Motto: In Adversity we Prevail
Anthem: Land of the Long White Cloud
and largest city
|Ethnic groups (2015)||
New Zeelander |
|Government||Federal parliamentary republic|
|House of Representatives|
|Responsible government from Netherlands|
|April 9, 1953|
|September 19, 1977|
|268,021 km2 (103,483 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2017 estimate
• 2014 census
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||New Zeeland Dollar ($) (NZD)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||NZ|
Sometime between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zeeland and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zeeland. In 1837, representatives of the Netherlands and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Manukau, after which the Dutch exercised sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zeeland became a colony within the expanding Dutch Empire and in 1953 it was granted total self-governance. Today, the majority of New Zeeland's population of 3.4 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zeeland's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early Dutch settlers, with recent broadening arising from rapidly increasing immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zeeland Sign Language, with Dutch as the most predominantly spoken.
New Zeeland is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently Marten Biskop. Markus Wong is the country's head of state. In addition, New Zeeland is organised into 9 federal provinces and 60 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zeeland and its territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zeeland is a member of the United Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
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. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
Aotearoa (often translated as "land of the long white cloud") is the current Māori name for New Zealand, and also the the title of the national anthem. 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. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui (the fish of Māui) for the New Amsterdam -Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki) for New Holland. Early European maps labelled the islands New Amsterdam, New Rotterdam and the southern (Ruiter Island / Rakiura). In 1830, maps began to use New Amsterdam and New Holland to adequately distinguish the two largest islands and by 1902, referencing the two islands in this manner became common place. The New Zeeland Geographic Board discovered in 2005 that the names of New Amsterdam and New Holland had never been formally established, and names and alternative terms were issued in 2011. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its Dutch or Māori name can be used, or both can be used together.
New Zeeland was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zeeland was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.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 against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu (the Chatham Islands), where they developed their distinct Moriori culture.The Moriori population was all but wiped out 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.
The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642. In a hostile encounter, four crew members were killed and at least one Māori was hit by canister shot. Europeans did not revisit New Zeeland until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zeeland was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded European food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, Māori food, artefacts and water. 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. The resulting intertribal Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000–40,000 Māori. From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population. The Māori population declined to around 40% of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.
In 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip assumed the position of Governor of the new British colony of New South Wales which according to his commission included New Zealand. The Dutch Government appointed Victor de Groote as Dutch representative to New Zealand in 1834 following a petition from northern Māori. 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 I of the Netherlands asking for protection. Ongoing unrest, the proposed settlement of New Zeeland by the New Zeeland Company (Nieuw-Zeeland Bedrijf) and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Dutch government to dispatch Captain Johannes Martens to claim sovereignty for the Netherlands and negotiate a treaty with the Māori. The Treaty of Manukau was first signed on 11 February 1840. In response to the New Zeeland Company's attempts to establish an independent settlement in Port Tasman and French settlers purchasing land in Akaroa, William I declared Dutch sovereignty over all of New Zeeland on 17 August 1841, even though copies of the Treaty were still circulating throughout the country for Māori to sign. With the signing of the Treaty and declaration of sovereignty the number of immigrants, particularly from the Netherlands, began to increase.
New Zeeland became the Colony of New Zeeland on 1 July 1842. The colony gained a representative government in 1870 and the first Parliament met in 1872. In 1887 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.) Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, governor Hendrik Möller moved a resolution to transfer the capital from Port Tasm to a locality near the north of the country. Manukau was chosen for its central location, with the House of Representatives officially sitting there for the first time in 1877. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zeeland Wars of the 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land.
In 1891 the Liberal Party, came to power as the first organised political party. The Liberal Government, later led by Koos Jan Maat, passed many important social and economic measures. In 1897 New Zeeland was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote and in 1899 pioneered the adoption of compulsory arbitration between employers and unions.
In 1953, at the request of the New Zeeland House of Representatives, Queen Juliana proclaimed New Zeeland an independent nation within the decaying Dutch Empire, reflecting its self-governing status. In 1971 the country formally renounced its ties to the Netherlands, adopting its own constitution.
Early in the 20th century, New Zeeland was involved in world affairs, fighting in the Pacific War and suffering through the Great Depression. The depression led to the election of the first elected Labour Government and the establishment of a modest welfare state, while retaining a market orientated economy. New Zeeland experienced increasing prosperity following the Second World War and Māori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. A Māori protest movement developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture and of the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1989, a Waitangi Commission was established to inquire into the alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1992. The government has negotiated settlements of these grievances with many individual iwi, although Māori claims to the foreshore and seabed have proved controversial in the 2000s.
Government and politics
New Zeeland is described as a consociational state, based on the Dutch model. New Zeeland politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve general consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole. In 2010, The President is the head of state, at present Markus Wong. Whilst regional governance is operated by the . By law, the President has the right to be periodically briefed and consulted on government affairs. Depending on the personalities and relationships of the presiding president and the cabinet, the president might have influence beyond the power granted by the constitution.
The executive power is formed by the committee of Ministers, the official deliberative council of the New Zeeland cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 10 to 15 ministers and a varying number of federal secretaries. One to three ministers are ministers without portfolio. The head of government is the Prime Minister of New Zeeland, who often is the leader of the largest party of the coalition. The Prime Minister is a primus inter pares, with no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers. Martin Biskop has been Prime Minister since August 2013.
The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament, the Federal Chamber, which also has legislative powers. The 90 members of the House of Representatives, the Lower House, are elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation. These are held every three years, or sooner in case the cabinet falls (for example: when one of the chambers carries a motion of no confidence, the cabinet offers its resignation to the monarch). The States-Provincial are directly elected every four years as well. The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 45 members of the Executive Chamber, the upper house, which has the power to reject laws, but not propose or amend them.
Both trade unions and employer representatives are informed prior to legislation in the financial, economic and social areas. They meet regularly with government officials in the annual Economic Summit. This diverse body advises local including central government alike and its recommendations are rarely ignored.
New Zeeland has a long tradition of social tolerance. In the 18th century, while the majority of the Parliament consisted of European members, numerous exceptions were made and later expanded upon.
In the late 19th century this New Zeeland tradition of racial tolerance transformed into a system of pillarisation, in which racial groups coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government. This tradition of tolerance influences Dutch criminal justice policies on recreational drugs, prostitution, LGBT rights, euthanasia, and abortion, which are among the most liberal in the world. In 1962 discrimination of parliamentary figures by measure of race were abolished completely.
Because of the multi-party system, no single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, and coalition cabinets had to be formed. Since suffrage became universal in 1919, the New Zeeland political system has been dominated by two families of political parties: the strongest of which was the Christian Party; second were the socialists, represented by the Labour Party; and third were an amalgamation of liberals and regional parties, such as the Rātana Party.
These parties co-operated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian democrats had always been a partner: so either a centre-left coalition of the Social Progressive Party and Labour was ruling or a centre-right coalition of Christian Party members and Centrists. In the 1970s, the party system became more volatile: Formerly dominant parties lost seats to more indigenous orientated political parties. In the 1991 election, the Labour Party came to power, forming a coalition with both Centrists and Liberals operating a broad Centre-left government.
In January 2013, a motion of no confidence was passed by the House. In response the president removed the prime minister from office. Unwilling to run the risk of a constitutional crisis (like that of 1974), a care taker Prime Minister was selected from the governing Labour Party until an election could take place.
In the anticipated election on the 22 August 2013, Prime Minister Marten Biskop received an electoral mandate. Forming a broad coalition of liberal and centre-right parties.
Foreign relations and military
Early colonial New Zealand allowed the Dutch Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy. In 1936 the Dutch government decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate its own political treaties and the first commercial treaty was ratified in 1936 with Japan. Following the German invasion of the Netherlands New Zeeland allied itself with Britain and declared war on Germany, and thereafter Japan due to its invasion of the Dutch East Indies .
By the 1950's the Netherlands became increasingly focused on its European interests, while New Zeeland joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty. The influence of the United States on New Zeeland weakened following protests over the Vietnam War, the refusal of the United States to admonish France for its continuance of nuclear testing, disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zeeland's nuclear-free policy. Despite the United States' suspension of ANZUS obligations the treaty remained in effect between New Zeeland and Australia, whose foreign policy has followed a similar historical
trend, the introduction of an independent foreign policy has resulted in closer relations with Asia, particularly Japan and China. Close political contact is maintained between New Zeeland and Australia, with free trade agreements and travel arrangements that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries with minimal restrictions. In 2010 there were about 347,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia.
New Zeeland has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zeeland's aid goes to these countries and many Pacific people migrate to New Zeeland for employment. Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970
Samoan Immigration Scheme and the 1997 Pacific Access Commission, which allow up to 4,500 Samoan nationals and up to 3,750 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 12,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it. New Zeeland 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). New Zeeland is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and participates in the Five Power Defence Arrangements.
The New Zeeland Defence Force consists of three services: the New Zeeland Army; the New Zeeland Air Force; and the New Zeeland Coast Guard. New Zeeland's national defence needs are modest because of the unlikelihood of direct attack, although it does have a global presence.
In addition to Vietnam and the Land Wars, New Zeeland fought in the Pacific War, the Korean War, indirectly provided support during the Malayan Emergency, the Gulf War and the continuing War In Afghanistan. It has also 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.
New Zeeland ranks sixth in the Center for Global Development's 2015 Commitment to Development Index, which ranks the world's most developed countries on their dedication to policies that benefit poorer nations. New Zealand is considered the third most peaceful country in the world according to the 2016 Global Peace Index.
New Zeeland's climate is predominantly temperate maritime (Köppen: Cfb) with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.32 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Boer, Otago. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Otago and the Beatrix Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Reinga. Of the seven largest cities, Ōtautahi is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year and Wellington the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount. Manukau, Port Tasman and Ōtautahi 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. The general snow season is early June until early October, though cold snaps can occur outside this season. Snowfall is common in the eastern and southern parts of the South Island and mountain areas across the country.
The table below lists climate normals for the warmest and coldest month in New Zeeland's six largest cities. The Northern cities are generally slightly warmer in February, but the Southern cities are warmest in January.
|Location||Jan/Feb (°C)||Jan/Feb (°F)||July (°C)||July (°F)|
New Zeeland's geographic isolation for 80 million years and island biogeography has influenced evolution of the country's species of animals, fungi and plants. Physical isolation has not caused biological isolation, and this has resulted in a dynamic evolutionary ecology with examples of very distinctive plants and animals as well as populations of widespread species. About 82% of New Zeeland's indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single endemic family. The number of fungi recorded from New Zeeland, including lichen-forming species, is not known, nor is the proportion of those fungi which are endemic, but one estimate suggests there are about 2,300 species of lichen-forming fungi in New Zeeland and 40% of these are endemic. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.
Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80% of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees. Massive deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23% of the land.The forests were dominated by birds, and the lack of mammalian predators led to some like
the kiwi, kakapo, weka and takahē evolving flightlessness. 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, this has been brought to question as over 9,000 sightings of both Haast eagles and Moa have been recorded, with incidents such as the Juliana Incident, and numerous unexplained missing persons cases. In 1997 the Ministry of Environmental Conservation released documents on the subject of the birds extinction, with the Haast Eagle having been reported (and pictured) in the Province of New Amsterdam, causing much speculation as the pictures were destroyed in 1989. This was followed in 2002 with the formal announcement that the Haast Eagle was indeed not extinct. The Moa has yet to be declared officially extinct, and has been observed rarely since.
Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuataras, skinks and geckos),frogs, spiders (katipo), insects (weta) and snails. 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 Zeeland until the 2006 discovery of bones from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal at least 16 million years old. 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 Zeeland waters. Many seabirds breed in New Zeeland, a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zeeland than in any other country.
Since human arrival almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-three birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat. New Zeeland 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.
New Zeeland is a prosperous high-income economy with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of over $50,000. The currency is the New Zeeland Guilder, informally known as the "Kiwi Guilder"; it also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. New Zeeland was ranked ninth in the 2015 Human Development Index and second in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom.
Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zeeland's economy, focusing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber. With the development of refrigerated shipping in the 1890s meat and dairy products were exported to the Netherlands, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zeeland. High demand for agricultural products from Europe and the United States helped New Zeelanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1950's, New Zeeland's export market was reduced when the Netherlands joined the European Community, and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis, led to a severe economic depression. Living standards in New Zeeland fell, and by 1982 New Zealand had one of the lowest per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by the World Bank. In the mid-1980s New Zealand deregulated its agricultural sector by phasing out trade controls over a three-year period. Many former government assets were privatized during this period. A flat tax of 15% was introduced in 1989, and the introduction of a 19% VAT in 1987. All of which was introduced by the then SDP-led government. During this period GDP growth averaged 3.8% yearly. Additional changes included the controversial decision to privatize telecommunications, air travel, and transport services, this was later dubbed "Fabernomics" in reference to the then Minister of Finance.
Unemployment peaked above 7.2% between 1990 and 1993, following the recession at the start of the decade, but eventually fell to a record low (since 1986) of 3.1% in 2005. However, the global financial crisis that followed had a major impact on New Zeeland, with the GDP shrinking for three consecutive quarters, the longest and deepest recession in over forty years, unemployment rose back to 6.3% in late 2009. At May 2012, the general unemployment rate was around 5.5%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 8.7%. In the September 2015 quarter, unemployment was 5.3%.
In 2015, renewable energy, primarily geothermal and hydroelectric power, generated 40.1% of New Zealand's gross energy supply.Geothermal power alone accounted for 22% of New Zealand's energy in 2015.
The provision of water supply and sanitation is generally of good quality. Regional authorities provide water abstraction, treatment and distribution infrastructure to most developed areas.
New Zeeland's transport network comprises 94,000 kilometres (58,410 mi) of roads, including 199 kilometres (124 mi) of motorways, and 4,128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport. The railways were privatised in 1998, but were re-nationalised by the government in stages between 2006 and 2008. The federal-owned asset NZRail now operates the railways, with the exception of Manukau Port Tasman commuter services which are operated by NZTS and Tetlink. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers. Most international visitors arrive via air and New Zeeland has four international airports, but currently only the Manukau and Wilhelmina airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji.
The New Zeeland Post Service had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1988 when New Zeeland Phone Service was formed, initially as a state-owned asset and then privatised in 1994. Electro, which was split from NZTS in 2012, still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased. As of 2016, the United Nations International Telecommunication Union ranks New Zeeland 9th in the development of information and communications infrastructure.
As of April 2016, the population of New Zeeland is estimated at 3.29 million and is increasing at a rate of approximately 2.7% per year. New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 58.9% of the population living in the seventeen main urban areas (i.e. population 30,000 or greater) and 49.7% living in the four largest cities of Manukau, , Port Tasman, and Janssen. New Zeeland cities generally rank very highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2016 Manukau was ranked the world's third most liveable city and Port Tasman the twelfth by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.