dairy products, meat, and wine, along with tourism, are more significant today.
Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Politics
- 4 Environment
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demography
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and called it Staten Landt, supposing it was connected to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America.12 In 1645 Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland.1314 British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.n 5
Aotearoa (often translated as "land of the long white cloud")15 is the current Māori name for New Zealand. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa originally referring to just the North Island.16 Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui (the fish of Māui) for the North Island and Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki) for the South Island.17 Early European maps labelled the islands North (North Island), Middle (South Island) and South (Stewart Island / Rakiura).18 In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm.19 The New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, and names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te Waipounamu.20 Note that for each island, either its English or Māori name can be used, or both can be used together.
New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation22 and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations23 suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300,1724 concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.25 Over the centuries that followed these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands (which they named Rēkohu) where they developed their distinct Moriori culture.2627 The Moriori population was decimated between 1835 and 1862, largely because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases also contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.28
The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642.29 In a hostile encounter, four crew members were killed and at least one Māori was hit by canister shot.30 Europeans did not revisit New Zealand until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline.29 Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, food, artifacts and water.31 The introduction of the potato and the musket transformed Māori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, which enabled longer and more sustained military campaigns.32 The resulting inter-tribal Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000–40,000 Māori.33 From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population.34 The Māori population declined to around 40 percent of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.35
In 1788 Arthur Phillip assumed the position of Governor of New South Wales and claimed New Zealand as part of New South Wales.citation needed The British Government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 183236 and in 1835, following an announcement of impending French settlement by Charles de Thierry, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent a Declaration of the Independence to King William IV of the United Kingdom asking for protection.36 Ongoing unrest and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the British Crown and negotiate a treaty with the Māori.37 The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840.38 In response to the commercially run New Zealand Company's attempts to establish an independent settlement in Wellington39 and French settlers "purchasing" land in Akaroa,40 Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the Treaty were still circulating.41 With the signing of the Treaty and declaration of sovereignty the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.42
New Zealand, originally part of the colony of New South Wales, became a separate Colony of New Zealand on 1 July 1841.43 The colony gained a representative government in 1852 and the 1st New Zealand Parliament met in 1854.44 In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsibility over all domestic matters other than native policy. (Control over native policy was granted in the mid-1860s.)44 Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution to transfer the capital from Auckland to a locality near the Cook Strait.45 Wellington was chosen for its harbour and central location, with parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land.46 In 1893 the country became the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote47 and in 1894 pioneered the adoption of compulsory arbitration between employers and unions.48
In 1907, at the request of the New Zealand Parliament, King Edward VII proclaimed New Zealand a dominion within the British Empire, reflecting its self-governing status. Accordingly, the title "Dominion of New Zealand" dates from 1907.4950
In 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, confirming that the British parliament could no longer legislate for New Zealand without the consent of New Zealand.44 New Zealand was involved in world affairs, fighting alongside the British Empire in the First and Second World Wars51 and suffering through the Great Depression.52 The depression led to the election of the first Labour government and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy.53 New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II54 and Māori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work.55 A Māori protest movement developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi.56 In 1975, a Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1985.38 The government has negotiated settlements of these grievances with many iwi, although Māori claims to the foreshore and seabed have proved controversial in the 2000s.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy,57 although its constitution is not codified.58 Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and the head of state.59 The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister.6061 The Governor-General can exercise the Crown's prerogative powers, such as reviewing cases of injustice and making appointments of ministers, ambassadors and other key public officials,62 and in rare situations, the reserve powers (e.g. the power to dissolve Parliament or refuse the Royal Assent of a bill into law).63 The powers of the Queen and the Governor-General are limited by constitutional constraints and they cannot normally be exercised without the advice of Cabinet.6364
The New Zealand Parliament holds legislative power and consists of the Queen and the House of Representatives.64 It also included an upper house, the Legislative Council, until this was abolished in 1950.64 The supremacy of Parliament, over the Crown and other government institutions, was established in England by the Bill of Rights 1689 and has been ratified as law in New Zealand.64 The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a Government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats.64 If no majority is formed a minority government can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply votes is assured. The Governor-General appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition.65 Cabinet, formed by ministers and led by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy-making body in government and responsible for deciding significant government actions.66 By convention, members of cabinet are bound by collective responsibility to decisions made by cabinet.67
Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure to help maintain constitutional independence from the government.58 This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on the legislation enacted by Parliament without other influences on their decisions.68 The Privy Council in London was the country's final court of appeal until 2004, when it was replaced with the newly established Supreme Court of New Zealand. The judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice,69 includes the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and subordinate courts.58
Almost all parliamentary general elections between 1853 and 1993 were held under the first-past-the-post voting system.70 The elections since 1930 have been dominated by two political parties, National and Labour.70 Since the 1996 election, a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used.58 Under the MMP system each person has two votes; one is for electoral seats (including some reserved for Māori),71 and the other is for a party. Since the 2005 election, there have been 70 electorate seats (which includes, since the 1996 election, 7 Māori electorates), and the remaining fifty seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electoral seat or 5 percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats.72 Between March 2005 and August 2006 New Zealand became the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land (Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice) were occupied simultaneously by women.73
New Zealand is identified as one of the world's most stable and well-governed nations.74 As of 2011, the country was ranked fifth in the strength of its democratic institutions75 and first in government transparency and lack of corruption.76 New Zealand has a high level of civic participation, with 79% voter turnout during the most recent elections, compared to an OECD average of 72%. Furthermore, 67% of New Zealanders say they trust their political institutions, far higher than the OECD average of 56%.77
Foreign relations and the military
Early colonial New Zealand allowed the British Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy.78 The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate their own political treaties and the first commercial treaty was ratified in 1928 with Japan. On 3 September 1939 New Zealand allied itself with Britain and declared war on Germany with Prime Minister Michael Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand."79
In 1951 the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests,80 while New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty.81 The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War,82 the refusal of the United States to admonish France after the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior,83 disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.8485 Despite the USA's suspension of ANZUS obligations the treaty remained in effect between New Zealand and Australia, whose foreign policy has followed a similar historical trend.86 Close political contact is maintained between the two countries, with free trade agreements and travel arrangements that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries without restrictions.87 In 2013, there are about 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which is about 15 percent of the population of New Zealand.88 65,000 Australians live in New Zealand.87
New Zealand has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zealand's aid goes to these countries and many Pacific people migrate to New Zealand for employment.89 Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category, which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year. A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it.90 New Zealand is involved in the Pacific Islands Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (including the East Asia Summit).87 New Zealand is also a member of the United Nations,91 the Commonwealth of Nations,92 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development93 and the Five Power Defence Arrangements.94
The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.95 New Zealand's national defence needs are modest because of the unlikelihood of direct attack,96 although it does have a global presence. The country fought in both world wars, with notable campaigns in Gallipoli, Crete,97 El Alamein98 and Cassino.99 The Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering New Zealand's national identity100101 and strengthened the ANZAC tradition it shares with Australia.102 According to Mary Edmond-Paul, "World War I had left scars on New Zealand society, with nearly 18,500 in total dying as a result of the war, more than 41,000 wounded, and others affected emotionally, out of an overseas fighting force of about 103,000 and a population of just over a million."103 New Zealand also played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate104 and the Battle of Britain air campaign.105106 During World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand.107
In addition to Vietnam and the two world wars, New Zealand fought in the Korean War, the Second Boer War,108 the Malayan Emergency,109 the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.110 New Zealand also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War.
New Zealand ranks 8th in the Center for Global Development's 2012 Commitment to Development Index, which ranks the world's most developed countries on their dedication to policies that benefit poorer nations.111 New Zealand is considered the second most peaceful country in the world according to the 2012 Global Peace Index.112
Local government and external territories
The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces, which had a degree of autonomy.113 Because of financial pressures and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales and other policies, government was centralised and the provinces were abolished in 1876.114 As a result, New Zealand now has no separately represented subnational entities. The provinces are remembered in regional public holidays115 and sporting rivalries.116
Since 1876, various councils have administered local areas under legislation determined by the central government.113117 In 1989, the government reorganised local government into the current two-tier structure of regional councils and territorial authorities.118 The 249 municipalities118 that existed in 1975 have now been consolidated into 67 territorial authorities and 11 regional councils.119 The regional councils' role is to regulate "the natural environment with particular emphasis on resource management",118 while territorial authorities are responsible for sewage, water, local roads, building consents and other local matters.120 Five of the territorial councils are unitary authorities and also act as regional councils.121 The territorial authorities consist of 13 city councils, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council. While officially the Chatham Islands Council is not a unitary authority, it undertakes many functions of a regional council.122
New Zealand is one of 16 realms within the Commonwealth.123124 The Realm of New Zealand is the territory over which the Queen of New Zealand is sovereign and comprises New Zealand, Tokelau, the Ross Dependency, the Cook Islands and Niue.124 The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.125126 The New Zealand Parliament cannot pass legislation for these countries, but with their consent can act on behalf of them in foreign affairs and defence. Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory that uses the New Zealand flag and anthem, but is administered by a council of three elders (one from each Tokelauan atoll).127128 The Ross Dependency is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica, where it operates the Scott Base research facility.129 New Zealand citizenship law treats all parts of the realm equally, so most people born in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency before 2006 are New Zealand citizens. Further conditions apply for those born from 2006 onwards.130
|Administrative divisions of the Realm of New Zealand|
|Sovereign States||New Zealand||Cook Islands||Niue|
|Regions||11 non-unitary regions||5 unitary regions||Chatham Islands||Outlying islands outside any regional authority
(the Kermadec Islands, Three Kings Islands, and Sub-Antarctic Islands)
|Ross Dependency||Tokelau||15 islands||14 villages|
|Territorial authorities||13 cities and 53 districts|
|Notes||Some districts lie in more than one region||These combine the regional and the territorial authority levels in one||Special territorial authority||The outlying Solander Islands form part of the Southland Region||New Zealand's Antarctic territory||Non-self-governing territory of New Zealand||States in free association with New Zealand|
New Zealand is located near the centre of the water hemisphere and is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller islands. The two main islands (the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu) are separated by the Cook Strait, 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point.131 Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island (in the Hauraki Gulf),132 d'Urville Island (in the Marlborough Sounds)133 and Waiheke Island (about 22 km (14 mi) from central Auckland).134 The country's islands lie between latitudes 29° and 53°S, and longitudes 165° and 176°E.
New Zealand is long and narrow (over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its north-north-east axis with a maximum width of 400 kilometres (250 mi)),135 with about 15,000 km (9,300 mi) of coastline136 and a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi)137 Because of its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Its Exclusive Economic Zone, one of the largest in the world, covering more than 15 times its land area.138
The South Island is the largest landmass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps.139 There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), the highest of which is Aoraki / Mount Cook 3,754 metres (12,316 ft).140 Fiordland's steep mountains and deep fiords record the extensive ice age glaciation of this south-western corner of the South Island.141 The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism.142 The highly active Taupo Volcanic Zone has formed a large volcanic plateau, punctuated by the North Island's highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 metres (9,177 ft)). The plateau also hosts the country's largest lake, Lake Taupo,143 nestled in the caldera of one of the world's most active supervolcanoes.144
The country owes its varied topography, and perhaps even its emergence above the waves, to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates.145 New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwanan supercontinent.146 About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to contort and crumple the region. This is now most evident in the Southern Alps, formed by compression of the crust beside the Alpine Fault. Elsewhere the plate boundary involves the subduction of one plate under the other, producing the Puysegur Trench to the south, the Hikurangi Trench east of the North Island, and the Kermadec and Tonga Trenches147 further north.145
New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate (Köppen: Cfb) with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north.148 Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.32 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Ranfurly, Otago.149 Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland.150 Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year and Auckland the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount.151 Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average of more than 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours.152 The general snow season is about early June until early October in the South Island. It is less common on the North Island, although it does occur.
New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years153 and island biogeography is responsible for the country's unique species of animals, fungi and plants. They have either evolved from Gondwanan wildlife or the few organisms that have managed to reach the shores flying, swimming or being carried across the sea.154 About 82 percent of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single endemic family.155156 The number of fungi recorded from New Zealand, including lichen-forming species, is not known, nor is the proportion of those fungi which are endemic, but one estimate suggests there are approximately 2300 species of lichen-forming fungi in New Zealand155 and 40 percent of these are endemic.157 The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates.158 The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.159
Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80 percent of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees.160 Massive deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement.161 Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23 percent of the land.162
The forests were dominated by birds, and the lack of mammalian predators led to some like the kiwi, kakapo and takahē evolving flightlessness.163 The arrival of humans, associated changes to habitat, and the introduction of rats, ferrets and other mammals led to the extinction of many bird species, including large birds like the moa and Haast's Eagle.164165
Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuataras, skinks and geckos),166 frogs, spiders (katipo), insects (weta) and snails.167168 Some, such as the wrens and tuatara, are so unique that they have been called living fossils. Three species of bats (one since extinct) were the only sign of native land mammals in New Zealand until the 2006 discovery of bones from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal at least 16 million years old.169170 Marine mammals however are abundant, with almost half the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters.171 Many seabirds breed in New Zealand, a third of them unique to the country.172 More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.173
Since human arrival almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat. Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced.164 However, New Zealand conservationists have pioneered several methods to help threatened wildlife recover, including island sanctuaries, pest control, wildlife translocation, fostering, and ecological restoration of islands and other selected areas.174175176177 According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, New Zealand is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection, ranking 14th out of 132 assessed countries.178
New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of roughly US$28,250.n 6 The currency is the New Zealand dollar, informally known as the "Kiwi dollar"; it also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands.182 New Zealand was ranked sixth in the 2013 Human Development Index,183 fourth in the The Heritage Foundation's 2012 Index of Economic Freedom,184 and 13th in INSEAD's 2012 Global Innovation Index.185
Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focussing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber.187 With the development of refrigerated shipping in the 1880s meat and dairy products were exported to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand.188 High demand for agricultural products from the United Kingdom and the United States helped New Zealanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.189 In 1973 New Zealand's export market was reduced when the United Kingdom joined the European Community190 and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis, led to a severe economic depression.191 Living standards in New Zealand fell behind those of Australia and Western Europe, and by 1982 New Zealand had the lowest per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by the World Bank.192 Since 1984, successive governments engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring (known first as Rogernomics and then Ruthanasia), rapidly transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist economy to a liberalised free-trade economy.193194
Unemployment peaked above 10 percent in 1991 and 1992,195 following the 1987 share market crash, but eventually fell to a record low of 3.4 percent in 2007 (ranking fifth from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations).196 However, the global financial crisis that followed had a major impact on New Zealand, with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years,197198 and unemployment rising back to 7 percent in late 2009.199 At May 2012, the general unemployment rate was around 6.7 percent, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 13.6 percent.200 New Zealand has experienced a series of "brain drains" since the 1970s201 that still continue today.202 Nearly one quarter of highly skilled workers live overseas, mostly in Australia and Britain, which is the largest proportion from any developed nation.203 In recent years, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.204205
New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade,206 particularly in agricultural products.207 Exports account for a high 24 percent of its output,136 making New Zealand vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country's exports.208 Its major export partners are Australia, United States, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom.136 On 7 April 2008, New Zealand and China signed the New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement, the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country.209210 The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction.136 Tourism plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy, contributing $15.0 billion to New Zealand’s total GDP and supporting 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010.211 International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1 percent in the year to October 2010212 and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually up to 2015.211
Wool was New Zealand’s major agricultural export during the late 19th century.187 Even as late as the 1960s it made up over a third of all export revenues,187 but since then its price has steadily dropped relative to other commodities213 and wool is no longer profitable for many farmers.214 In contrast dairy farming increased, with the number of dairy cows doubling between 1990 and 2007,215 to become New Zealand's largest export earner.216 In the year to June 2009, dairy products accounted for 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports,217 and the country's largest company, Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade.218 Other agricultural exports in 2009 were meat 13.2 percent, wool 6.3 percent, fruit 3.5 percent and fishing 3.3 percent. New Zealand's wine industry has followed a similar trend to dairy, the number of vineyards doubling over the same period,219 overtaking wool exports for the first time in 2007.220221
In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated about 69 percent of New Zealand's gross energy supply while 31% was generated from renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power and geothermal power.222 New Zealand's transport network includes 93,805 kilometres (58,288 mi) of roads, worth 23 billion dollars,223 and 4,128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines.136 Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport.224 The railways were privatised in 1993, then re-purchased by the government in 2004 and vested into a state owned enterprise.225 Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers.226 Most international visitors arrive via air227 and New Zealand has six international airports, but currently[update] only the Auckland and Christchurch airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji.228 The New Zealand Post Office had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1989 when Telecom New Zealand was formed, initially as a state-owned enterprise and then privatised in 1990.229 Telecom still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased.230 The United Nations International Telecommunication Union ranks New Zealand 12th in the development of information and communications infrastructure, having moved up four places between 2008 and 2010.231
The population of New Zealand is about 4.5 million.232 New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53 percent living in the four largest cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton.233 New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2010 Auckland was ranked the world's 4th most liveable city and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey234
Life expectancy of a New Zealand in 2012 was 84 years for females, and 80.2 years for males.235 Life expectancy at birth is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050 and infant mortality is expected to decline.236 New Zealand's fertility rate of 2.1 is relatively high for a developed country, and natural births account for a significant proportion of population growth. Consequently, the country has a young population compared to most industrialized nations, with 20 percent of New Zealanders being 14 years-old or younger.136 By 2050 the population is forecast to reach 5.3 million, the median age to rise from 36 years to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18 percent to 29 percent.236 Despite the high life expectancy, mortality from heart disease is higher in New Zealand than it is in various other developed Western countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.237
|List of cities in New Zealand
(June 2010 population estimates)238
|Rank||City Name||Region||Pop.||Rank||City Name||Region||Pop.|
|1||Auckland||Auckland Region||1,418,000||7||Dunedin||Otago Region||119,100|
|2||Wellington||Wellington Region||397,900||8||Palmerston North||Manawatu-Wanganui Region||83,800|
|4||Hamilton||Waikato Region||212,000||10||Rotorua||Bay of Plenty Region||56,200|
|5||Napier-Hastings||Hawke's Bay region||125,300||11||New Plymouth||Taranaki Region||53,400|
|6||Tauranga||Bay of Plenty Region||123,500||12||Whangarei||Northland Region||52,900|
Ethnicity and immigration
In the 2006 census, 67.6 percent identified ethnically as European and 14.6 percent as Māori.239 An additional 11.1 percent of the population identified simply as being of "New Zealander" (or similar) origin; most of these are believed to be of European heritage.240 Other major ethnic groups include Asian (9.2 percent) and Pacific peoples (6.9 percent), while 1 percent identified with other ethnicities.241n 7 The population has become more diverse in recent decades: in 1961, the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92 percent European and 7 percent Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1 percent.243
While the demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "Kiwi" is commonly used both internationally244 and by locals.245 The Māori loanword Pākehā has been used to refer to New Zealanders of European descent, although others reject this appellation.246247 The word Pākehā today is increasingly used to refer to all non-Polynesian New Zealanders.248
The Māori were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early European settlers. Following colonisation, immigrants were predominantly from Britain, Ireland and Australia because of restrictive policies similar to the white Australian policies.249 There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatian,250 Italian, and German immigration, together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa.251 Following the Great Depression policies were relaxed and migrant diversity increased. In 2009–10, an annual target of 45,000–50,000 permanent residence approvals was set by the New Zealand Immigration Service — more than one new migrant for every 100 New Zealand residents.252 Twenty-three percent of New Zealand's population were born overseas, most of whom live in the Auckland region.253 While most have still come from the United Kingdom and Ireland (29 percent), immigration from East Asia (mostly mainland China, but with substantial numbers also from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong) is rapidly increasing the number of people from those countries.254 The number of fee-paying international students increased sharply in the late 1990s, with more than 20,000 studying in public tertiary institutions in 2002.255
English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98 percent of the population.3 New Zealand English is similar to Australian English and many speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accents apart.256 The most prominent differences between the New Zealand English dialect and other English dialects are the shifts in the short front vowels: the short-"i" sound (as in "kit") has centralised towards the schwa sound (the "a" in "comma" and "about"); the short-"e" sound (as in "dress") has moved towards the short-"i" sound; and the short-"a" sound (as in "trap") has moved to the short-"e" sound.257 Hence, the New Zealand pronunciation of words such as "bad", "dead", "fish" and "chips" sound like "bed", "did", "fush" and "chups" to non-New Zealanders.
After the Second World War, Māori were discouraged from speaking their own language (te reo Māori) in schools and workplaces and it existed as a community language only in a few remote areas.258 It has recently undergone a process of revitalisation,259260 being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987,261 and is spoken by 4.1 percent of the population.3 There are now Māori language immersion schools and two Māori Television channels, the only nationwide television channels to have the majority of their prime-time content delivered in Māori.262 Many places have both their Māori and English names officially recognised. Samoan is one of the most widely spoken languages in New Zealand (2.3 percent),n 8 followed by French, Hindi, Yue and Northern Chinese.3263n 9 New Zealand Sign Language is used by about 28,000 people. It was declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 2006.264
Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority attending from the age of 5.265 There are 13 school years and attending state (public) schools is free to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents from a person's 5th birthday to the end of the calendar year following their 19th birthday.266 New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99 percent,136 and over half of the population aged 15 to 29 hold a tertiary qualification.265n 10 There are five types of government-owned tertiary institutions: universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, specialist colleges, and wānanga,267 in addition to private training establishments.268 In the adult population 14.2 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, 30.4 percent have some form of secondary qualification as their highest qualification and 22.4 percent have no formal qualification.269 The OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment ranks New Zealand's education system as the 7th best in the world, with students performing exceptionally well in reading, mathematics and science.270
Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its society is among the most secular in the world.271 In the 2006 Census, 55.6 percent of the population identified themselves as Christians, while another 34.7 percent indicated that they had no religion (up from 29.6 percent in 2001) and around 4 percent affiliated with other religions.272n 11 The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism (14.8 percent), Roman Catholicism (13.6 percent), Presbyterianism (10.7 percent) and Methodism (5 percent). There are also significant numbers of Christians who identify themselves with Pentecostal, Baptist, and Latter-day Saint churches. According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.263273 The indigenous Māori tend to be associated with Presbyterian and Latter-day Saint churches, but the census showed that the New Zealand-based Ringatū and Rātana religions had experienced considerable growth.274
Early Māori adapted the tropically based east Polynesian culture in line with the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually developing their own distinctive culture. Social organisation was largely communal with families (whanau), sub-tribes (hapu) and tribes (iwi) ruled by a chief (rangatira) whose position was subject to the community's approval.275 The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced Māori culture,276277 particularly with the introduction of Christianity.278 However, Māori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups as a vital part of their identity, and Māori kinship roles resemble those of other Polynesian peoples.279 More recently American, Australian, Asian and other European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand. Non-Māori Polynesian cultures are also apparent, with Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.
The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers.280 Modesty was expected and enforced through the "tall poppy syndrome", where high achievers received harsh criticism.281 At the time New Zealand was not known as an intellectual country.282 From the early 20th century until the late 1960s Māori culture was suppressed by the attempted assimilation of Māori into British New Zealanders.258 In the 1960s, as higher education became more available and cities expanded283 urban culture began to dominate.284 Even though the majority of the population now lives in cities, much of New Zealand's art, literature, film and humour has rural themes.
As part of the resurgence of Māori culture, the traditional crafts of carving and weaving are now more widely practised and Māori artists are increasing in number and influence.285 Most Māori carvings feature human figures, generally with three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesque head.286 Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scales decorate most carvings.287 The pre-eminent Māori architecture consisted of carved meeting houses (wharenui) decorated with symbolic carvings and illustrations. These buildings were originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs.288
Māori decorated the white wood of buildings, canoes and cenotaphs using red (a mixture of red ochre and shark fat) and black (made from soot) paint and painted pictures of birds, reptiles and other designs on cave walls.289 Māori tattoos (moko) consisting of coloured soot mixed with gum were cut into the flesh with a bone chisel.290 Since European arrival paintings and photographs have been dominated by landscapes, originally not as works of art but as factual portrayals of New Zealand.291 Portraits of Māori were also common, with early painters often portraying them as "noble savages", exotic beauties or friendly natives.291 The country's isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to developed their own distinctive style of regionalism.292 During the 1960s and 70s many artists combined traditional Māori and Western techniques, creating unique art forms.293 New Zealand art and craft has gradually achieved an international audience, with exhibitions in the Venice Biennale in 2001 and the "Paradise Now" exhibition in New York in 2004.285294
Māori cloaks are made of fine flax fibre and patterned with black, red and white triangles, diamonds and other geometric shapes.295 Greenstone was fashioned into earrings and necklaces, with the most well-known design being the hei-tiki, a distorted human figure sitting cross-legged with its head tilted to the side.296 Europeans brought English fashion etiquette to New Zealand, and until the 1950s most people dressed up for social occasions.297 Standards have since relaxed and New Zealand fashion has received a reputation for being casual, practical and lacklustre.298299 However, the local fashion industry has grown significantly since 2000, doubling exports and increasing from a handful to about 50 established labels, with some labels gaining international recognition.299
Māori quickly adopted writing as a means of sharing ideas, and many of their oral stories and poems were converted to the written form.300 Most early English literature was obtained from Britain and it was not until the 1950s when local publishing outlets increased that New Zealand literature started to become widely known.301 Although still largely influenced by global trends (modernism) and events (the Great Depression), writers in the 1930s began to develop stories increasingly focused on their experiences in New Zealand. During this period literature changed from a journalistic activity to a more academic pursuit.302 Participation in the world wars gave some New Zealand writers a new perspective on New Zealand culture and with the post-war expansion of universities local literature flourished.303
New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation.304 Māori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound.305 Flutes and trumpets were used as musical instruments306 or as signalling devices during war or special occasions.307 Early settlers brought over their ethnic music, with brass bands and choral music being popular, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s.308309 Pipe bands became widespread during the early 20th century.310 The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the USA.304 Some artists release Māori language songs and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka (song and dance) has made a resurgence.311 The New Zealand Music Awards are held annually by Recorded Music NZ; the awards were first held in 1965 by Reckitt & Colman as the Loxene Golden Disc awards.312 Recorded Music NZ also publishes the country's official weekly record charts.313
Radio first arrived in New Zealand in 1922 and television in 1960.314 The number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s.315 In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement. The highest grossing New Zealand movies316 include: Boy, The World's Fastest Indian, Once Were Warriors, and Whale Rider. Deregulation in the 1980s saw a sudden increase in the numbers of radio and television stations.315 New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming, along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country's diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives,317 have encouraged some producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand.318 The New Zealand media industry is dominated by a small number of companies, most of which are foreign-owned, although the state retains ownership of some television and radio stations. Between 2003 and 2008, Reporters Without Borders consistently ranked New Zealand's press freedom in the top twenty.319 As of 2011, New Zealand was ranked 13th worldwide in press freedom by Freedom House, with the 2nd freest media in the Asia-Pacific region after Palau.320
Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have British origins.321 Rugby union is considered the national sport322 and attracts the most spectators.323 Golf, netball, tennis and cricket have the highest rates of adult participation, while football (soccer) is top among young people.323 Victorious rugby tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the late 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity.324 Horseracing was also a popular spectator sport and became part of the "Rugby, Racing and Beer" culture during the 1960s.325 Māori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby and the country's team performs a haka, a traditional Māori challenge, before international matches.326
New Zealand has competitive international teams in rugby union, netball, cricket, rugby league, and softball and has traditionally done well in triathlons, rowing, yachting and cycling. New Zealand participated at the Summer Olympics in 1908 and 1912 as a joint team with Australia, before first participating on its own in 1920. The country has ranked highly on a medals-to-population ratio at recent Games.323327328 The All Blacks, the national men's rugby union team, are the most successful in the history of international rugby329 and the reigning World Cup champions.330 New Zealand is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism331 and strong mountaineering tradition.332 Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, fishing, swimming, running, tramping, canoeing, hunting, snowsports and surfing are also popular.333 The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing has increased in popularity and is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.334
- "God Save the Queen" is officially a national anthem but is generally used only on regal and vice-regal occasions.12
- Language percentages add to more than 100% because some people speak more than one language. They exclude unusable responses and those who spoke no language (e.g. too young to talk).3
- The proportion of New Zealand's area (excluding estuaries) covered by rivers, lakes and ponds, based on figures from the New Zealand Land Cover Database,5 is (357526 + 81936) / (26821559 – 92499–26033 – 19216) = 1.6%. If estuarine open water, mangroves, and herbaceous saline vegetation are included, the figure is 2.2%.
- The Chatham Islands have a separate time zone, 45 minutes ahead of the rest of New Zealand.
- Zeeland is spelt "Zealand" in English. New Zealand's name is not derived from the Danish island Zealand.
- PPP GDP estimates from different organisations vary. The International Monetary Fund's estimate is US$27,420.179 The CIA World Factbook estimate is $28,000.180 The World Bank's estimate is US$29,352.181
- When completing the census people could select more than one ethnic group (for instance, 53 percent of Māori identified solely as Māori, while the remainder also identified with one or more other ethnicities).242
- Of the 85,428 people that replied they spoke Samoan in the 2006 Census, 57,828 lived in the Auckland region.263
- Languages listed here are those spoken by over 40,000 New Zealanders.
- Tertiary education in New Zealand is used to describe all aspects of post-school education and training. Its ranges from informal non-assessed community courses in schools through to undergraduate degrees and advanced, research-based postgraduate degrees.
- Another 6 percent objected to stating their religion. Statistics NZ do not report a total percentage for "Other" religions. Depending on how many people claimed both Christian and other religions, this could range from 3 to 5 percent. These percentages are based on the usually resident population, excluding another 7 percent of people who did not provide usable information.
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- New Zealand, directory from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- New Zealand at Encyclopædia Britannica
- New Zealand weather
- Key Development Forecasts for New Zealand from International Futures
- Wikimedia Atlas of New Zealand