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New Zealand

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New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands. The indigenous Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, commonly translated as land of the long white cloud. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau; the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); and the Ross Dependency, New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.

New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation; it is situated about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The country's sharp mountain peaks owe much to the earthquakes and volcanic activity caused by the clashing Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. The climate is mild and temperate and most of the landscape is covered by tussock grass or forests of podocarp, kauri or southern beech. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, a number of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals.

Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 AD and Europeans first made contact in 1642 AD. In 1840 a treaty was signed between the Māori and British, making New Zealand a colony of Britain. The colony became self governing in 1852 and was made a Commonwealth realm in 1947. Elizabeth II, as the Queen of New Zealand, is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. The Queens role is limited and executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet of New Zealand, led by the Prime Minister. New Zealand has close ties with Britain, Australia and the United States and plays a leading role among Pacific Island nations.

New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, transforming from a protectionist economy to a liberalised free-trade economy. The economy is highly dependent on trade, particularly in agricultural products. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori (language) and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English being the most prevalent. Much of New Zealand's culture is derived from the Māori and early British settlers, although recently it has been broadened by globalization and immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia.


1657 map showing western coastline of "Nova Zeelandia"

It is unknown whether New Zealand had a Māori name before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa (which literally translates as "land of the long white cloud")[8] originally just referring to the North Island. The use of the term to describe the whole country only occurred post-colonially and it is now commonly used in New Zealand English.[9] Abel Tasman sighted the islands in 1642 and named them Staten Landt, assuming they were connected to land off the southern tip of South America.[10] In 1645 Dutch cartographers renamed the islands Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland.[11][12] British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.[n 8]

Māori traditionally had several names for the two main islands; including Te Ika a Māui (the fish of Māui) for the North Island and Te Wai Pounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki) for the South Island.[13] Early European maps labelled the islands North (North Island), Middle (South Island) and South (Stewart Island / Rakiura).[14] In 1830 maps began using North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm.[15] The New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the Islands were never officially named and is seeking to formalise the names North Island and South Island.[16] The board is also looking for alternative Māori names,[17] with Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Wai Pounamu the most likely choices according to the chairman of the Māori Language Commission.[18]


The Māori settled New Zealand from Eastern Polynesia, concluding a long chain of voyages

[edit] Polynesian settlers

New Zealand was settled when Eastern Polynesians arrived by canoes.[19] Radiocarbon dating of the oldest known archaeological site, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations all suggest the islands were permanently settled between 1250–1300 AD.[13][20] New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled and concluded a long series of voyages. Although language, archaeological, and genetic evidence suggest slightly different patterns of migration, most agree that eastern Polynesians are descended from people that emigrated from Taiwan to Melanesia where they mixed with the native inhabitants of the Sahul continent.[21] They then travelled east reaching the Society Islands between 1025–1120 AD according to dated archaeological sites.[22] After a pause of 70–265 years a new wave of exploring occured, resulting in the discovery and settling of New Zealand.[22] Over the following centuries these settlers developed into a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) which would cooperate, compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands where they developed their distinct Moriori culture.[23][24]

[edit] European explorers

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642.[25] In a hostile encounter, four crew members were killed and at least one Māori was hit by canister shot.[26] Europeans did not revisit New Zealand until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline.[25] 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, artefacts, water, and on occasion sex.[27]

The introduction of the potato and the musket transformed Māori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, enabling longer and more sustained military campaigns.[28] The resulting Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing between 30,000–40,000 Māori.[29] From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population. Many early converts were amongst captives from the Musket Wars and later conversion was driven by the desire for literacy.[30] The Māori population declined to around 40 percent of its pre-contact level during the 19th century, with introduced diseases being the major factor.[31]

[edit] Treaty of Waitangi

The Waitangi sheet from the Treaty of Waitangi

Becoming aware of the lawless nature of European settlement and of increasing French interest in the territory, the British government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832.[32] Busby failed to bring law and order to European settlement, but did oversee the introduction of the first national flag on 20 March 1834. In October 1835, following an announcement of impending French sovereignty, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand to King William IV of the United Kingdom, asking him for protection.[32] 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.[33]

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840.[34] Although it was drafted hastily and disagreements continue to surround the translation, the Treaty is regarded as one of the nation's founding documents and is valued by Māori as a guarantee of their rights.[35] In response to the commercially run New Zealand Company's attempts to establishing an independent settlement in Wellington[36] and French settlers "purchasing" land in Akaroa,[37] Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the Treaty were still circulating.[38] With the signing of the Treaty and declaration of sovereignty the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.[39]

[edit] Early government

New Zealand, originally part of the colony of New South Wales, became a separate Crown colony in 1841[40] and Hobson moved the capital from Okiato to Auckland. The Māori were initially eager to trade with the settlers and many iwi became wealthy. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land.[41]

The colony gained a representative government in 1852 and the 1st New Zealand Parliament met in 1854.[42] In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsible over all domestic matters other than native policy (control over native policy was granted in the mid-1860s).[42] Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution to transfer the capital to a locality near the Cook Strait.[43] Wellington was chosen due to its harbour and central location, with parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865. In 1893 the country became the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote.[44]

[edit] 20th and 21st centuries

In 1907 New Zealand declared itself a Dominion within the British Empire and in 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, making New Zealand a Commonwealth realm.[42] New Zealand was involved in world affairs, fighting with the British Empire in the first and second World Wars[45] and suffered through the Great Depression.[46] The depression led to the election of the first Labour government and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy.[47]

New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II[48] and Māori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work.[49] A Māori protest movement developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi.[50] 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.[34] Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973 drastically reducing New Zealand's export market[51] leading the fourth Labour government to initiate a radical market liberalisation programme.[52]

[edit] Politics

[edit] Government

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy[53] and has a constitution, although it is not codified.[54] Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and the head of state.[55] The Queen is represented by the Governor-General,[56] whom she appoints on the exclusive advice of the Prime Minister.[57] The Governor-General can exercise the Crown's prerogative powers (such as reviewing cases of injustice and making appointments of Cabinet ministers, ambassadors and other key public officials)[58] and in rare situations, the reserve powers (the power to dismiss a Prime Minister, dissolve Parliament or refuse the Royal Assent of a bill into law).[59] The Queen and Governor-General powers are limited by constitutional constraints and they normally can not be exercised without the advice of Cabinet.[59][60]

The Parliament of New Zealand is the supreme legislative power and consists of the Sovereign (represented by the Governor-General) and the House of Representatives.[60] The supremacy of the House over the Sovereign was established in England by the Bill of Rights 1689 and has been ratified as law in New Zealand.[60] The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a Government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats.[60] If no majority is formed a minority government can be formed if support from other parties is obtained through confidence votes. The Governor-General appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention, the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition.[61] Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy-making body in government and is formed by most of the ministers.[62]

The first judge of the judiciary was appointed in 1842 when New Zealand become a crown colony and was no longer under the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Supreme Court.[63] Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure in order to maintain constitutional independence from the government.[54] This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on policies passed by Parliament without other influences on their decision.[64] The Privy Council in London was the final court of appeal until 2004 when it was abolished and replaced with the Supreme Court of New Zealand, now New Zealands highest court. The judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice,[65] includes the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and subordinate courts[54]

Almost all parliamentary general elections between 1853 and 1996 were held under the first past the post system.[66] Under this system the elections since 1930 have been dominated by two political parties, National and Labour.[66] Since 1996, a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used.[54] Under the MMP system each person has two votes, one is for the 65 electoral seats (including seven reserved for Māori) and the other is for a party. The remaining 55 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. 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.[67]

[edit] Foreign relations

Early colonial New Zealand allowed the British Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy.[68] The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate their own political treaties, with the first successful commercial treaty being with Japan in 1928. Despite this independence New Zealand readily followed Britain in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939 with then Prime Minister Michael Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand."[69]

In 1951 New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty,[70] while the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests.[71] The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War,[72] the failure of the United States to admonish France after the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior,[73] disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy.[74][75] 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.[76] 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.[77] Currently over 500,000 New Zealanders live in Australia and 65,000 Australians live in New Zealand.[77]

New Zealand has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zealand's aid goes to the islands and many migrate to New Zealand for employment.[78] 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).[77] New Zealand is also a member of the United Nations,[79] the Commonwealth of Nations,[80] the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development[81] and the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.[82]

2007 ANZAC Dawn Service in Wellington. From left to right, the flags of NZ, the UK and Australia.

[edit] Military

The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.[83] New Zealand's national defence needs are modest due to the unlikelihood of direct attack,[84] although it does have a global presence; fighting in both world wars, with notable campaigns in Gallipoli, Crete,[85] El Alamein[86] and Cassino.[87] The Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering a national identity[88][89] and strengthened the ANZAC tradition between New Zealand and Australia.[90] New Zealand also played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate[91] and the Battle of Britain air campaign.[92][93] During the Pacific part of World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand.[94]

In addition to Vietnam and the two world wars, New Zealand fought in the Korean War, the Second Boer War,[95] the Malayan Emergency,[96] the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War. It contributed forces to recent 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.[97] New Zealand also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War.

[edit] Local government and external territories

The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces, which had a degree of autonomy.[98] These were abolished in 1876 and government was centralised due to financial pressure and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales and other policies.[99] As a result, New Zealand now has no separately represented subnational entities. However remnants of the provinces live on in competitive rivalries exhibited in sporting and cultural events.[100] Since 1876, local government has administered the various regions of New Zealand.[98]

In 1989, the government decentralised local government into the current two-tier structure of regional councils and territorial authorities.[101] The 249 municipalities[101] that existed in 1975 have now been consolidated into 73 territorial authorities and 11 regional councils.[102] The regional councils role is to regulate "the natural environment with particular emphasis on resource management",[101] while territorial authorities are responsible for sewage, water, local roads, building consents and other local matters.[103] Five of the territorial councils are unitary authorities and also act as regional councils.[104] The territorial authorities consist of 16 city councils, 57 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.[105]

New Zealand is part of the monarchy and one of 16 realms within the comonwealth.[106][107] The Realm of New Zealand comprises New Zealand, Tokelau, the Ross Dependency, the Cook Islands and Niue.[107] The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing in free association with New Zealand.[108][109] The New Zealand Parliament can not pass legislation, but with the countries 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 for each of the countries atolls).[110][111] The Ross Dependency is New Zealand's Antarctic territory, where it operates the Scott Base research facility.[112]

[edit] Environment

[edit] Geography

The snow-capped Southern Alps dominate the South Island, while the North Island's Northland Peninsula stretches towards the subtropics.

New Zealand is made up of two main islands, and a number of smaller islands, located near the centre of the water hemisphere. The country's islands lie between latitudes 29° and 53°S, and longitudes 165° and 176°E. The main North and South Islands are separated by the Cook Strait, 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point.[113] The total land area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,483 sq mi)[114] is a little less than that of Italy or Japan, and a little more than the United Kingdom.[115]

New Zealand is long (over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its north-north-east axis) and narrow (a maximum width of 400 kilometres (250 mi)),[116] with approximately 15,134 km (9,404 mi) of coastline.[117] The five largest inhabited islands behind the North and South Island are Stewart Island/Rakiura, the Chatham Islands (named Rēkohu by Moriori), Great Barrier Island (in the Hauraki Gulf),[118] d'Urville Island (in the Marlborough Sounds)[119] and Waiheke Island (about 17.7 km (11.0 mi) from Auckland).[118] The country has extensive marine resources, with the seventh-largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering over 4 million square kilometres (1.5 million square miles), more than 15 times its land area.[120]

The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps.[121] There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), the highest of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft).[122] The top of South Island contains areas of forest in Abel Tasman, Kahurangi and other national parks.[123] Fiordland, in the south-western corner of the South Island, is an area of high mountains cut through with steep fjords.[124] The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism.[125] The highly active Taupo volcanic zone has formed a large volcanic plateau. The North Island's highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu 2,797 metres (9,177 ft), and the country's largest lake, Lake Taupo, are found on this plateau.[126] The island's north is a flatter area, once covered by huge kauri trees.[127]

Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island

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.[128] New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwanan supercontinent.[129] 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 Trenches[130] further north.[128]

[edit] Climate

The latitude of New Zealand corresponds closely to that of Italy in the Northern Hemisphere, but its isolation from continental influences and exposure to cold southerly winds and ocean currents give the climate a much milder character.[131] The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10°C in the south to 16°C in the north. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −21.6 °C (−6.9 °F) in Ophir, Otago.[132]

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.[133] 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.[134] Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 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 approximately 2,400–2,500 hours.[135]

[edit] Biodiversity

New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years[136] and island biogeography is responsible for the country's unique species of flora and fauna. They have either evolved from Gondwanan wildlife or the few organisms that have managed to reach the shores through flight, swimming or being carried across the sea.[137] About 82 percent of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants[n 9] are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single family.[138][140] The two main types of forest are those dominated by podocarps and/or the giant kauri, and in cooler climates the southern beech.[141] The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.[142]

The endemic flightless kiwi is a national icon

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.[143] The forests were dominated by birds, the lack of mammalian predators led to some like the kiwi, kakapo and takahē evolving flightlessness.[144] The arrival of humans, and the introduction of rats, ferrets and other mammals led to the extinction of a number of bird species, including large birds like the moa and Haast's eagle.[145][146]

Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuataras, skinks and geckos ),[147] frogs, spiders (katipo) insects (weta) and snails.[148][149] 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.[150] Marine mammals however are abundant, with almost half the worlds cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters.[151]

Since human arrival an estimated fifty one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plant species, one bat and a number of invertebrates have become extinct.[145] Others are endangered or have had their habitat severely reduced.[145] New Zealand conservationist's pioneered the use of island restoration as a means to protect these threatened wildlife[152][153][154] and 220 islands larger than 5 hectares were marked as possible sanctuaries by 2009.[155]

[edit] Economy

New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita between US$27,420 and $US29,352.[n 10] The New Zealand dollar, informally known as the "Kiwi dollar", is the currency of New Zealand. It also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands.[159] New Zealand has a relatively high standard of living, comparable to that of Southern Europe.[160][161] It was ranked 4th in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation[162] and 8th out of 30 countries by the OECD for happiness.[163] In 2010, Auckland was ranked the 4th most livable city and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey[164]

Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focussing at different times on marine mammals, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber.[165] 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.[166] 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.[167] In 1973 New Zealand's export market was reduced when the United Kingdom joined the European Community and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis, led to a severe economic depression.[168] 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.[169] 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.[52][170]

Unemployment peaked above 10 percent in 1991 and 1992,[171] following the 1987 share market crash, but eventually fell a record low of 3.4 percent in 2007 (ranking fifth from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations).[172] The global financial crisis that followed however had a major impact on New Zealand with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years,[173][174] and unemployment rising back to 7 percent in late 2009.[175] New Zealand has experienced a series of "brain drains" since the 1970s[176] that still continue today.[177] Nearly one quarter of highly-skilled workers live overseas, most in Australia and Britain, the most from any developed nation.[178] In recent years, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.[179][180]

Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's most famous tourist destinations[181]

[edit] Trade

New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade,[182] particularly in Agricultural products.[183] Exports account for a high 24 percent of its output,[117] 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.[184] Its major export partners are Australia, United States, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom.[117] 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.[185][186] The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction.[117] Tourism plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy contributed $15.0 billion to New Zealand’s total GDP and supported 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010.[187] International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1 percent in the year to October 2010[188] and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually up to 2015.[187]

A Romney ewe with her two lambs.

Wool was New Zealand’s major agricultural export during the late 19th century.[165] Even as late as the 1960s it made up over a third of all export revenues,[165] but since then its price has steadily dropped relative to other commodities[189] and wool is no longer profitable for many farmers.[190] In contrast dairy farming increased, with the number of dairy cows doubling between 1990 and 2007,[191] to become New Zealand's largest export earner.[192] In the year to June 2009, dairy products accounted for 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports,[193] and the largest company in the country, Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade.[194] 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,[195] overtaking wool exports briefly in 2007.[196]

The government offered a number of subsidies during the 1970s to assist farmers after the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community[197] and by the early 1980s government support provided some farmers with 40 percent of their income.[198] In 1984 the Labour government ended all farm subsidies,[199] and by 1990 the agricultural industry became the most deregulated sector in New Zealand.[200] To stay competitive in the heavily subsidised European and US markets New Zealand farmers had to increase the efficiency of their operations.[201][202] Animal farming is pasture based, cows and sheep are rarely housed or fed large quantities of grain, with most farmers using grass based supplements such as hay and silage during feed shortages. Pigs are usually kept indoors, either in gestation crates, farrowing crates, fattening pens, or group housing.[203]

[edit] Infrastructure

In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated approximately 69 percent of New Zealand's gross energy supply and 31 per cent was generated from renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power and geothermal power.[204] New Zealand's transport network consists of 93,906 kilometres of roads and is worth 23 billion dollars.[205] Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport.[206] The Railways were privatised in 1993 and then re-purchased by the government in 2004 and vested into a state owned enterprise.[207] Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers.[208] Most international visitors arrive via air[209] and New Zealand has seven international airports, although currently only the Auckland and Christchurch airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji.[210] The New Zealand Post Office had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1989 when Telecom New Zealand was formed, initially as state-owned enterprise and then privatised in 1990.[211] Telecom still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased.[212]

[edit] Demography

[edit] Ethnicity and immigration

New Zealand's historical population (black) and projected growth (red).

The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.4 million.[213] In the 2006 census, 67.6 percent identified ethnically as European and 14.6 percent as Māori.[214] Other major ethnic groups include Asian (9.2 percent) and Pacific peoples (6.9 percent), while 11.1 percent identified themselves simply as a "New Zealander" (or similar) and 1 percent identified with other ethnicities.[215][n 11] This contrasts with 1961, when 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.[217] While the demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "Kiwi" is commonly used both internationally[218] and by locals.[219] The term Pākehā usually refers to New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this appellation,[220][221] and some Māori use it to refer to all non-Polynesian New Zealanders.[222]

New Zealand's fastest growing ethnic groups are Asian. Here, lion dancers perform at the Auckland Lantern Festival.

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 due to restrictive policies similar to the white Australian policies.[223] There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatian,[224] Italian, and German immigration together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa.[225] Following the Great Depression policies were relaxed and migrant diversity increased. In 2008–09, a target of 45,000 migrants was set by the New Zealand Immigration Service (plus a 5,000 tolerance).[226] Twenty-three percent of New Zealand's population are born overseas, most living in the Auckland region.[227] While most 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 increasing the fastest.[228] 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.[229]

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.[230] The life expectancy of a child born in 2008 was 82.4 years for a girl, and 78.4 years for a boy.[231] Life expectancy at birth is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050 and infant mortality is expected to decline 2050.[232] In 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 rising from 18 percent to 29 percent.[232]

[edit] Language

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.[233] 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.[234] It has recently undergone a process of revitalisation,[235][236] being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987,[237] 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.[238] Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.3 percent),[n 12] followed by French, Hindi, Yue and Northern Chinese.[3][239][n 13] New Zealand Sign Language is used by approximately 28,000 people and was made New Zealands third official language in 2006.[240][241]

A Ratana church

[edit] Education and Religion

Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority attending from the age of 5.[242] There are 13 school years and attending public schools is free. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99 percent,[117] and over half of the population aged 15 to 29 hold a tertiary qualification.[242][n 14] 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.[243]

Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, held by 55.6 percent of the population with 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.[244][n 15] The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Presbyterianism and Methodism. There are also significant numbers who identify themselves with Pentecostal, Baptist, and LDS (Mormon) churches. The New Zealand-based Ratana church has adherents among Māori. According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.[239][245]


[edit] Culture

Late twentieth-century house-post depicting the navigator Kupe fighting two sea creatures

Early Māori developed their own distinctive culture based on the Polynesian 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 communities approval.[247] The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced Māori culture,[248][249] particularly with the introduction of Christianity.[250] 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.[251] 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.

Cook Islands dancers at Auckland's Pasifika festival

The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers and overly modest types.[252] At this time New Zealand was not known as an intellectual country[253] and the phenomena known as the "Tall poppy syndrome", where high achievers are criticised harsher than their less successful peers was evident.[254] Māori culture was suppressed by the attempted assimilation of Māori into British New Zealanders.[234] In the 1960s as higher education became more available and cities expanded[255] urban culture began to dominate.[256] Even though the majority of the population now lives in cities, much of New Zealand's art, literature, film and humour has rural themes.

[edit] Art and entertainment

As part of the resurgence of Māori culture, the traditional crafts of carving and weaving are now more widely practiced and Māori artists are increasing in number and influence.[257] Most Māori carvings feature human figures, generally with three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesque head.[258] Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scales decorate most carvings.[259] The pre-eminent Māori architecture consisted of carved meeting houses (marae) decorated with symbolic carvings and illustrations. These buildings were diverse and originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs.[260]

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.[261] Māori tattoos (Moko) consisting of coloured soot mixed with gum were cut into the flesh with a bone chisel.[262] Since European arrival paintings and photographs have been dominated by landscapes, originally not as works of art but to record information about New Zealand.[263] Portraits of Māori were also common, with early painters often portraying them as "Nobel Savages", exotic beauties or friendly natives.[263] The countries isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to developed their own distinctive style of regionalism.[264] During the 1960s and 70s many artists combined traditional Māori and Western techniques, creating unique art forms.[265] New Zealand art and craft has gradually achieved an international audience, with exhibitions in the Venice Biennale in 2001 and the "Paradise Now" exhibiton in New York in 2004.[257][266]

Portrait of Hinepare of Ngāti Kahungunu by Gottfried Lindauer, showing chin moko, pounamu hei-tiki and woven cloak.

Māori cloaks are made of fine flax fibre and patterned with black, red and white triangles, diamonds and other geometric shapes.[267] 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.[268] Europeans brought English fashion etiquette to New Zealand, and until the 1950s most people dressed up for social occasions.[269] Standards have since relaxed and New Zealand fashion has received a reputation for being casual, practical and lackluster.[270][271] However, the local fashion industry has grown significantly since 2000, increasing from a handful to about 50 established labels and doubling exports, with some labels gaining international recognition.[271]

Māori quickly adopted writing as a means of sharing ideas, and many of their oral stories and poems were converted to the written form.[272] 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.[273] 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 based activity to a more academic pursuit.[274] 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.[275] Literature, driven by debates amongst the countries poets in the fifties, has moved from a nationalistic agenda to a more inclusive version of New Zealand and a desire to obtain international audiences.[276]

New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a New Zealand and Polynesian interpretation.[277] Māori developed traditional chants and songs rooted from their ancient South-East Asian origins, and after years of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound.[278] Flutes and trumpets were used as musical instruments[279] or as signaling devices during war or special occasions.[280] Early settlers brought over their ethnic music, which predominately consisted of choral music, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s.[281] The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the USA.[277] Some artists release Māori language songs and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka (song and dance) has made a resurgence.[282]

Radio first arrived in New Zealand in 1922 and television in 1960, with the number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s.[283] In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement. Deregulation in the 1980s saw a sudden increase in the numbers of radio and television stations.[283] New Zealand television broadcasts mostly 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,[284] has encouraged some producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand.[285] 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.[286]

[edit] Sports

Statue of mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary gazing towards Aoraki / Mount Cook

Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have English origins,[287] and rugby union, cricket, bowls, netball, soccer, motorsports, golf, swimming and tennis are the most popular.[288][n 16] Victorious rugby football tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the late 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity,[289] although its influence has since reduced.[290] Horse racing was also a popular spectator sport and became part of the "Rugby, Racing and Beer" culture during the 1960s.[291] Māori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby and a haka (traditional Māori challenge) is performed before the start of international matches.[292]

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. The country is internationally recognised for performing well on a medals-to-population ratio at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.[293] New Zealand is well known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism[294] and strong mountaineering tradition.[295] Other outdoor pursuits such as tramping, hunting and fishing are also popular. The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing has increased in popularity and is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.

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