Coat of Arms
Prime Minister John Key
»95.9% English, 4.2% Māori, 0.6% NZ Sign Language
»New Zealander Kiwi
»Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
»268,021 km2 (75th)
» Per capita -$30,493
» Per capita -$30,493
»New Zealand dollar (NZD)
New Zealand 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. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs 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.
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.
The economy of New Zealand is a market economy that depends greatly on international trade, mainly with Australia, the European Union, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan. The Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia means that New Zealand’s economy is closely aligned with the Australian economy.
New Zealand’s economy has a sizable service sector, accounting for 63% of all GDP activity in 2013. Large scale manufacturing industries include aluminum production, food processing, metal fabrication, wood and paper products. Mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas, water, and waste services accounted for 16.5% of GDP in 2013. The primary sector continues to dominate New Zealand’s exports, despite accounting for 6.5% of GDP in 2013.
The major capital market is the New Zealand Exchange, known as the NZX. As of November 2014, NZX had a total of 258 listed securities with a combined market capitalisation of $94.1 billion. The currency is known as theNew Zealand dollar, which is also the currency of five Pacific Island territories. The New Zealand dollar is the 10th most traded currency in the world
New Zealand is ranked 42 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.591744
Top 5 Products exported by New Zealand
- Concentrated Milk (15%),
- Sheep and Goat Meat (5.7%),
- Butter (4.4%),
- Rough Wood (3.9%),
- Frozen Bovine Meat (3.8%)
Top 5 Export destinations of New Zealand
- Australia (19%),
- China (15%),
- United States (9.0%),
- Japan (7.6%),
- United Kingdom (3.3%)
Top 5 Products imported by New Zealand
- Crude Petroleum (11%),
- Cars (7.2%),
- Refined Petroleum (5.2%),
- Delivery Trucks (1.9%)
Top 5 Import origins ofNew Zealand
- China (17%),
- Australia (16%),
- United States (9.0%),
- Japan (6.5%),
- Singapore (4.7%)
There are just 4.5 million New Zealanders, scattered across 270,534 sq km: bigger than the UK with one-fourteenth the population. Filling in the gaps are the sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and fiords that have made NZ one of the best hiking (locals call it ‘tramping’) destinations on Earth. Tackle one of nine epic ‘Great Walks’ – you’ve probably heard of the Heaphy and Milford Tracks – or just spend a few dreamy hours wandering through some easily accessible wilderness.
Forget New Orleans… NZ can rightly claim the ‘Big Easy’ crown for the sheer ease of travel here. This isn’t a place where you encounter many on-the-road frustrations: buses and trains run on time; roads are in good nick; ATMs proliferate; pickpockets, scam merchants and bedbug-ridden hostels are few and far between; and the food is unlikely to send you running for the nearest public toilets (usually clean and stocked with the requisite paper).
And there are no snakes, and only one poisonous spider – the rare katipo – sightings of which are considered lucky. This decent nation is a place where you can relax and enjoy (rather than endure) your holiday.
If you’re even remotely interested in rugby, you’ll have heard of NZ’s all-conquering All Blacks, who would never have become world-beaters without their formidable Maori players. But this is just one example of how Maori culture impresses itself on contemporary Kiwi life: across NZ you can hear Maori language, watch Maori TV, see main-street marae (meeting houses), join in a hangi (Maori feast) or catch a cultural performance with traditional Maori song, dance and usually a blood-curdling haka(war dance). You might draw the line at contemplating ta moko, traditional Maori tattooing (often applied to the face).
- t can be said that in New Zealand it’s the countryside that’s magnificent, and perhaps no more so than the Southern Alps of the South Island.
- In the Mackenzie Country, the snow-capped jagged peaks rising above turquoise lakes have provided the inspiration for many a postcard. Tucked in behind is the country’s highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook.
- The lakes and mountains continue south, becoming a stunning backdrop for the towns ofWanaka, Queenstown and Glenorchy.
- Glaciers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an island in the South Pacific, but New Zealand has several. The most notable are the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in Westland National Park.
- South of Rotorua is the town of Taupo, on the shores of the country’s largest lake, which was formed in a massive volcanic explosion 26,500 years ago, and expanded by an equally massive explosion 1800 years ago (it reputedly turned skies over China and Rome red).
- Beyond Lake Taupo is Tongariro National Park, dominated by its three volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
- Northeast of Rotorua is Whakatane, with tours to White Island, a volcanic island not far off the coast.
- Dormant and extinct volcanoes help define the landscape in many other regions, including Taranaki and three of the largest cities (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin).
- Hot springs are sprinkled across the country, and are often popular bathing spots.
- Being so remote, New Zealand has very unique plants and animals. One of the most impressive is the kauri tree, one of the biggest species of tree in the world.
- Few of these giants are left (a result of overlogging), but a visit to the Waipoua Forest inNorthland will afford a glimpse.
- The beaches of the South Island, particularly The Catlins and the Otago Peninsula, are good places to see marine animals such as penguins, seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. The Otago Peninsula is also noted for its albatross colony.
- Unfortunately, many of New Zealand’s most unique animals are endangered and can only really be seen in captivity. This includes the kiwi (the country’s national bird), the flightless takahe, the kakapo (made famous internationally after the “shagged by a rare parrot” incident), and the tuatara (a small reptile believed to have existed at the time of the dinosaurs).
- While the countryside is the main attraction of New Zealand, it’s worthwhile to spend some time in the cities.
- Auckland is a pleasant city with its waterfront districts like the Viaduct Harbour and Mission Bay, old volcanoes (Mt Eden and One Tree Hill), a handful of museums and the Sky Tower, the tallest free standing building in the Southern Hemisphere.