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New Zealand



CAPITAL: Wellington

FLAG: The flag has two main features: the red, white, and blue Union Jack in the upper left quarter and the four-star Southern Cross in the right half. On the blue state flag the stars are red outlined in white. On the red national flag, used by individuals or commercial institutions at sea, the stars are white.

ANTHEM: God Save the Queen and God Defend New Zealand have, since 1977, enjoyed equal status.

MONETARY UNIT: The New Zealand dollar (nz$) is a paper currency of 100 cents; it replaced the New Zealand pound on 10 July 1967. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 and 2 dollars, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. nz$1 = us$0.69930 (or us$1 = nz$1.43) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Metric weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Waitangi Day, 6 February; Anzac Day, 25 April; Queen's Birthday, 1st Monday in June; Labor Day, 4th Monday in October; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays are Good Friday and Easter Monday. Each province has a holiday on its own anniversary day.

TIME: 12 midnight = noon GMT.


Situated in the southwest Pacific Ocean, New Zealand proper, with a total area of 268,680 sq km (103,738 sq mi), consists of the North Island, covering 114,669 sq km (44,274 sq mi) including small islands nearby; the South Island, 149,883 sq km (57,870 sq mi); Stewart Island, 1,746 sq km (674 sq mi); and various minor, outlying islands. Comparatively, the area occupied by New Zealand is about the size of the state of Colorado. The Chatham Islands, lying 850 km (528 mi) e of Lyttelton, on South Island, have a land area of 963 sq km (372 sq mi). Other outlying islands have a combined area of 778 sq km (about 300 sq mi). New Zealand extends 1,600 km (994 mi) nnessw and 450 km (280 mi) esewnw. It has a total coastline of 15,134 km (9,404 mi).

New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, is located on the southern tip of North Island.


Less than one-fourth of the land surface of New Zealand lies below the 200-m (656-ft) contour. The mountain ranges in the North Island do not exceed 1,800 m (6,000 ft) in height, with the exception of the volcanic peaks of Egmont, or Taranaki (2,518 m/8,261 ft), Ruapehu (2,797 m/9,176 ft), Ngauruhoe (2,290 m/7,513 ft), and Tongariro (1,968 m/6,457 ft), the last three of which are still active. This volcanic system gives rise to many hot springs and geysers.

The South Island is significantly more mountainous than the North Island, but is without recent volcanic activity. The Southern Alps, running almost the entire length of the South Island from north to south, contain 19 peaks of 3,000 m (9,800 ft) or above, of which the highest is Mt. Cook or Aorangi, 3,764 m (12,349 ft). There are also several glaciers in the Southern Alps, the largest being the Tasman Glacier, 29 km (18 mi) long and 1 km (0.6 mi) wide. The rivers are mostly swift-flowing and shallow, few of them navigable. There are many lakes, those in the South Island being particularly noted for their magnificent mountain scenery.

Seismic activity in New Zealand causes frequent earthquakes. Though most of these are moderate or light in magnitude (at 5.0 or lower on the Richter scale), there are periodic earthquakes of higher magnitudes. On 4 May 2003, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake occurred at the Kermadec Islands; the same year, a 7.2 magnitude quake occurred at South Island on 21 August, causing structural damage but no reported injuries. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake occurred on 22 November 2004 with a center off the coast of South Island.


New Zealand has a temperate, moist ocean climate without marked seasonal variations in temperature or rainfall. The prevailing winds are westerly, with a concentration of strong winds in the Cook Strait area. The generally mountainous nature of the country, however, causes considerable variation in rainfall (e.g., between the eastern and western sides of the Southern Alps), and, by preventing stratification of air into layers of different density, results in an absence of extensive cloud sheets and a consequent high percentage of sunshine. Mean annual temperatures at sea level range from about 15°c (59°f) in the northern part of the North Island to 12°c (54°f) in the southern part of the South Island. Mean annual rainfall ranges from around 30 cm (12 in) near Dunedin to more than 800 cm (315 in) in the Southern Alps.


Like other regions separated from the rest of the world for a long period, New Zealand has developed a distinct flora. About 75% of the native flora is unique, and it includes some of the world's oldest plant forms. However, the flowering plants, conifers, ferns, lycopods, and other vascular tracheophytes that constitute much of the land vegetation do show affinities with plants of the Malayan region, supporting the theory of an ancient land bridge between the two regions. More than 250 species are common to both Australia and New Zealand. The Antarctic element, comprising more than 70 species related to forms in the flora of South America and the Southern Ocean islands, is of great interest to botanists. The kauri pine, now found only in parts of the North Island, for more than a century has been world famous for its timber. The rimu and the totara also are timber trees. Other handsome trees include the pohutukawa and other species of rata and kowhai. New Zealand flax, formerly of great importance in the Maori economy, is found in swampy places. Undergrowth in the damp forests consists largely of ferns, of which there are 145 species; they clothe most of the tree trunks and branches, and tree ferns form part of the foliage. Tussock grass occurs on all mountains above the scrub line and over large areas in the South Island.

Apart from seals and two species of bats, New Zealand has no indigenous land mammals. Some of the land mammals introduced to New Zealand have become pests, such as the rabbit, the deer, the pig (now wild), and the Australian possum. Sea mammals include whales and dolphins.

There is a great diversity of birds, some 250 species in all, including breeding and migratory species. Among the flightless birds the most interesting is the kiwi, New Zealand's national symbol and the only known bird with nostrils at the tip of the bill instead of at the base. Other characteristic birds are the kea, a mountain parrot, and the tui, a beautiful songbird. All but one of the genera of penguins are represented in New Zealand. Several species of birds, the most famous being the Pacific godwit, migrate from breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle to spend spring and summer in New Zealand. There are many flightless insects and a diversity of small life forms.


Because of its relatively small population, New Zealand's natural resources have so far suffered less from the pressures of development than have those of many other industrialized nations. Air pollution from cars and other vehicles is an environmental concern in New Zealand. The use of fossil fuels contributes to the problem. New Zealand's concern about the effects of air pollution on the atmosphere is, in part, due to the fact that the nation is among the world leaders in incidence of skin cancer. In 1996, New Zealand produced 29.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources. In 2000, the total of carbon dioxide emissions within the country was at 32.1 million metric tons.

Water pollution is also a problem due to industrial pollutants and sewage. The nation has 327 cu km of renewable water resources, of which 44% of the annual withdrawal is used for farming activity and 10% for industrial purposes. The nation's cities have produced an average of 2.3 million tons of solid waste per year.

Another environmental issue in New Zealand is the development of its resourcesforests, gas and coal fields, farmlandswithout serious cost to natural beauty and ecological balance. Two-thirds of the nation's forests have been eliminated. Principal governmental agencies with environmental responsibilities are the Commission for the Environment (established in 1972), an investigative and advisory agency that audits environmental impact reports; the Environmental Council (1970), an advisory body that publishes information on environmental issues; and the Nature Conservation Council (1962), an advisory body that may inquire into the environmental effects of proposed public or private works projects and is free to make its reports and recommendations public.

In 2003, about 29.6% of the total land area was protected. There are two natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country and six Ramsar wetland sites. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 8 types of mammals, 74 species of birds, 12 types of reptiles, 4 species of amphibians, 16 species of fish, 5 types of mollusks, 9 species of other invertebrates, and 21 species of plants. Endangered animal species in New Zealand include the takahe, two species of petrel (black and New Zealand Cook's), the black stilt, orange-fronted parakeet, kakapo, and Codfish Island fernbird. Extinct are the bush wren, laughing owl, Delcourt's sticky-toed gecko, South Island kokako, New Zealand quail, and New Zealand grayling. Endangered species on the Chatham Islands were the Chatham Island petrel, magenta petrel, Chatham Island oystercatcher, New Zealand plover, Chatham Island pigeon, Forbes's parakeet, and Chatham Island black robin. The Chatham Island swan and Chatham Island rail are extinct.


The population of New Zealand in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 4,107,000, which placed it at number 123 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 12% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 22% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 97 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.7%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 4,702,000. The overall population density was 15 per sq km (39 per sq mi), with nearly 75% of the population living on the North Island.

The UN estimated that 86% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.73%. On the North Island, the capital city, Wellington, had a population of 343,000 in that year. The largest urban area, also on the North Island, is Auckland (1,152,000). Other large cities on the North Island include Hamilton (148,625), Palmerston North (70,951), and Tauranga (70,803). On the South Island, the largest cities include Christchurch (307,179) and Dunedin (109,503).


Between 1946 and 1975, New Zealand experienced a net gain from migration of 312,588; from 1975 to 1990, however, there was a net outflow of 110,877. Under new immigration policy guidelines issued by the government in May 1974, immigrants are selected according to specific criteria, such as job skills, health, character, age, and family size. The same restrictions now apply to British subjects as to others who wish to take up permanent residence. Citizens of Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa may be admitted under special work permits for up to 11 months. About 7,000 Indochinese refugees settled in New Zealand between 1975 and 1990. In 1998 immigration policy initiatives were passed aimed at making New Zealand a more appealing choice for entrepreneurs, investors, and students. In 2004, New Zealand's unemployment rate was at a 17-year low of 4%. New Zealand changed its point system to make it easier for skilled immigrants to gain visas by adding points if applicants could fill jobs in which there are "absolute skill shortages," including automotive mechanics, radiologists, electricians, and speech therapists. In 2005, a campaign was launched to attract immigrants in medicine and education and the immigrant quota was raised from 50,000 to 51,500.

The number of asylum applications increased from 712 in 1995 to 1,964 in 1998. In 2004, New Zealand harbored 5,175 refugees and 746 asylum seekers. New Zealand is one of only 10 countries in the world with an established resettlement program, with an annual quota of 750 as of 2006.

Australia is the preferred destination for New Zealanders departing permanently or long term. In 2003 worker remittances were $234 million. In 2005, the net migration rate was an estimated 3.83 migrants per 1,000 population.


About 75% of the population is classified as New Zealand European; 15% are Maori and 6.5% are Pacific Islander. Less than 5% are Asia.

The most significant minority group, the indigenous Maori people, is a Polynesian group with a distinctive culture and a well-ordered social system. Although the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) guaranteed to the Maori people all the rights and privileges of British subjects and full and undisturbed possession of their lands, these guarantees were often overlooked. As a result of war and disease, the Maori population declined to fewer than 42,000 by 1896. At the turn of the century, however, a group calling itself the Young Maori Party began to devote itself to the promotion of Maori welfare and status. Although Maori acquisition and development of land have been promoted, there is not enough land to afford a livelihood to more than about 25% of the Maori population. Thus, many Maoris leave their tribal villages to seek job opportunities in the towns and cities. By 1981, four-fifths of all Maoris lived in urban areas.

Increasing numbers of migrants from New Zealand's former colonies and from other Pacific islands have come to New Zealand. Many of these, especially the Cook Islanders, are Polynesians having ethnic and linguistic ties with the Maoris.


English is the universal language, although Maori, a language of the Polynesian group, still is spoken among the Maori population and is taught in Maori schools. It is the first language of about 50,000 Maori New Zealanders and became an official language (with English) in 1987, with the right of use in courts of law and before a number of tribunals. There are Maori-language preschools, immersion primary schools, and many radio stations.


According to the 2001 census, about 55% of the total population were nominally Christian. Anglicans were the largest denomination with about 15% of the population. About 13% were Roman Catholic, 11% Presbyterians, 3% Methodists, 1% Baptist, 1% Mormon, and 1% Ratana, a Maori Christian group. Ringatu and Ratana are small Christian sects that are indigenous to New Zealand. About 1% of the population were Hindu and 1% Buddhist. About 26% of the population claimed no religion. There are also small numbers of Sikhs, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, and Rastafarians.


The mountainous nature of New Zealand has made the development of rail and road communications difficult and expensive, particularly on the South Island. In 2004, there were 3,898 km (2,425 mi) of state-owned railways in operation, all of it narrow gauge. New Zealand has electrified some 506 km (314 mi) of its rail lines in order to reduce dependence on imported fuel.

Capital investment in roads exceeds that for all other forms of transport service. Total length of maintained roadways as of 2002 was 92,382 km (57,462 mi), of which 59,124 km (36,775 mi) were paved, including 169 km (105 mi) of expressways. As of 2003, registered motor vehicles included 2,473,500 passenger cars and 468,800 commercial vehicles. The 1,609 km (999 mi) of waterways are of little importance in satisfying total transportation requirements.

New Zealand's merchant marine in 2005 consisted of 13 ships of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 77,523 GRT. New Zealand is largely dependent on the shipping of other nations for its overseas trade. In 1974, a government-owned firm, the Shipping Corp. of New Zealand, was set up to operate shipping services; its trade name, the New Zealand Line, was adopted in 1985. Auckland and Wellington, the two main ports, have good natural harbors with deepwater facilities and modern port equipment. Other ports capable of efficiently handling overseas shipping are Whangarei, Tauranga, Lyttelton (serving Christchurch), Bluff, Napier, Nelson, Dunedin, and Timaru.

New Zealand had an estimated 116 airports in 2004, of which 46 had paved runways as of 2005. Thirteen are major air facilities, of which those at Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington are international airports. The government-owned Air New Zealand Ltd. operates air services throughout the Pacific region to Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Honolulu, and Los Angeles, among other destinations. In 2003, 12.259 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.


New Zealand's first people were the Maoris. Owing to the absence of written records, it is impossible to give any accurate date for their arrival, but according to Maori oral traditions, they migrated from other Pacific islands to New Zealand several centuries before any Europeans came, with the chief Maori migration taking place about 1350. It seems likely, however, that the Maoris arrived from Southeast Asia as early as the end of the 10th century. The first European to discover New Zealand was Abel Tasman, a navigator of the Dutch East India Company, who sighted the west coast of the South Island in 1642. He did not land, because of the hostility of the Maori inhabitants. No other Europeans are known to have visited New Zealand after Tasman until Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy made his four voyages in 1769, 1773, 1774, and 1777. In this period, he circumnavigated both islands and mapped the coastline.

In the 1790s, small European whaling settlements sprang up around the coast. The first mission station was set up in the Bay of Islands in 1814 by Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the governor of New South Wales. In 1840, the Maori chieftains entered into a compact, the Treaty of Waitangi, whereby they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In the same year, the New Zealand Company made the first organized British attempt at colonization. The first group of British migrants arrived at Port Nicholson and founded the city of Wellington. The New Zealand Company made further settlements in the South Island: in Nelson in 1842, in Dunedin in 1848 (with the cooperation of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland), and in Canterbury in 1850 (with the cooperation of the Church of England). After the Maori Wars (186070), which resulted largely from discontent with the official land policy, the colony of New Zealand rapidly increased in wealth and population. Discovery of gold in 1861 resulted in a large influx of settlers. The introduction of refrigerated shipping in 1882 enabled New Zealand to become one of the world's greatest exporters of dairy produce and meat. The depression of the early 1930s revealed to New Zealand the extent of its dependence on this export trade and led to the establishment of more local light industry.

The British Parliament granted representative institutions to the colony in 1852. In 1907, New Zealand was made a dominion, and in 1947 the New Zealand government formally claimed the complete autonomy that was available to self-governing members of the British Commonwealth under the Statute of Westminster, enacted by the British Parliament in 1931.

New Zealand entered World Wars I and II on the side of the United Kingdom; New Zealand troops served in Europe in both wars and in the Pacific in World War II. After World War II, New Zealand and US foreign policies were increasingly intertwined. New Zealand signed the ANZUS Pact in 1951 and was a founding member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1954. New Zealand troops fought with UN forces in the Korean conflict and with US forces in South Vietnam. The involvement in Vietnam touched off a national debate on foreign policy, however, and all New Zealand troops were withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of 1971. New Zealand's military participation in SEATO was later terminated.

In 1984, a Labour government led by Prime Minister David Lange took office under a pledge to ban nuclear-armed vessels from New Zealand harbors; a US request for a port visit by one of its warships was denied because of uncertainty as to whether the ship carried nuclear weapons. The continuing ban put a strain on New Zealand's relations within ANZUS, and in 1986 the United States suspended its military obligations to New Zealand under that defense agreement, also banning high-level contacts with the New Zealand government. The United States ended its ban on high-level contacts in March 1990; however, New Zealand's official stance against nuclear presence in its territory remained strong.

In the late 1990s, New Zealand's environmental concerns extended beyond nuclear issues. In 1999, when pirates decimated the population of Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica, threatening not only fish, but also the sea birds that fed upon them, New Zealand responded to the threat to the fragile ecosystem by sending a patrol frigate to the area.

Extensive Maori land claims (to all the country's coastline, 70% of the land, and half of the fishing rights) led, in December 1989, to the formation of a new Cabinet committee designed to develop a government policy towards these claims. The committee, including former Prime Minister Lange, aimed to work with the 17-member Waitangi Tribunal, established in 1975 to consider complaints from Maoris.

The 1993 general election resulted in the governing National Party (NP) winning a bare majority of 50 seats to the Labour Party's 45. In 1996 the NP formed a coalition government with the New Zealand First Party. The coalition was led by James Bolger, who in 1994 lobbied to convert New Zealand into a republica move that was met by NP resistance and public apathy. This was the first election under New Zealand's 1993 referendum on proportional representation. It issued in Bolger's third term as prime minister. Winston Peters, a fierce critic of Bolger, became the country's deputy prime minister and treasurera new post responsible for New Zealand's budget. Peters brought the First Party into the coalition over the Labour Party, which won 37 of the 120 seats in the 1996 election. In 1996 the government settled a nz$170 million agreement with the Waikato Tainui tribe in the North Island for its wrongful confiscation of lands during the 1860s. The Queen signed the legislation, which also contained an apology.

The National Party-First Party coalition government remained in power until 1999, when the Labour Party won 49 seats and again became the majority government. The Labour Party formed a government in coalition with the progressive Alliance Party, with Helen Clark as prime minister. In 1999 tension arose between the Maori and white New Zealanders, centering on the growing Maori claims to the natural resources of the country. The Clark administration expressed its commitment to goals aimed at benefiting all New Zealanders, and closing the economic gap between the Maori and the rest of the population. The Labour-Alliance coalition also built alliances with other nonnuclear states and worked to strengthen the Nuclear Free Zone in the South Pacific.

General elections were held 27 July 2002, which resulted in a Labour Party victory, returning Helen Clark as prime minister. The Labour Party entered into coalition with Jim Anderton's Progressive Coalition Party, and received support from the United Future Party. The National Party recorded its worst showing in 70 years. General elections held in September 2005 resulted in a Labour Party victory again.


New Zealand is an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Like the United Kingdom, it is a constitutional monarchy, the head of state being the representative of the crown, the governor-general, who is appointed for a five-year term.

The government is democratic and modeled on that of the United Kingdom. The single-chamber legislature, the House of Representatives, has 120 members (2003), elected by universal adult suffrage for a term of three years. Adult male suffrage dates from 1879; adult women received the right to vote in 1893. The voting age was lowered to 18 in November 1974. Since 1867, the House has included representatives of the Maoris, and in 1985, the Most Reverend Paul Reeves, Anglican archbishop of New Zealand, became the first person of Maori descent to be appointed governor-general. As of 2003, six seats in the 120-member parliament were reserved for its native Maori minority population. Persons of at least half-Maori ancestry may register in either a Maori electoral district or a European district. Members are elected by simple majority. Elections have resulted in coalition governments, a two-party system usually operates. The party with a majority of members elected to the House of Representatives forms the government; the other party becomes the opposition.

On his appointment, the prime minister, leader of the governing party, chooses 20 other ministers to form the cabinet. Each minister usually controls several government departments, for which he is responsible to the House of Representatives. Although the cabinet is the de facto governing body, it has no legal status. Members of the cabinet and the governor-general form the Executive Council, the highest executive body.

An act of 1962 established the post of ombudsman, whose principal function is to inquire into complaints from the public relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organizations. In 1975, provision was made for the appointment of additional ombudsmen under the chief ombudsman.

In a September 1992 referendum, nearly 85% of voters rejected the established electoral system of simple plurality (first-past-the-post) in favor of a system based upon a mixed member proportional system, as used in Germany. Final approval came in a second referendum held as part of the 1993 general election, and the proportional voting system was introduced during the 1996 elections. Under New Zealand's proportional representation system each voter casts two votes, one for a candidate and one for a political party. Each party is awarded seats according to its share of the overall vote, with a minimum set at 5%.


Although the New Zealand legislature began to function in 1854 under an act of 1852, it was not until near the end of the century that political parties with a national outlook began to form. This development was hastened by abolition of the provincial parliaments in 1876.

From 1890 to 1912, the Liberal Party was in power. It drew its strength from small farmers and from the rapidly increasing working class in the towns. It enacted advanced legislation on minimum wages, working conditions, and old age pensions, and established the world's first compulsory system of state arbitration. A Reform Party government replaced the Liberal government in 1912; the main items in the Reform platform were the "freehold" for certain types of farmers (i.e., the right to purchase on favorable terms the land they leased from the crown) and the eradication of patronage in the public service. During part of World War I, there was a coalition of Reform and Liberal parties. The Labour Party was formed in 1916 when several rival Labour groups finally came together. This party derived partly from old Liberal tradition, but its platform on socialization and social welfare was more radical.

The Reform Party continued in office until 1928 and was then succeeded by the United Party, a revival of the old Liberal Party. In 1931, these two parties came together, governing as a coalition until 1935. In that year, after a severe economic depression, a Labour government came to power. Labour remained the government until 1949, although for periods during World War II a coalition war cabinet and later a war administration were created, in addition to the Labour cabinet. During its term of office, Labour inaugurated an extensive system of social security and a limited degree of nationalization.

After their defeat in 1935, the old coalition parties joined to form the National Party. Coming to power in 1949, this party held office until 1957, when it was replaced by Labour. The National Party returned to power in the 1960 election, and maintained its majority in the elections of 1963, 1966, and 1969. A Labour government was elected in 1972, but in 1975 the National Party reversed the tide, winning 55 seats and 47.4% of the total vote; a National Party cabinet was formed, with Robert Muldoon as prime minister. Led by Muldoon, the National Party was returned again in the 1978 and 1981 elections, but by much lower margins.

On 14 July 1984, the National Party was defeated at the polls, winning only 37 seats (36% of the vote), to 56 seats (43%) for Labour. The Social Credit Political League won 2 seats (8%), and the New Zealand Party, a conservative group formed in 1983, won most of the remaining popular vote, but no seats. David Lange formed a Labour government and was reelected in August 1987, when Labour won 56 seats and 47.6% of the vote, and the National Party won 41 seats and 45% of the vote. No other parties won seats.

David Lange resigned as prime minister on 7 August 1989 after Roger Douglas, a political foe in the Labour Party, was reelected to the Cabinet. Labour's MPs selected Geoffrey Palmer as prime minister and party leader. Palmer resigned as prime minister in September 1990 and was replaced by Michael Moore, also of the Labour Party. In October 1990 the National Party, led by Jim Bolger, won a general election victory. Bolger's government instituted major cuts in New Zealand's welfare programs. The National Party won reelection in the November 1993 general election, capturing 50 of 99 seats. The Labour Party won 45, and both the New Zealand First Party, led by Winston Peters, and The Alliance, led by Jim Anderton, won 2 seats. In December 1993 Helen Clark replaced Michael Moore as leader of the Labour Party, becoming the first woman to lead a major party in New Zealand.

The 1996 elections were the first under proportional representation. James Bolger was elected as prime minister for a third term, to lead a coalition government formed by the National Party and the First Party. The National Party won 44 seats; Labour, 37; New Zealand First Party, 17; Alliance Party, 8; and the United Party, 1.

In the November 1999 elections, the balance of power once again shifted, with the New Zealand National Party losing 5 seats and capturing only 30.5% of the total vote, while the New Zealand Labor Party gained 12 seats and took 38.7% of the vote, thus becoming the majority party. Under Prime Minister Helen Clark, a coalition government was formed between the Labour Party and the Alliance Party, which consisted of five small parties: the New Labor Party, the Democratic Party, the New Zealand Liberal Party, the Green Party, and Mana Motihake.

In the July 2002 elections (held early), the Labour Party captured 41.3% of the vote and 52 seats to the National Party's 20.9% and 27 seats. The New Zealand First Party took 10.4% of the vote and 13 seats. It was the worst showing for the National Party in 70 years. Prime Minister Helen Clark formed an alliance with the United Future Party, after forming a coalition with Jim Anderton's Progressive Coalition Party. United Future claimed it would not form a coalition with the Labour Party, but would support the government.

While the Liberal and Reform Parties, and in more recent times, the Labour and National Parties, have played the major roles in New Zealand's government, many other political groups have existed over the years, with varying agendas and membership. In 2002, those with enough support to win parliamentary seats included ACT New Zealand (libertarian), the New Zealand First Party (nationalistic), the Green Party of Aotearoa (ecologist), the United Future Party (liberal), and Jim Anderton's Progressive Coalition (progressive). There were 21 registered political parties as of June 2002.

The total number of seats increased in the September 2005 elections to 121 because the Maori Party won one more electorate seat than its entitlement under the party vote. The results were as follows: the Labour Party 41.1%, 50 seats; National Party 39.1%, 48 seats; New Zealand's First Party 5.72%, 7 seats; Green Pary 5.3%, 6 seats; Maori 2.12%, 4 seats; United Future Party 2.67%, 3 seats; ACT New Zealand 1.51%, 2 seats; and Progressive Coalition 1.16%, 1 seat. The next elections were scheduled to be held no later than November 2008.


The Local Government Act (1974), with subsequent modifications, substantially changed the structure of local government in New Zealand. The previous system was based on territorial local authorities: boroughs, which served concentrated populations of at least 1,500; counties, which were predominantly rural; and town districts, an intermediate form. In addition, there were special-purpose authorities to administer harbors, hospitals, electricity and water distribution, and other public services. The 1974 legislation added two tiers to this structure. Regional bodiesincluding united councils, which are appointed by the constituent territorial authorities in a region, and regional councils, which are directly electedare charged with two mandatory functions, regional planning and self-defense, and may undertake other regional functions. Moreover, within territorial local authorities, communities may be established. Each community may have either a district community council (if the population is 1,500 or more), which exercises nearly all the powers of its parent territorial authority, or a community council, to which the parent authority may delegate powers. The purpose of these community bodies is to increase residents' participation in local government. The Local Government Act also introduced a new form of territorial local authority, the district council, established to serve areas of mixed rural and urban character.

The Local Government Commission was charged with the task of constituting the regional bodies, of which there were 22 (2 regional councils and 20 united councils) by 1983. As of 1996 there were also 93 county councils, 9 district councils, and 3 town districts. By 1999, a new administrative structure was instituted that divided local government into 17 regions that were subdivided into 57 districts and 16 cities. In 2003, there were 12 regional councils, 59 district councils and 15 city councils. Most units of local government are elected at three-year intervals. In boroughs the mayor is elected directly by the voters, while the council itself elects the chairman of a county council.


In most civil and criminal cases heard first in district courts (known until 1980 as magistrates' courts), there is the right of appeal to the High Court (formerly Supreme Court), which is usually the court of first hearing for cases where a major crime or an important civil action is involved. Family courts were established in 1980 to hear cases involving domestic issues. The highest court, the Court of Appeal, exercises an appellate jurisdiction only. Its decisions are final unless leave is granted to appeal to the Privy Council in London. There are also several special courts, such as the Arbitration Court, the Maori Land Court, and the Children and Young Persons Court. The judicial system is based on British common law. The judiciary is independent and impartial. The judicial system provides citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process.

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence and the authorities respect these provisions in practice.


In 2005, New Zealand's armed forces had 8,660 active personnel with 10,800 reservists. The Army had a full-time regular force of 4,430 and whose equipment included 105 armored personnel carriers and 74 artillery pieces. The Navy had 1,980 active personnel whose major naval units included 2 frigates, 4 patrol/coastal vessels, and 5 logistics/support ships. The Navy's aviation arm operated five antisubmarine warfare helicopters. The Air Force numbered 2,250 members. The service had six combat capable aircraft that consisted of P-3K Orion maritime patrol aircraft. In 2005, New Zealand forces participated in 11 NATO, UN, European Union or other missions in a supporting or peacekeeping role. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $1.42 billion.


New Zealand is a charter member of the United Nations, having joined on 24 October 1945; it participates in ESCAP and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, IAEA, ILO, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, and the WHO. In addition, New Zealand belongs to the WTO, the Asian Development Bank, APEC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Colombo Plan, Commonwealth of Nations, OECD, the South Pacific Commission, the Pacific Island Forum, and the South Pacific Regional Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Sparteca). It is a dialogue partner in ASEAN.

New Zealand also forms part of the ANZUS alliance with Australia and the United States; in 1986, however, following New Zealand's decision to ban US nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships from its ports, the United States renounced its ANZUS treaty commitments to New Zealand.

New Zealand is part of the Australia Group and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group). In environmental cooperation, New Zealand is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Whaling, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.


New Zealand's economy has traditionally been based on pastoral farming. The last decades, however, have seen the beginnings of heavy industry, and there has been a large expansion in light industries such as plastics, textiles, and footwear, mostly to supply the home market. There has been a trend toward the development of resource-based industries, and the forest industry has greatly expanded. Pulp, log, and paper products are a major earner of overseas exchange. In 2004, agricultural production amounted to approximately 4.6% of GDP, industry 27.4%, and services 68%.

For financing imports both of raw materials and of a high proportion of manufactured goods, New Zealand has traditionally relied on the receipts from the export of its restricted range of primary products (mainly wool, meat, and dairy products). This dependence on the income from so few commodities makes the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in their world prices, and sharp drops in these prices, as have occurred periodically, inevitably result in the restriction of imports or a substantial trade deficit. Other important industries in 2006 were the manufacture of machinery and transportation equipment, banking and insurance, and eco-tourism.

The economy has been subjected to two major crises in last 30 years: first, in 1968, the loss of the protected market for its agricultural goods when the United Kingdom joined the European Community (now the European Union), and second, inflation and stagnation in the early 1980s in the aftermath of the second international oil shock. The first produced a government-led program to transform the economy into an independent, more industrialized competitor in the world market, and the second, a neoliberal transformation of the economy combining a strict monetary regime to eliminate inflation, liberalization of the country's trade and investment regimes, and deregulation and privatization of the domestic economy. The liberalization and stabilization program transformed New Zealand from a heavily protected and regulated economy to one of the most market-oriented and open in the world.

By 1996, New Zealand was posting annual growth rates in real GDP of 56%, surpluses in the government's budget, and a per capita GDP in line with those of the big European economies. Subsequent disruptions, however, resulting in declines in industrial production and per capita income, raised concerns that the gap is no longer closing. The Asian financial crisis erupting in the second half of 1997 helped lower annual growth to 3.1% in 1997, and, combined with a summer drought, pushed the economy into recession in the first half of 1998. The economy recovered sufficiently to register a positive 1.9% growth for 1998, and 3.5% in 1999. Despite increased fuel costs that sent inflation to 4% in 2000, real GDP growth improved to 4.6%. The global slowdown in 200102 had a relatively mild impact on New Zealand's economy, reducing real GDP growth to 2.3%. While inflation moderated to 2.1% the government continued operating in the black with an operating surplus and positive returns from state enterprises, although the budget surplus steadily declined from 2.6% of GDP in 1999/98 to 0.8% of GDP in 2000/01. The current account deficit, a combination of a small merchandise trade surplus and a large deficit on investment income, fell from 7% of GDP to 4.8% of GDP in 2001. Gross public debt fell from 36% of GDP in 1999 to 30% of GDP in 2002, in line with the target set by government planners.

Real GDP growth averaged 3.5% over the 200105 period, when inflation averaged 2.5%. Real GDP growth was expected to slow to 2.2% in 2006, as domestic demand weakened, but was forecast to rise to 2.7% in 2007. Inflation was expected to average 3% in 2006, before easing to 2.4% in 2007, in line with fuel prices lower than those in 2005, when inflation was estimated at 3.2%. The current account deficit was forecast to narrow from an estimated peak of 7.6% of GDP in 2005 to an annual average of 7.1% of GDP in 200607. Despite increased social and other spending, the Labour government in 2005 was expected to run sizeable operating surpluses in order to build up the new pension fund. The public debt in 2004 was estimated at 22.1% of GDP. The unemployment rate that year stood at 4.2%.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $97.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $24,100. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 3%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 4.7% of GDP, industry 27.8%, and services 67.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $1.199 billion or about $299 per capita and accounted for approximately 1.5% of GDP.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in New Zealand totaled $35.68 billion or about $8,899 per capita based on a GDP of $79.6 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.2%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 21% of household consumption was spent on food, 12% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 2% on education.


In 2005, New Zealand's workforce was estimated at 2.13 million. As of 2003, Services accounted for 69.3% of employment, with industry accounting for 22.3%, agriculture 8.2%, and the remainder of the labor force in undefined occupations. Before 1978, New Zealand had maintained virtually full employment, but the oil crisis had a major impact, and from 1978, unemployment climbed from about 3% to 10.6% in 1991. After peaking in 199192, unemployment was reduced to an estimated 4% in 2005.

As of 2005, workers in New Zealand had the right to organize and join a union, to engage in collective bargaining and excise the right to strike. However, members of the armed forces are prohibited from organizing a union and collective bargaining. Also, uniformed and plainclothes police (excluding support and clerical staff) were banned from striking or any other form of industrial action, but can organize and bargain collectively. All unions are required to register with the government, have at least 15 members, be governed by democratic rulesand cannot engage in collective bargaining over political or social issues. About 22% of New Zealand's workforce in 2005 was unionized.

In 2005, the minimum wage rate was around $6.65 per hour for workers over 18 years of age. The minimum for those 16 and 17 years old the minimum wage rate that same year was about $5.32 per hour. Employment may not interfere with education. By law, employees in most occupations have a 40-hour workweek, eight hours a day, five days a week. Excess hours are generally paid at overtime rates. Legislation or industrial contracts secure sick leave, paid holidays, and accident compensation for all workers. Children under 15 years of age cannot work in mining, forestry or manufacturing, and cannot work between 10 pm and 6 am Children attending school cannot be employed, even after school hours if the employment interferes with their education. The safety, health and welfare benefits, holiday provisions, hours of work, and overtime of all workers are closely regulated.


Over 13% of the total land area of New Zealand is devoted to agriculture. Capital investment in land improvement and mechanization has contributed greatly to the steady growth in agricultural production without an increase in the farm labor force. About 76,000 tractors and 3,100 combines were in use in 2003. Agriculture contributes about 50% to GDP and 11% of exports in 2004.

Cereal cultivation, more than 90% of which takes place on the South Island plains and downlands, fluctuates in terms of both acreage and size of crop. In 2004, areas harvested to wheat totaled an estimated 40,000 hectares (199,000 acres), with a yield of 287,000 tons; 18,000 hectares (20,000 acres) yielded 34,500 tons of oats; and 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) yielded 380,000 tons of barley.

New Zealand is largely self-sufficient in horticultural products and exports some of these, such as apples and honey. In 2004, 999,800 tons of fresh fruit and melons were produced. The kiwia fruit that has become popular in the United States, Japan, and elsewhererepresented 90% of horticultural exports. In 1985, New Zealand accounted for more than half the world's supply of kiwi fruit. Since the mid-1980s, New Zealand has lost some of its market share in the production of kiwi, as other countries began or expanded their own domestic kiwi productionby the early 2000s, New Zealand accounted for less than one-third of world kiwi supply. Kiwi production in 2004 was estimated at 320,000 tons. In 2004, New Zealand produced 500,000 tons of apples, 55,000 tons of peas, 14,200 tons of avocados, and 170,000 tons of corn. About 70% of apple exports is derived from the Braeburn, Gala, and Royal Gala varieties developed in New Zealand. In 2004, exports of 358,327 tons of apples were valued at $314 million.

The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research provide farmers and horticulturalists with advice and encouragement on new farming methods, elimination of plant diseases, and improvement of unproductive land. Government subsidies have assisted in improving and bringing under cultivation marginal and hitherto unused scrub land. However, since the mid-1980s there has been a shift in government policy, and many subsidies to agriculture have been removed or phased out.


Relatively warm temperatures combined with ample rainfall make New Zealand one of the world's richest pastoral areas. In 2003, pastures occupied 13.9 million hectares (33.9 million acres), or 51% of the total land area. Even in the south, where winters may be quite severe, animals need not be housed. In 2005, there were 40 million sheep, 9.4 million head of cattle (over half of which are dairy cattle), and about 390,000 pigs. Dairying and beef production are concentrated in the North Island, and sheep farming is more evenly distributed between the North and South islands. The natural tussock land in the mountainous areas of the South Island and the surface-sown grassland in the less steep parts of the North Island are used to raise sheep for wool. The extensive use of aircraft for the spread of top dressing has greatly improved hill pasture, most of which is not readily accessible to normal top dressing with fertilizers. Some 24,000 farms stock mainly sheep, occupying over 11 million hectares (27.1 million acres), with an average flock of 1,800 head. Although fine-woolen Merino sheep have grazed in New Zealand since the 1830s, most of the clip nowadays comes from Romney sheep, whose coarser, thicker wool is ideal for carpet-making and knitting yarns.

Products of animal origin account for more than half the total value of New Zealand's exports, with meat industry products accounting for about 18% of exports. New Zealand is the world's largest exporter of mutton and lamb, second-largest exporter of wool, and a leading exporter of cheese. The wool clip, which, having increased steadily since 1948, had fallen during the early 1970s, later rose to 380,700 tons in 1980/81; in 2004, 230,000 tons were produced. Exports of greasy and scoured wool were valued at $470.9 million in 2004. Beef and veal production in that year reached 685,000 tons; and mutton, 520,000 tons. New Zealand accounts for over 50% of the world's mutton exports.

With many more cows than people to milk them, New Zealand pioneered and relies on mechanical milking. In 2003, New Zealand had 13,800 milking machines. Whole milk is pumped through coolers to vats where it is transferred to tanker trucks. In 2005, 14,625,000 tons of fresh milk were produced. Milkfat production averages about 336,000 tons annually, of which 13% is consumed as milk or fed to stock. The balance is used for dairy products.

Although wild goats and deer were once regarded as vermin, over the last decade, the profitability of venison and mohair exports led to the domestication of both animals. About 1.7 million deer and 155,000 goats are being farmed. Alpacas, llamas, and water buffalo have been imported to improve the breeding potential as well as wool and meat production.


Although many kinds of edible fish are readily obtainable in New Zealand waters, the fishing and fish-processing industry has remained relatively small. Since the 1960s, however, the government has taken a number of measures to expand the industry and increase fishery exports. In 1978, the government began implementing a 322-km (200-mi) exclusive economic zone. During the next four years, it approved nearly 40 joint ventures with foreign companies in order to exploit the zone, which, with an area of about 1.3 million sq mi (nautical), is one of the world's largest. These waters support over 1,000 species of fish, about 100 of which have commercial significance. The volume of fish landed in New Zealand increased from 6,488 tons in 1936 to 633,808 tons in 2003. New Zealand's domestic vessels account for about 60% of the catch. With the rapid growth of fishing in the 1980s, about 75% of the catch is exported (with a value of $702.9 million in 2003), mostly to the United States, Japan, and Australia. The principal finfish species caught included blue grenadier, mackerel, whiting, snoek, and orange roughy. In addition, New Zealand fishermen in 2003 landed 73,730 tons of squid. The most valuable part of the catch is made of orange roughy, hoki, squid, and rock lobster. Oyster and mussel aquaculture are well established; scallop, salmon, and abalone farming are developing.


At the time Europeans began coming to New Zealand, about 70% of the land was forest. The major indigenous tree species are beech, kauri, rimu, taraire, and tawa. This proportion has been reduced by settlement, farming, and exploitation to about 30%. Much of the remaining natural forest is reserved in national parks, or as protected forest on mountain land. About 5% of New Zealand is covered by planted forests, which provides a large and sustainable volume of wood. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) estimated the planted forest area at 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) in 2004, with 70% on North Island and 30% on South Island.

For wood production, New Zealand relies heavily on its planted forests of quick-growing exotic species, mainly radiata pine, which can be harvested every 2530 years. These provide over 90% of the wood for production of sawn timber, wood panel products, pulp, paper, and paperboard. Due to these replanting efforts and privatization of forest lands, exports of softwood logs have skyrocketed since the early 1980s. Timber production is expected to pick up again around 2010 from the large number of trees planted in the 1980s and early 1990s. Exports of forestry products in 2004 amounted to $1.46 billion; about 35% is exported as logs. Most of New Zealand's softwood logs and lumber go to Australia, the ROK, and Japan. Forestry accounts for about 4% of GDP. Imports of forest products consist mostly of specialty papers.

Roundwood production in 2004 was estimated at 17.08 million cu m (602.9 million cu ft). Softwood logs for export and lumber production that year were estimated at 7.1 million and 1.6 million cu m (250.6 million and 56.5 million cu ft), respectively. Plywood production for 2004 was estimated at 296,000 cu m (10.5 million cu ft).

The Forestry Corporation (FC) was established as a state-owned enterprise in April 1991. The FC manages 188,000 hectares (465,000 acres) of forest in the Bay of Plenty on North Island. The FC consists of three principal forests: Rotoehu Forest, Whakarewarewa Forest, and the Kaingaroa Forest in the Rotorua district that covers 149,735 hectares (370,001 acres) and is claimed to be the largest planted forest in the world. In 1996, the government sold FC for nz$2 billion to a joint venture consortium, which planned to invest nz$260 million over the next several years. New Zealand's forestry sector has become more fragmented as the large companies that previously dominated the industry have divested much of their business. Prior to this change, harvests were becoming of poorer quality, as younger trees were being harvested to satisfy a strong export market. The ownership change to long-term investment now focuses on wood processing.


Because of its diverse geology and dynamic tectonic history, New Zealand had a wide variety of potentially profitable mineral deposits, although few have been extensively exploited. Mining was a leading industry in 2003, with gold and silver dominating the metal mining sector. Minerals production (excluding oil and natural gas) in 2003 was valued at around $635 million (estimated) or under 1% of the country's estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of about $78 billion that year. In 2002, the last year for which export data was available, major mineral exports included ironsand, halloysite clay (for the manufacture of high-quality ceramics), cement, salt (by solar evaporation of seawater), and silver. Most output of industrial minerals was for domestic use, because the distances to overseas markets limited most exports to the high-value commodities or products with unique applications or specifications.

Gold production for 2003 was 9,305 kg. Production came from two large hard-rock mines: the Martha Hill, at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, at Waihi, southeast of Auckland; and the Macraes open cut mine, north of Dunedin; as well as the Grey River dredging operation on the Grey River on South Island; plus 50 other small-scale operations. The Macraes Mine, accounted for about 40% the country's production in 2003.

In 2003, 1,947,000 tons of ironsand (titaniferous magnetite) was extracted. Iron ore in the form of titanomagnetite-rich sand derived from the coastal erosion of the Mount Taranaki volcanics was mined from beach and dune sands, concentrated at two sites along the western coast of North Island. Although the existence of large quantities of iron-bearing sands has been known for more than a century, the steel industry was not able to exploit them until the late 1960s.

Silver mine output in 2003 was 29,930 kg. Output of building materials in 2003 included an estimated 8,000,000 tons of sand and gravel for building aggregate, and 20,520,000 tons of limestone and marl for roads. New Zealand also produced bentonite, clays for brick and tile, diatomaceous earth (which included zeolite), dolomite, kaolinite (pottery), lime, marble, nitrogen, perlite (which included zeolite), quartzite, rock for harbor work, salt, sand and gravel (including silica [glass] sand and amorphous silica), serpentinite, and dimension stone. Considerable potential for platinum and platinum-group metals from hard-rock deposits and alluvial concentrations existed, the most promising area being the Longwood Range, in western Southland. Uranium-bearing minerals have been located on the South Island.

State-owned "Crown minerals," based on the British legal system, were owned and regulated by the New Zealand Crown Minerals Act 1991 and the Crown Minerals Amendment Act (No. 2), passed in 1997. Crown-owned minerals included all naturally occurring gold, silver, and uranium; substantial amounts of coal; other metallic and nonmetallic minerals and aggregates; and all petroleum. Minerals not designated as Crown owned were privately owned. New Zealand has not enacted native title legislation to gain access to Maori lands, claims for which were handled through the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal.

Gold was discovered in New Zealand in the early 19th century when European sealers and whalers were first exploring the country. The mining industry began in 1852, upon the discovery of hard-rock gold on the Coromandel region, North Island, by European settlers. Gold deposits were discovered on the South Island in 1861. By 1870, copper, iron, lead, and silver deposits had been discovered and worked, and deposits of antimony, arsenic, chromium, zinc, and other minerals had been located. After World War II, industrial minerals, aggregate, and stone production grew steadily, coal mining fluctuated, and gold output declined. Extensive exploration in the 1950s and 1960s found natural gas and gas condensate, ironsand, and geothermal energy.


New Zealand has modest reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal. Most of its electricity comes from hydroelectric sources.

New Zealand, as of 1 January 2002, had proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas of 89.62 million barrels and 58.94 billion cu m, respectively. Petroleum output that year averaged 40,990 barrels per day, of which crude oil accounted for an average of 30,390 barrels per day. Refined petroleum production that year averaged 113,130 barrels per day. Consumption of refined products in 2002 averaged 145,250 barrels per day. Imports of all petroleum products averaged 130,890 barrels per day, of which 92,470 barrels per day was crude oil. Natural gas output and consumption in 2002 each totaled 215.70 billion cu ft.

Coal production totaled 4,916,000 short tons in 2002, of which bituminous coal accounted for 4,675,000 short tons. Lignite or brown coal accounted for the remainder. Coal reserves are estimated at 129 million tons, of which 85% is located in the untapped lignite fields in Southland.

Although the bulk of New Zealand's electricity is generated from hydroelectric sources, future hydroelectric potential is limited, and thermal power, based primarily on coal and natural gas, is becoming increasingly important. Total generating capacity was 8.555 million kW in 2002, with hydroelectric capacity accounting for 61.4% of capacity, and conventional thermal sources for 31% of capacity. Geothermal/other sources accounted for the remainder. In 2002, electric power output totaled 39.056 billion kWh, with hydropower producing 24.211 billion kWh. Conventional thermal generation accounted for 10.942 billion kWh. Geothermal/other sources produced 3.903 billion kWh in that year. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 36.322 billion kWh.


Industrial production has increased rapidly since the end of World War II, stimulated by intermittent import controls that often enabled domestic industry to increase output without competition. A most significant feature of New Zealand industry in recent decades has been the establishment of heavy industry with Commonwealth and US capital. Plants include metal and petroleum processing, motor vehicle assembly, textiles and footwear, and a wide range of consumer appliances. The New Zealand Steel company manufactures billet slabs and ingots using domestically produced iron sands; Pacific Steel, which processes scrap metal, uses billets from New Zealand Steel. The Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, operated by an Australian-Japanese consortium, has an annual capacity of some 250,000 tons. The small but growing electronics industry produces consumer goods as well as commercial products, such as digital gasoline pumps. Wool-based industries have traditionally been an important part of the economy, notably wool milling, the oldest sector of the textile industry. Other significant industrial areas include a diverse food-processing sector, tanneries, sheet glass, rubber, and plastics.

Progressive withdrawal of government support beginning in 1985 led manufacturing to decline from 198789 due to a more competitive environment. However, after cutting overcapacity, many firms increased productivity and were ultimately in a stronger financial position. Industrial output has recovered since 1990. Manufacturing's contribution to GDP rose by 2.3% annually between 1988 and 1998. The manufacturing sector, which until the mid-1980s focused on production for the small domestic market, has increasingly been geared toward export markets. By 2004, industry accounted for some 27.4% of GDP.


Most scientific research in New Zealand is funded by the government, principally by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Cawthron Institute at Nelson, established in 1919, conducts research in chemistry, biology, and environmental and marine studies. New Zealand has 20 other institutes conducting research in agriculture, veterinary science, medicine, and general sciences and 17 universities and technical institutes offering degrees in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 20% of college and university enrollments. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 20.7% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, engineering). Among New Zealand's 42 scientific and technical learned societies, the most prominent is the Royal Society of New Zealand, founded in 1867.

In 2001, research and development (R&D) expenditures totaled $954.960 million, or 1.18% of GDP. Of that amount, the largest portion, 46.4%, came from government sources, followed by the business sector at 37.1%. Higher education and foreign sources accounted for 9.9% and 6.6%, respectively. In that same year, there were 2,593 researchers engaged in R&D per million people. In 2002, New Zealand's high technology exports totaled $388 million, or 10% of the country's manufactured exports.


New Zealand has developed an open market economy over the past two decades, as the government has given up control of many areas of domestic economic regulation, including the elimination of agriculture subsidies and controls on prices and wages. The trend in retail establishments is moving from small shops to supermarkets and shopping centers. Several retail establishments have converted to self-service operations. There is very little retail mail-order trade. Automobiles and large appliances are increasingly being sold on the installment (hire-purchase) plan. General and trade papers, regional publications, and television and radio are used extensively as advertising media.

Business hours vary, especially since the introduction of staggered work hours, known as glide time. Offices open as early as 7:30 am and remain open until about 6 pm. Stores may be open at any time between 7 am and 9 pm, Monday through Saturday. Saturday trading is becoming more prevalent at popular beach resorts near the larger urban areas. Sunday trading is confined to "dairy shops," permitted by law to sell a restricted range of foodstuffs. All offices and banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays. Banking hours are 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.


New Zealand's trade per capita and as a percentage of GNP is among the highest in the world. In 1974/75, more than 70% of export receipts derived from meat, dairy products, and wool; but this figure was down to 56% by 1984/85 and was only 32% in 1994/95, as manufactured goods and forest products have taken an increasing share of the total. Imports consist mainly of machinery, manufactured goods, petroleum and petroleum products, and raw materials for industry. Foreign trade more than doubled in value between 1976 and 1981 and again from 1981 to 1985. Between

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 16,520.0 18,548.9 -2,028.9
Australia 3,559.5 4,187.8 -628.3
United States 2,396.6 2,184.7 211.9
Japan 1,816.8 2,170.1 -353.3
China 800.7 1,622.3 -821.6
United Kingdom 793.0 613.6 179.4
Korea, Republic of 577.8 495.4 82.4
Germany 433.9 982.2 -548.3
Belgium 367.4 198.3 169.1
Other Asia nes 364.0 404.2 -40.2
China, Hong Kong SAR 325.2 89.5 235.7
() data not available or not significant.

1992/93 and 1995/96, the value of trade increased by nearly 16%. However, 1996 would prove to be a peak for New Zealand's foreign trade; it has not quite reached that level since.

New Zealand produces a large amount of food, including meat, dairy products, fruits and nuts, and fish. Other important exports include wool, aluminum, wood, and starch. New Zealand's major exports in 2004 were dairy products (17% of all exports), meat (15.5%), and forestry products (7.1%). Major imports that year included machinery and electrical equipment (23% of all imports), transportation equipment (15.6%), and mineral fuels and oils (10.5%). New Zealand's leading markets in 2004 were Australia (20.8% of all exports), the United States (14.4%), and Japan (11.2%). New Zealand's leading suppliers in 2004 were Australia (22.4% of all imports), the United States (11.2%) and Japan (11.2%).

Current Account -3,337.0
     Balance on goods -391.0
         Imports -17,219.0
         Exports 16,828.0
     Balance on services 803.0
     Balance on income -3,895.0
     Current transfers 145.0
Capital Account 508.0
Financial Account 3,405.0
     Direct investment abroad -299.0
     Direct investment in New Zealand 2,438.0
     Portfolio investment assets -856.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities 2,184.0
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets 318.0
     Other investment liabilities -379.0
Net Errors and Omissions 206.0
Reserves and Related Items -782.0
() data not available or not significant.


Since New Zealand's foreign trade depends on agricultural and livestock products, and since prices for these commodities are volatile, New Zealand's balance of payments may swing sharply from one year to the next. Generally, deficits outweighed surpluses during the 1950s and 1960s. Consistent surpluses were recorded between 1969 and 1973, when international reserves nearly quadrupled. However, a poor trade performance in 1974, largely attributable to increased oil import costs, contributed to a large current accounts deficit. Since then, New Zealand has continued to register payments deficits, which have been partially offset by compensatory financing, including overseas loans.

Exports of goods rose to $20.5 billion in 2004 (balance-of-payments basis), but imports of goods grew faster, to $21.9 billion, widening the trade deficit to $1.4 billion, from $0.5 billion in 2003. This led to an increase in the current account deficit from $3.4 billion (4.3% of GDP) in 2003 to $6.2 billion (6.4% of GDP) in 2004.


The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, established in 1933, exercises control over monetary circulation and credit. It is the bank of issue, handles all central government banking transactions, manages the public debt, and administers exchange control regulations. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Amendment Act (1973) empowers the Bank to regulate credit from all sources and requires it to make loans (as the minister of finance may determine) in order to ensure continued full employment.

New Zealand's financial services sector is dominated by the commercial banks, leaving only a minor role for nonbank finance companies and savings institutions. In part this reflects the impact of deregulation since the mid-1980s. Before 1984, the financial sector was highly segmented with tight government controls on what different institutions could offer. (For example, only trading banks could offer checking accounts to clients.) The easing of regulations means that there are now only two formal categories of financial institution: registered banks and other financial institutions. However, both can offer a wide range of financial and banking services.

In 2001, the government of New Zealand dedicated nz$78 million (us$ 63 million) to the establishment of a new People's Bank, to be run by the New Zealand Post and offer personal banking services, but not corporate or commercial banking. The fees of the People's Bank were expected to be 30% lower than those at other banks.

To be defined as a bank, a financial institution must register with the central Reserve Bank and meet a range of eligibility criteria, such as minimum capital adequacy, experience in the financial intermediation industry, and a commitment to stability of the financial system. The number of registered banks peaked at 24 in 1994, but in 2000 there were 18.

A number of bank mergers have increased the concentration of total banking assets in foreign ownership. Over 95% of total banking assets are foreign-owned, compared with 65% in 1990. The New Zealand banking industry is increasingly influenced by developments in Australia, since Australian banking groups control over two-thirds of banking assets in New Zealand; this share is unlikely to increase further, with the announcement in April 1996 of a conditional buy-out by Westpac Banking Corp. of Trust Bank, New Zealand's last domestically owned bank with a national branch network. The Post Office Savings Bank (established in 1865) has about 1,270 offices and agencies throughout New Zealand.

New Zealand is advantageously placed, since its trading day opens before the US market closes and before the Asian and Australian markets open. The main functions of the New Zealand Exchange Limited (NZX) are to provide an orderly market for the trading and transfer of securities, to protect investors' interests, and to ensure that the market is fully informed. As of 2003, there were 196 companies listing 213 securities worth nz$42.3 billion on the NZX. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $7.4 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $43.4 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 5.76%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 4.75%.

The Stock Exchange Association of New Zealand, the forerunner to the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSE), was founded in 1915. In May 2003, the NZSE became the New Zealand Exchange Limited (NZX). The stock exchanges in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill are members of the NZX, with headquarters in Wellington. Official listing is granted to companies that comply with the Exchange's requirements. These do not impose qualifications as to share capital but do provide that the company must be of sufficient magnitude and its shareholding sufficiently well distributed to ensure a free market for its shares. Subject to the recommendation and approval of the stock exchange nearest to the registered offices, companies may secure unofficial listing for their shares. All transactions in

Revenue and Grants 50,509 100.0%
     Tax revenue 42,264 83.7%
     Social contributions 132 0.3%
     Other revenue 8,113 16.1%
Expenditures 46,281 100.0%
     General public services 4,167 9.0%
     Defense 1,339 2.9%
     Public order and safety 1,890 4.1%
     Economic affairs 3,126 6.8%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 676 1.5%
     Health 7,657 16.5%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 1,018 2.2%
     Education 9,799 21.2%
     Social protection 16,609 35.9%
() data not available or not significant.

shares quoted in the unofficial list are subject to special brokerage rates. As of 2004, a total of 158 companies were listed on the NZX, which had a market capitalization of $43.731 billion. In 2004, the NZSX 50 Index rose 25.1% from the previous year to 3,064.4.


The government provides insurance through the Government Life Insurance Office and the State Insurance Office, which undertakes accident, fire, and marine insurance.

New Zealand has one of the world's highest ratios of value of life insurance policies to national income. Life insurance offices mobilize long-term household savings in conjunction with the provision of life insurance coverage, and are also closely associated with the management of pension and superannuation funds. The long-term contractual nature of household-sector savings through life insurance offices gives them the capacity to acquire long-term government and corporate debt instruments and to take equity positions in commercial property and company shares. In addition, they may provide mortgage financing to policy holders. General insurance companies have substantial funds available for investment to cover claims outstanding and unexpired risks. These funds are available on a short-term basis and are invested mainly in marketable securities and liquid assets. New Zealand has a no-fault compensation scheme for personal injury, established in 1992 under the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Act of 1992. All people, including visitors are eligible for the benefits. Under the same act, however, the right to sue for compensation was abolished. Additional personal injury can be purchased from insurers.

Like its Australian counterpart, the New Zealand insurance market is one of the most competitive in the world, with some 50 general insurers and the same number of life insurers. The top five general insurers accounted for more than 70% of the total premiums written in 1997. The same pattern exists for life business. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $4.730 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $3.671 billion. New Zealand's top nonlife insurer that same year was IAG New Zealand, which had gross written nonlife premiums of $601 million, while the nation's leading life insurer, Sovereign had gross written life insurance premiums of $227.1 million that year.


In 1994, in response to a decade of economic reforms that have opened the economy to foreign investment and triggered strong economic growth, the budget produced a surplus for the first time in 50 years. In 1995, public debt service dropped to 1.9% of GDP and 12% of expenditures. External debt accounted for 23% of total government debt. Interest on external debt equaled 3.5% of exports of goods and services plus investment income. The surpluses continued in 1996, but showed signs of weakness in 1997 as forecasts of slower economic growth and uncertainty over the intentions of the newly elected government prompted a drop in business confidence. Nevertheless, in June of 1997, the new government proposed a three-year program of increased spending on social programs and postponed a round of promised tax cuts. As a result of privatization and restructuring, New Zealand now has one of the most open economies in the world.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 New Zealand's central government took in revenues of approximately us$43.1 billion and had expenditures of us$37.5 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately us$5.5 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 21.4% of GDP. Total external debt was us$57.67 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were nz$50,509,000 and expenditures were nz$46,281,000. The value of revenues was us$8,679,000 and expenditures us$7,952,000, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = nz$5.820, as reported that year by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 9.0%; defense, 2.9%; public order and safety, 4.1%; economic affairs, 6.8%; housing and community amenities, 1.5%; health, 16.5%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.2%; education, 21.2%; and social protection, 35.9%.


The income tax rate for corporations, including subsidiaries of overseas corporations, is 33%, and is applied to aggregate income. There are also tax incentives for exporters. Generally, capital gains are not taxed, although gains from the sale of personal property that is related to a person's business or where the property was acquired for resale may be taxed as business income. Dividends, generally are subject to a withholding tax of 30%, with interest and royalty income, and payments made to contractors subject to a withholding rate of 15%. Earnings are taxed in one combined general income and social security tax, which for wage and salary earners is deducted by the employer on a pay-as-you-earn basis (called PAYE), with annual adjustments There is a fringe benefits tax (FBT) payable quarterly by employers on the value of fringe benefits provided to employees and shareholders. Employers can choose to pay a flat rate of 64% or fully or partially attribute the value of the fringe benefits to the individual's income and pay at the appropriate rate. Capital gains are charged as the same rate as other income.

As of 2005 New Zealand had a progressive personal income tax with a top rate of 39%. However there is a system of low-income rebates that includes, in addition to standard deductions for the taxpayer and dependents, rebates for housekeeping or child-care expenses, and tuition. There are also rebates for certain dividend and interest income, life insurance premiums, and contributions to retirement funds.

The main in direct tax is a value-added tax (VAT), called the goods and services tax (GST), set at 12.5%. Exported goods, goods held overseas, services in connection with temporary imports and exported goods are zero-rated for the GST. Excise taxes are imposed on motor vehicles, gasoline, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages. The government ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in December 2002, and plans to introduce an appropriate carbon tax.

Local authorities are largely dependent on property taxes. There are three main systems of rating: (1) capital (land improvements) value; (2) annual value; (3) unimproved value. The actual amount of the rate is fixed by each local authority.


Customs taxation is based principally on an ad valorem scale, but specific duties are applied to some goods. Rates of duty payable depend on the country of origin. With the exception of some automotive products, preferential rate scales for the United Kingdom were phased out by 1 July 1977, as a result of that nation's entry into the European Community. In 1978, preferential rates for Commonwealth countries were also discontinued. Two years earlier, New Zealand had introduced a revised generalized system of preferences (GSP) favoring the developing countries. Tariffs range from 030%. There is also a goods and services tax (GST) of 12.5% that applies to Free on Board (FOB; cost of the product, plus all transportation costs from the manufacturer to the port of departure, plus costs of loading the vessel) value.


Investment in New Zealand's economy by overseas companies through New Zealand subsidiaries has increased steadily, with the largest contribution from Australian sources, outstripping both US and UK sources. At the end of 1991, total foreign direct investment (FDI) in New Zealand was $11 billion whereas as of March 2001 total FDI stock was $49.3 billion. FDI from Australia rose from $4.8 billion to $17.2 billion in the period 1991 to 2001; from the United States, $2.8 billion to $7 billion; and from the United Kingdom, $1.9 billion to $6.7 billion. In 2000/01, FDI flow peaked at $7.7 billion, more than double the rates in the previous four years: $2.9 billion in 1997, $3.4 billion in 1998, $1.78 billion in 1999, and $2.96 billion in 2000. Foreign portfolio investment has been more volatile. A small net outflow of $285 million in 1997 was followed by two years of positive inflow ($927 million in 1998 and $747 million in 1999), and by then a large outflow of $6 billion in 2000. In 2001, portfolio investment was a record $3.89 billion.

In contrast, the stock of FDI held by New Zealanders in other parts of the world totaled $14.7 billion as of March 2001.

As of March 2004, the total stock of FDI in New Zealand was $42.7 billion, or 46.8% of New Zealand's GDP. New Zealand's direct investment abroad was $8.89 billion, or 10% of GDP. From 200105, FDI inflows averaged 1.9% of GDP.

The legal framework for FDI in New Zealand is laid out in the Overseas Investment Act of 2005, administered by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO). Under the regulations an overseas person must obtain consent to acquire or establish 25% or more ownership in any New Zealand business; property worth more than $100 million; "sensitive land"for instance, land that is or includes foreshore or seabed; or certain fishing quotas.


Economic policy is implemented through taxation, Reserve Bank interest rates, price and monopoly controls, and import and export licensing. From 1958 to about 1975, import controls, tightened in 1961 and again in 1973, were employed to correct deficits in the balance of payments. Then in the mid-1970s the government began an industrial restructuring program focused on certain industries, such as textiles, footwear, automobiles, and electronics, whose domestic prices were much higher than those of foreign substitutes, with the aim of reducing the protection granted such products. In 1977, the New Zealand Planning Council was charged with advising the government on economic, social and cultural planning, and on the coordination of planning. In 1978 the Economic Monitoring Group was established to make reports on economic trends working independently of the Planning Council. The government gradually liberalized import controls, and by 1981 about 79% of private imports to New Zealand were exempt from licensing.

In June 1982, in an effort to control mounting inflation, the government announced a freeze on wages, prices, rents, and dividends. The freeze was lifted in March 1984, temporarily reimposed by a new Labour government, and then terminated late in 1984. In March 1985, the New Zealand dollar was floated as part of a broad-based deregulation of the economy, and the Reserve Bank has not intervened since. The termination of the freeze, combined with a devaluation of the dollar, led to a resumption of high inflation, which lasted until the crash of financial markets in October 1987. From this point the government began implementing a strict monetary policy designed to achieve a stable price level. The immediate cost was a sharp rise in unemployment (from 7% to 10.4%), but by 1991 inflation had been brought down to the low levels that have prevailed since. The target set by the government is a range between 1% and 3% per year. For the year ending September 1991, inflation was 2.2%. The average inflation rate for the five years 1997 to 2001 was 1.5%, with a low of negative 0.4% in 1999 and a high of 3.2% in 2001. The inflation rate was estimated at 3.2% in 2005, and was expected to fall to 3% in 2006 and to 2.4% in 2007.

Also from the mid-1980s, the New Zealand government has embarked on a major restructuring program to transform the economy from an agrarian economy dependent on preferences in the British market to a competitive and more industrialized free market economy with per capita incomes on par with the leading industrialized nations. In the course of the last two decades, New Zealand has been changed from being one of the most regulated in the OECD to one of the most deregulated. For most of the 1990s, the economy grew strongly, but then was slowed by the Asian financial crisis. Real growth rates dropped to 1.9% and 0.4% in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Recovery in 2000 to 4.6% growth was reduced to 2.6% in 2001 as the economy felt the impact of the global slowdown. Real GDP growth was expected to slow to 2.2% in 2006, as domestic demand weakened, but was forecast to rise to 2.7% in 2007.

The Labour-Alliance government elected in November 1999 set as its goals the transformation of New Zealand into a competitive, knowledge-based economy with emphasis on the development of high skills, high employment and high value-added production. Monetary policy remains guided by the Reserve Act of 1989, which aimed at maintaining price stability. Fiscal policy is guided by the framework set out in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1994. Specific goals include keeping gross governmental debt below 30% of GDP, holding government expenditures to around 35% of GDP, and running an operating surplus in order to build up a fund (the New Zealand Superannuation Fund or NZS Fund) to meet the future costs of publicly provided retirement income. The major foci of the government's economic policy have been building conditions for enhancing New Zealand's sustainable economic growth rate and making it back into the top half of the OECD in terms of per capita income. The government has identified several key policy areas: an open, competitive microeconomy, macroeconomic stability, and improving skills and talents, innovation and global connectedness. A main barrier to New Zealand's economic development is a vulnerability to global economic and geopolitical shocks. One such example was the opposition of Prime Minister Helen Clark's government to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which raised tensions with the United States, one of New Zealand's main trading partners. Another challenge to New Zealand's economic prosperity is its continuing dependence on commodities, most agriculture- and forestry-related. This dependency leaves the small, open economy vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices and the impact of the weather on agricultural output. There has been a shift in the early 2000s towards further processing of primary commodities, to add value and to counter fluctuating world commodity prices. The manufacturing sector has increasingly been geared towards export markets.

In 1984/85, New Zealand contributed a total of $36.25 million in Official Development Assistance, $30 million in technical and capital assistance and direct aid or loans to developing nations, and $6.25 million in multilateral aid through the UN, the South Pacific Commission, ADB, and other organizations. In 1995, New Zealand's ODA reached $123 million, and then peaked at $154 million in 1997. In 1998, under the strains of the Asian financial crisis, New Zealand's total aid declined to $130 million, and in 2000/01 fell further to $99.1 million. New Zealand's ODA stood at $99.7 million in 2004. New Zealand's international aid effort has normally amounted to between 25% and 27% of GNP. The major recipients of its development assistance are the nations of the South Pacific, who receive about 70% of New Zealand's bilateral aid and more than 60% of its total overseas aid.


A dual system of universal and social assistance is provided to all residents. Old age pensions have been in place since 1898. Benefits are paid for retirement, unemployment, sickness, and emergencies; and to widows, orphans, families, invalids, and minors. Retirement is set at age 65. Benefits are funded by the government. Medical benefits include medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical payments. Work injury compensation legislation provides for dual universal and compulsory insurance systems. The plan is financed by insurance premiums paid by employers and the self-employed and by a contribution from general revenue. Maternity benefits are provided for single women for six months. There are extensive benefits for families including a child disability allowance, low income family support, and child, parental, and family tax credits.

Although prohibited by law, discrimination in the workplace still exists. Women continue to earn less than men, and sexual harassment is a serious problem. The Ministry of Women's affairs aggressively addresses these issues. Domestic violence and abuse is a growing concern, although the law penalizes spousal rape. The law broadened the definition of domestic violence to include various kinds of psychological abuse. The government provides support to victims of domestic violence.

The government respects the human rights of its citizens. It also protects the rights of citizens living in the territories of Tokelau, Niue, and the Cook Islands.


For over 50 years, comprehensive health services, most of them supported by the state, have been available to all New Zealanders. About 80% of all health care costs are met by the public sector. Treatment at public hospitals is free for people ordinarily resident in New Zealand. In private hospitals, medical care is subsidized; a full range of maternity services is paid for by the Department of Health. The Health Service provides hospital treatment, maternity services from a general practitioner, most prescribed drugs, laboratory diagnostic services, dental care, routine immunizations for children under 16, and some health appliances free of charge. Partial benefits are paid for private hospitalization, X-ray services, physiotherapy, and hearing aids. Care is free for infants and preschool children. Most children are immunized free by their family doctors, but the Department of Health also has immunization clinics. Children up to one year old were vaccinated against tuberculosis, 20%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 84%; polio, 84%; measles, 87%; and hepatitis B, 81%. Rates for DPT and measles were, respectively, 88% and 83%.

Area health boards, formed to combine primary and hospital care facilities for each region under a single administrative unit, were established in 1985. Market-oriented health care reforms were introduced in the 1990s, but many were reversed at the end of the decade when a Labour-Alliance government came to power. The country's health care system is still mostly tax funded. Twenty-one district health boards were formed by the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act of 2000. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 8.1 % of GDP.

Public hospitals are managed under the supervision of the Minister of Health by local hospital boards, whose members are elected; all costs are borne by the state. Private hospital costs are partly paid for by the state; additional fees may be claimed from patients. Voluntary welfare organizations make valuable contributions to public health and are assisted by grants from public funds. Most physicians practice under the National Health Service, established by the Social Security Act of 1938, but private practice outside the scheme is permitted. As of 2004, there were an estimated 223 physicians, 868 nurses, 42 dentists, and 100 pharmacists per 100,000 people.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 14.2 and 7.6 per 1,000 people. About 70% of married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraceptives. In 2000, the total fertility rate was two children per woman living throughout her childbearing years. Infant mortality in 2005 was 5.85 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth was 78.66 years. The principal causes of death are heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung and colorectal cancer. There were about six reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people.

The health of the Maori people, although greatly improved over recent decades, is still not on a par with that of the general population. Alcoholism is a significant public health problem in New Zealand. Estimates of the number of chronic alcoholics range upward from 53,000 and another 250,000 New Zealanders may be classified as excessive drinkers. Tobacco consumption in New Zealand has decreased from 2.3 kg (5.1 lbs) a year per adult in 198486 to 2.0 kg (4.4 lbs) in 1995. The heart disease mortality rate for those over 65 years old is higher than the average for countries defined as high human development by the World Bank. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 1,400 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 200 deaths from AIDS in 2003. New Zealand has adopted needle exchange programs to reduce HIV spread among IV users.


The number of houses and apartments built in New Zealand fell steadily from 1974/75, when 34,000 new houses and flats were built, to 1981, when only 14,300 were constructed; since then, numbers have generally risen, reaching 18,000 in 1992, when New Zealand's housing stock totaled 1,220,000. As of 2001, there were 1,359,843 private dwellings nationwide. About 80% were separate, single family houses. There were about 5,265 temporary dwellings (i.e., cabins, tents, mobile homes). About 67.8% of all dwellings are owner occupied. The average household had 2.7 people. The average private dwelling has three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry, bathroom, toilet, and garage. Most units are built of wood and have sheet-iron or tiled roofs. The estimated number of dwellings nationwide at the end of 2004 was 1,608,900.

In recent decades, the government has introduced measures designed to assist the financing of housing by contractors and private owners. These include increases in the maximum housing loans advanced by the State Advances Corporation, low-interest loans for families with low incomes, and the establishment of a home savings scheme through the Post Office Savings Bank. Since 1937, the government Housing Corp. has built houses and flats for rental, with preference given to low-income families; by March 1985, 90,469 of these had been completed. Since 1951, the government has generously subsidized local authorities to provide pensioners' housing.


Education in New Zealand is compulsory for 10 years for children between ages 6 and 16, although most children attend school from the age of five. Public primary and secondary schools are administered by district education boards (or boards of governors) and school committees (the latter elected by householders), under the authority of the Department of Education. Kindergartens are run either by private persons or by voluntary organizations with partial state subsidies. Primary education lasts for eight years and is given at primary and intermediate schools (the latter giving the last two years of primary education). Secondary education covers five years of study and is offered through general secondary schools, technical high schools, or consolidated schools for pupils who live in rural areas. Evening classes are given by technical and secondary schools, and adult education classes are offered by the universities. Most state schools are coeducational, but some private schools are not. New Zealand has about 2,300 state primary schools and 60 privately owned schools. At the secondary level, there are 315 state-run schools and 15 private schools. The academic year runs from February to November.

In 2001, about 86% of children between the ages of three and four were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 100% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 93% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 95% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 18:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 16:1.

Attendance at vocational schools has grown tremendously, from a total enrollment of 3,071 in 1980 to 63,658 in 1994. For children in isolated areas, there is a public Correspondence School. In some regions there are special state primary and secondary schools for Maori children, but most Maori children attend public schools. Private primary and secondary schools are operated by individuals and religious bodies. Since 1975, under new legislation, many private schools have been voluntarily integrated into the public system.

There are six universities, all operating under the aegis of the University Grants Committee and the Universities Entrance Board: the University of Auckland, University of Waikato (at Hamilton), Massey University (at Palmerston North), Victoria University of Wellington, University of Canterbury (at Christchurch), and University of Otago (at Dunedin). All universities offer courses in the arts, social sciences, commerce, and science. An agricultural institution, Lincoln College, is associated with the University of Canterbury. Law is offered at Auckland, Waikato, Victoria, Canterbury, and Otago, and medicine at Auckland and Otago. The Central Institute of Technology, near Wellington, is the leading institution in a network of 24 polytechnic institutions. There are evening classes for adults interested in continuing their education at secondary schools, institutes and community centers. University tuition fees are low, and financial assistance is given to applicants who have passed special qualifying examinations. In 2003, about 74% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program; 59% for men and 90% for women. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 99%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.7% of GDP, or 15.1% of total government expenditures.


The Alexander Turnbull National Library of New Zealand was founded in 1966 by the amalgamation of three state libraries and service divisions. It contains a general lending collection of over 530,000 volumes, plus a large number of materials in special collections. Its Extension Division provides services to public and school libraries throughout the country, and the Library School offers courses for the training and certification of librarians. The two largest university libraries are at the University of Auckland (1.6 million volumes) and the University of Canterbury at Christchurch (571,000). The largest public library systems are in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington.

Outstanding art galleries and museums are the Auckland City Art Gallery (European and New Zealand paintings); the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch (ornithology, anthropology, and history); the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (paintings, period furniture, and china); the Otago Museum, Dunedin (ethnography, classical antiquities, ceramics); and the National Museum, Wellington (botany, ethnology, history). The nation's largest collection of Maori and Polynesian artifacts is found in the War Memorial Museum in Auckland. The Auckland Museum, founded in 1852, also has a fine collection of Maori artifacts. There is also a Museum of Puppets in Auckland and a Melanesian Mission House highlighting the Christian conversion of the indigenous peoples. There are hundreds of other historical and anthropological museums and sites throughout the country.


In 1990, Telecom Corp., which runs the country's telephone services, was sold to a consortium led by American Information Technologies Corp. and Bell Atlantic. In 2003, there were an estimated 448 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 648 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

After undergoing decentralization in the early 1970s, the national broadcasting system was again reorganized in the latter half of the decade, and united under one central board, the Broadcasting Corp. of New Zealand. Under its authority are the Radio New Zealand network, a unified television service operating the two formerly competing national networks, TV1 and TV2, and one privately owned channel. As of 1998 there were 124 AM and 290 FM radio stations and 41 television broadcast stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 991 radios and 574 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 7.1 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. The same year, there were 413.8 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 526 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 1,773 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

The largest daily newspapers and their estimated 2004 circulation figures are: New Zealand Herald (Auckland), 210,910; The Press (Christchurch), 91,111; The Dominion Post (Wellington), 99,089; and Otago Daily Times (Dunedin), 44,546. The largest weeklies in 2002 were Sunday Star Times (Auckland), 199,420; Sunday News (Auckland), 135,229; The New Zealand Listener (Auckland), 96,000; and Dunedin Star Weekender (Dunedin), 43,000.

The law provides for freedom of expression including free speech and a free press. Aside from the usual British legal limit for libel, the press enjoys complete editorial freedom.


Almost all aspects of New Zealand life have their appropriate organizations. A few of the more important ones are the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, the New Zealand Fruitgrowers' Association, the New Zealand Employers' Federation, the Chamber of Commerce (represented in almost every large town), the Returned Servicemen's Association, the New Zealand Federation of Labour, the Plunket Society (which deals with child welfare), the Royal Society of New Zealand, "Heritage" (devoted to the assistance of children deprived of one parent), the New Zealand Medical Association, the New Zealand Press Association, the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration, and the New Zealand Public Service Association.

Important cultural organizations are the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Opera Company, Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Ballet, the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, and the New Zealand Music Federation. There are also several associations available for hobbyists.

National youth organizations include the Girl Guides Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Scouting Association, National Council of the YMCA/YWCAs of New Zealand, branches of the Junior Chamber, New Zealand Federation of Young Farmer Clubs, New Zealand Student Association for the United Nations, New Zealand University Student Association, and Young Socialists. There are numerous sports associations for all ages, including a National Rifle Association.

Social action groups include the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women, the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and New Zealand Men for Equal Rights Association. Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs and Kiwanis International, are also present. International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Caritas, Save the Children Fund, and the Red Cross.


New Zealand draws many thousands of tourists to its shores because of the beauty, diversity, and compactness of its natural attractions and its varied sporting facilities. There are 14 national parks; of these, Fiordland is the largest, with some portions still unexplored. Te Urewera, noted for its forests and bird life, is the park in which early Maori culture is most strongly preserved; Tongariro includes two active volcanoes and is an important ski resort; and Mount Cook National Park includes Tasman Glacier, the largest glacier outside the polar regions. New Zealand has numerous thermal spas, particularly in the Rotorua area, which also offers Maori villages where traditional arts and crafts may be observed. The Waitomo Cave, on the North Island, is lit by millions of glowworms and may be toured all year. Lake Taupo and its streams form one of the world's richest trout fishing areas; Christchurch is home to one of the world's finest botanical gardens. Skiing is available on both the North and South Islands, and good deep-sea fishing along the North Island coast. New Zealand has first-class golf courses. Spectator sports include horse racing, football (soccer), cricket, and rugby.

All overseas visitors need passports valid for at least three months beyond their intended stay in New Zealand. Visas are not required for Australian citizens with Australian passports or nationals of the 50 countries who hold visa waivers. There are no vaccination requirements.

In 2003, about 2,104,400 tourists visited New Zealand, of whom 12.5% came from the United Kingdom and 10% from the United States. There were 20,072 hotel rooms with an occupancy rate of 54%.That year travelers stayed an average of two nights.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Rotorua at us$225; in Christchurch, us$230, and in Wellington, us$283.


Among New Zealand's best-known statesmen are Sir George Grey (181298), governor and later prime minister; Richard John Seddon (18451906), prime minister responsible for much social legislation; William Ferguson Massey (18561925); and Peter Fraser (18841950), World War II prime minister. Robert David Muldoon (192192) was prime minister from 1975 to 1984, when David Lange (19422005) became the youngest man to hold that office in the 20th century. Sir John Salmond (18621924) was an eminent jurist. William Pember Reeves (18571932), outstanding journalist, politician, and political economist, was the director of the London School of Economics. Frances Hodgkins (18691947) was a highly regarded painter. Katherine Mansfield (Kathleen Beauchamp Murry, 18881923), author of many evocative stories, was a master of the short-story form. Other well-known authors include Sylvia Ashton-Warner (190884) and Maurice Shadbolt (19322004). Two outstanding leaders of the Maori people were Sir Apirana Ngata (18741950) and Sir Peter Buck (18801951). Sir Truby King (18581938) pioneered in the field of child care.

Lord Ernest Rutherford (18711937), pioneer in atomic research and 1908 Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, was born in New Zealand. Other scientists include Sir Harold Gillies (18821960) and Sir Archibald McIndoe (190062), whose plastic surgery methods did much to rehabilitate war victims; Sir Brian G. Barratt-Boyes (19242006), a researcher in cardiac-thoracic surgery; and Albert W. Liley (b.1929), a researcher in perinatal psychology. Prominent in the arts have been ballet dancers Alexander Grant (b.1925) and Rowena Jackson (b.1926); the singer and actor Inia Watene Te Wiata (191571); and the soprano Kiri Te Kanawa (b.1944). Film actor Russell Crowe (b.1964) was born in New Zealand. Filmmakers Jane Campion (b.1954) and Peter Jackson (b.1961) have both won Academy Awards. In 1993, Campion won the Oscar for best screenplay for her film, The Piano. In 2003, Jackson's film, The Return of the King, the third film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, won 11 Oscars, 3 for Jackson himself (best picture, best director, and best screenplay). Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (b.1919) was the conqueror of Mt. Everest. The celebrated political cartoonist David Low (18911963) was born in New Zealand.


Cook Islands

Part of New Zealand since 1901, the Cook Islands became internally self-governing on 4 August 1965. The Cook Islands Constitution Act of 1964 established the island group as wholly self-ruling but possessed of common citizenship with New Zealand as well as of a common head of state (the Queen). New Zealand exercises certain responsibilities for the defense and external affairs of the islands, in consultation with the Cook Islands government. Full independence from New Zealand is planned for 2007.

A parliamentary type of government, like New Zealand's, characterizes the new political relationship, with a cabinet composed of a prime minister and six other ministers. The 24-member Legislative Assemblyto which the prime minister and other cabinet members are responsibleis elected by the adult population of the islands every four years and can void the applicability of New Zealand laws to the territory under its jurisdiction. The constitution of the autonomous islands also allows a declaration of independence, if ever this should be the wish of the political leadership. The office of New Zealand high commissioner was abolished in 1975 and replaced by the office of Queen's representative. Cook Islands products continue to enter New Zealand freely, and the level of subsidies to the islands from the New Zealand government has persisted.

The Cook Islands, 15 islands lying between 8° and 23°s and 156° and 167°w, more than 3,220 km (2,000 mi) northeast of New Zealand, were discovered by James Cook in 1773. They became a British protectorate in 1888 and were annexed to New Zealand in 1901. They consist of the Southern Group8 islands, the largest of which are Rarotonga (6,666 ha/16,472 acres) and Mangaia (5,191 ha/12,827 acres); and the Northern Group7 islands varying in size from Penrhyn (984 ha/2,432 acres) to Nassau (121 ha/299 acres). The total area is 241 sq km (93 sq mi). The northern islands are low-lying coral atolls, while the southern islands, including Rarotonga, the administrative seat, are elevated and fertile, and have the greater population. Except for Rarotonga, the islands suffer from lack of streams and wells, and water must be conserved. The islands lie within the hurricane area and sometimes experience destructive storms.

The population (estimated in 2002 at 20,811) is Polynesian and close in language and tradition to the New Zealand Maori. They are converts to Christianity. The islands are visited by government and freight vessels, and interisland shipping services are provided by commercially owned boats. An international airport opened for full services in 1973. There are three radio stations (1 AM and 2 FM).

The economy is based on agriculture, with the main exports being copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, and coffee. Other exports are fish, pearls, pearl shells, and clothing. Total exports were valued at us$9.1 million in 2000. The main imports are foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, and capital goods. In 2000, imports amounted to us$50.7 million.

Revenue for public finances is derived mainly from import duties and income tax. The 200001 budget envisioned expenditures of us$27 million. The New Zealand government provided grants and subsidies for capital development in health, education, other social services, economic development, and other purposes, covering one-third of the budget.

Free compulsory education is provided by the government at primary and secondary levels for all children between the ages of 6 and 15, and an estimated 95% of the population is literate. All Cook Islanders receive free medical and surgical treatment, and schoolchildren receive free dental care.


An isolated coral island, Niue is 966 km (600 mi) northwest of the southern Cook Islands, and located at 19°02s and 169°52w. Niue became a British protectorate in 1900 and was annexed to New Zealand in 1901. Although Niue forms part of the Cook Islands, because of its remoteness and cultural and linguistic differences it has been separately administered. Niue has an area of 258 sq km (100 sq mi). Its population (of Polynesian stock) was 2,134 in 2002, up slightly from 1,997 in 1993, but still below the peak of 5,194 in 1966. The population decline was principally due to emigration to New Zealand, where Niueans outnumber those remaining on the island by two to one.

Niue became self-governing on 19 October 1974, in free association with New Zealand. Under the constitution, the former leader of government became the premier. An assembly of 20 members is elected by universal suffrage; 14 members represent village constituencies, and 6 are elected at large. The constitution provides for New Zealand to exercise various responsibilities for the external affairs and defense of Niue and to furnish economic and administrative assistance.

Niue's soil, although fertile, is not plentiful; arable land is confined to small pockets of soil among the coral rocks, making agriculture difficult, although the economy is based mainly on agriculture. Since there are no running streams, the island is dependent on rainwater. Exports include canned coconut cream, copra, honey, vanilla, passion fruit products, pawpaws, root crops, limes, footballs, stamps, and handicrafts; in 1999 income from exports was $137,200. As of 2001, there were 234 km (146 mi) of road, 86 km (54 mi) of which are paved. A telephone system, with nearly 400 main lines as of the 1990s, connects the villages, and an airport became fully operational in 1971.

Budget deficits are met by the New Zealand government, which also makes grants for capital development. Health services and education are free. Education is compulsory for children 5 to 14 years of age.

Tokelau Islands

The Tokelau Islands, situated between 8° and 10°s and 171° and 173°w, about 483 km (300 mi) north of Western Samoa, consist of three atolls, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu. Total area is about 10 sq km (4 sq mi). Each atoll has a lagoon encircled by a number of reef-bound islets varying in length from about 90 m to 6.4 km (100 yards to 4 mi), in width from 90 m to 360 m (100400 yards), and extending more than 3 m (10 ft) above sea level. All villages are on the leeward side, close to passages through the reefs. Lying in the hurricane belt, the islands have a mean annual rainfall of 305 cm (120 in). The inhabitants, of Polynesian origin, are British subjects and New Zealand citizens. Total population in 2002 was estimated at 1,431, down from 1,760 in 1992. Formerly part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands group, the Tokelaus were transferred to New Zealand at the beginning of 1949. There is no resident European staff; executive functions are carried out on each atoll by appointed Tokelau mayors, magistrates, clerks, and other officials. An administrative officer based in Samoa coordinates administrative services for the islands. Samoan is the official language.

Subsistence farming and the production of copra for export are the main occupations. The total fish catch was 190 tons in 1994. Visits are made regularly by New Zealand Air Force planes, and a chartered vessel makes regular trading visits. Sources of revenue are an export duty on coconuts, copra, customs dues, postage stamps, and trading profits.

Government expenditure is devoted mainly to agriculture, the provision of social services, and administrative costs. Annual deficits are met by New Zealand government subsidies. New Zealand's annual budgetary aid was estimated at us$4 million in 2000. Nutrition and health are reasonably good.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency (between 160°e and 150°w and south of 60°s) is a section of the Antarctic continent that was brought under the jurisdiction of New Zealand in 1923. Its area is estimated at 414,400 sq km (160,000 sq mi). It is almost entirely covered by ice and is largely uninhabited. New Zealand activities in the dependency are coordinated and supervised by the Ross Dependency Research Committee (a government agency) and implemented by the Antarctic division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Exploitation of the region, apart from scientific expeditions, has been confined to whaling. A joint US-New Zealand scientific station established at Cape Hallett in 1957 for participation in the International Geophysical Year continues to operate for purposes of scientific research.


Belich, James. Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders, From Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

Chatham Islands: Heritage and Conservation. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press, 1996.

Craig, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002.

Gupta, S. M. The Indian Origin of New Zealand's Maori. New Delhi, India: Hindu World Publications, 1995.

International Smoking Statistics: A Collection of Historical Data from 30 Economically Developed Countries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Ip, Manying. Dragons on the Long White Cloud: The Making of Chinese New Zealanders. North Shore City, N.Z.: Tandem Press, 1996.

Jackson, Keith and Alan McRobie. Historical Dictionary of New Zealand. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2005.

Starzecka, D. C. (ed.). Maori Art and Culture. London, Eng.: British Museum Press, 1996.

The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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New Zealand

New Zealand

Basic Data
Official Country Name: New Zealand
Region: Oceania
Population: 3,819,762
Language(s): English, Maori
Literacy Rate: 99%
Academic Year: March-November
Number of Primary Schools: 2,296
Compulsory Schooling: 10 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 7.3%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 6,415
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 357,569
  Secondary: 433,347
  Higher: 169,656
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 99%
  Secondary: 114%
  Higher: 63%
Teachers: Primary: 19,523
  Secondary: 28,548
  Higher: 10,833
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 18:1
  Secondary: 16:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 99%
  Secondary: 117%
  Higher: 73%

History & Background

New Zealand is a European settler democracy in which the indigenous people comprises about 15 percent of the population. The education system is almost entirely English instructed and British derived. By the standards of the colonial civilization the education system has achieved some outstanding results in terms of the general level of education and the attainments of the educated elites who have included Nobel prize winners, innumerable eminent researchers and professors, and notable cultural and scientific savants among their ranks.

As New Zealand enters the postcolonial age in a globalized economy, this rather traditional educational structure has come under both cultural and financial strain. It may require substantial renovation before it can serve the nation into the twenty-first century as well as it did for most of the twentieth.

The territory of New Zealand comprises three major islandsSouth Island, North Island and Stewart Island in descending sizeand a number of smaller islands that stretch across the Southwest Pacific Ocean and 1,600 kilometers from north to south. The land mass is 268,000 square kilometers, which is 10 percent larger than the United Kingdom. It was formed geologically by a part of Gondwanaland breaking off and relocating at the collision fault of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. It is temperate, wet, and windy; much of its land is very fertile alluvial washed down from several of its volcanic and mountainous regions.

New Zealand was first settled by Polynesian maritime explorers, now known as Maori, about 1,000 years ago. They created a tribal based society of hunters, farmers, and fishermen. They knew some of the territory as Aotearoa.

Europeans started to visit the islands in the seventeenth century but only established regular contact in the late eighteenth century. By the early nineteenth century, Europeans were scattered throughout the islands as traders, whalers, sealers, miners, missionaries, and escapees from Britain's convict settlements nearby. They came to know the land by the term the Dutch had given it: New Zealand.

Conflict continued between the Europeans and Maori and within each community. It got worse with the rapid spread of European military technology. The British used the resulting threat of "anarchy" to advance their political and imperial control.

In 1840 the colony of New Zealand was established under the British Crown. At first it was briefly administered from Sydney, then it became a colony in its own right. Many of the Maori tribal chiefs acceded to this under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, which gave Britain sovereignty in exchange for the protection of certain Maori rights. The meaning of the terms of the Treaty signed in English and European-concocted, written Maori are still in dispute.

After 1840, European colonization, dominated by the British, and Scots among them, proceeded rapidly and a great deal of Maori land was relinquished under circumstances that varied from sale to annexation under force. Maori often resisted and were crushed, occasionally in organized warfare. The Maori population also declined both relatively and absolutely under the impact of disease and dispossession. It fell from perhaps 100,000 people in the early nineteenth centuryagainst 2,000 Europeansto 30,000 people by the onset of the twentieth century and remained concentrated in traditional marae, or villages.

The Europeans developed a colonial economy based on pastoral industry, particularly wool, and then mining, especially gold in the South Island. In the early twentieth century, European New Zealanders had probably the highest standard of living in the world based on exporting these primary products to Britain, to whom they had a strong political and emotional attachment. They also developed a democratic colonial state, which introduced female suffrage for the first time in the world in 1893. This state was used to regulate industry and develop an egalitarian social system. After 1935, this was extended by the Labor Party government to create the world's first and arguably most extensive welfare state. This included a very extensive system of education.

From the 1920s onwards the Maori moved into the European economy and its urban centers, until by the 1980s more than 80 percent of them were living in urban settlements. During the same time Polynesians from other Pacific countries migrated to New Zealand in increasing numbers. Since the 1980s many Asians have also moved to New Zealand, particularly in the first half of the 1990s, although the numbers have dropped off since then as a result of tighter restrictions and economic recession.

In 1973 the United Kingdom, still easily New Zealand's largest market, joined the European Community and under its common agricultural policy phased out privileged New Zealand access to the British market. The New Zealand economy has been in frequent recession and almost continuous relative decline since then but has tried to adjust to this by deregulating its economy. This philosophy of liberalization has been the main point of political contention during that time and has impacted education policies. In 2000 the GDP was slightly more than NZ$100 billion, or NZ$27,000 (US$13,700) per capita.

The population of New Zealand in 2001 is about 3.8 million people. Of these about 15 percent are classified as Maori, about 5 percent as other Pacific Islanders, and about 5 percent as Asian. Most of the rest are of British descent, with a few Dutch and Croatians. New Zealand has an active immigration policy but also a strong flow of emigration. During recent years about 70,000 people have left the country annually, about half directly to Australia with which New Zealand has agreements that permit a free flow of people. At the end of 2000, some 450,000 New Zealanders lived permanently in Australia. This outflow has been matched in most years by a larger flow of immigrants coming from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and various Asian and Pacific Island countries.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The constitutional and legal foundation of New Zealand is based on a number of documents and practices. These include: the British Act of Annexation; the Treaty of Waitangi, which limited and defined it; the granting of representative government in the 1850s; the Declaration of Dominion status in 1907; the ratification of the Statute of Westminster on 1946; the Bill of Rights; and a series of acts dealing with constitutional powers and procedures, including acts passed by the Labor Party in office that have reiterated and possibly expanded the Crown's obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. Taken together these form the basis of the New Zealand Constitution. These procedures are best described in the New Zealand Cabinet Manual.

The practice of the New Zealand Constitution in 2001 is dominated by the powers of the New Zealand Parliament in the capital Wellington. The system is essentially using the Westminster model, which comprises one House of Representatives (since 1950) elected every three years (since 1996) under a system of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representational voting. Maori have six separate seats. New Zealand is a functioning democracy with freedom of speech, assembly and organization, and universal adult suffrage. Literacy is almost universal among the European population (often called pakeha, the Maori term for stranger) and among most Maori groups.

Under the MMP system, which is modeled partly on the German system, a party gets seats in the 120-member Parliament in proportion to its popular vote. The liberalization of the welfare and interventionist state started under the Labor government, 1984-1990, and was continued under the following Nationals government, 1990-1999. In the November 1999 election the Labor Party won a plurality of seats that enabled it to form a social democratic type government in coalition with the more Left Wing Alliance and with occasional support from the Greens. As of 2001, the Prime Minister was Helen Clark (Labor) and the Education Ministers were Trevor Mallard and Steve Maharey (Associate Minister for Tertiary Education).

The administration of education in New Zealand is based on the Westminster system and is mostly by way of an elected Minister controlling a permanent bureaucracy according to the policies of the government of the day. These are in turn constrained by the established procedures of the system that may only change at some risk to its continuing efficiency.

In the New Zealand system the Parliament makes the law, provides the money, and expects accountability through ministers that itor more realistically the majority of its members acting as the governmentappoints. The Minister for education sets the policy direction and administers policy through agencies of the state. These include the Ministry of Education, which gives policy advice, implements policy, develops curriculum statements, allocates resources, and monitors effectiveness. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority administers qualifications and provides assurance about qualifications quality, overseas the examinations system and develops the National Qualification Framework. The Teachers Registration Board register teachers. The Education Review Board evaluates the performance of individual schools and reports publicly.

As in other areas, education policy is heavily influenced by the policy of the party in power. During the 1999 election campaign the Labor Party and its allies made a number of commitments to the education sector and its clients. The most important was the pledge to direct more resources to education workers, a key component of the Labor and Left constituency.

Tertiary education policy was particularly important for the 1999 election because of the number of tertiary students and their hostility to the policy under which they had to repay loans which they took from the state during their period of study. These averaged NZ$11,000 but were sometimes much more substantial and attracted interest at commercial rates while they were repaid. In 2000 the total student debt, counted as a state asset, was worth NZ$3.5 billion from 274,891 student-loan borrowers with debts ranging from NZ$6,000 to NZ$60,000. This was estimated to rise from NZ$4 billion in 2001 to NZ$15.5 billion in 2015. This provided some incentive to leave the country and the jurisdiction of loan recovery for debtors. In 2001 it was estimated that the student debt owed by graduates who had left New Zealand totaled NZ$175 million, a 30 percent increase in one year.

Although the previous Labor government had introduced the initial policy, Labor Opposition policy was designed to reform it, partly to win student votes. Its policy was both a "progressive" critique of existing policy and an ambit claim for the industry.

Some of the points outlined in the Labor policy are:

  1. The importance of higher, or tertiary, education and research
  2. The importance of investing in the enhancement of knowledge
  3. The importance of higher education as related to New Zealand's economy
  4. The importance of collaboration between tertiary institutions to better form a "knowledge based society"
  5. The establishment of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC)
  6. The ways in which Labor will continue funding for students and institutions
  7. The importance of new technology
  8. The necessity of examining and retooling current student loan practices
  9. The need to increase Maori participation in higher education
  10. The importance of equal access for all other groups to higher education
  11. The need to increase the foreign student population in tertiary institutions

The Labor document accurately summarizes the political and social ambitions of the present New Zealand government with respect to the tertiary education system. It promised more tertiary places, more equitably accessed, more commercially oriented but more cheaply funded.

The Educational SystemOverview

The education system of New Zealand was introduced by the British colonial authorities during the colonial period and remains essentially the same as that in the United Kingdom. It is based on universal primary and secondary education to the age of 15 and a more diverse system after that point involving the later years of secondary school. Universities were more elite institutions but are now much more widely accessible since their expansion in the last decade that involved increasing student numbers in existing universities and redesignating other tertiary institutions. They are supplemented by polytechnics and a range of vocational institutions. But it has been extensively modified by the sovereign New Zealand state. In particular, the education system has had to make special provision for the indigenous Maori population.

Maori Education: While most Maori students remain within the mainstream education system, there is now a strong demand for Maori language education. This growth has been stimulated by the revival of te reo Maori (the Maori language). The programs developed to preserve their language have given Maori the opportunity to design the kind of education they want, and one that meets the needs of both adults and children.

The revival began with the establishment of köhanga reo (Maori language early childhood centers) and continued with kura kaupapa Maori (Maori medium schools). Growing numbers of Maori students are also enrolled in bilingual and Maori language immersion classes in mainstream schools. Maori achievement has increased across the New Zealand education system in recent years, but it has not kept pace with that of other groups.

Statistics on the Maori population provide a valuable insight into the demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the country's first people. As New Zealand's indigenous ethnic group and a population undergoing considerable change in recent years, information on the status of Maori people is of great interest to the public and to policy-makers. Comparisons with non-Maori show differences in population structure, living arrangements, crime, life expectancy, educational achievement, employment patterns, and income levels. These differences, in particular some of the socioeconomic disparities between Maori and non-Maori, have led to policies that seek to address the disadvantages faced by Maori. Economic restructuring, welfare reforms, treaty settlements, economic development initiatives, and bicultural policies have all had significant effects on the demographic, social, and economic situation of Maori people.

Recent decades have seen rapid growth in the size of the Maori population. From less than 8 percent of the New Zealand population in 1956, the Maori ethnic group grew to 15 percent at the 1996 census. By the middle of this century the Maori ethnic group is projected to almost double in size to almost 1 million people and make up 22 percent of the total population. Among the factors contributing to this growth have been historically higher rates of fertility, a greater concentration of people in the reproductive age groups compared to the non-Maori population, and a growing willingness to identify as Maori. The Maori population has a young age structure and although it is expected to age over the next half century, it should remain relatively young compared to the non-Maori population.

Another distinguishing feature of the Maori population is its geographic distribution. From being a predominantly rural population prior to World War II, Maori are now almost as highly urbanized as non-Maori. Nevertheless, the importance of traditional iwi locations is reflected in their greater concentration in the Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne regions. Recent years have also seen increasing migration back to rural areas. The ethnic population distribution among the two main communities comprises European preponderance in the south that gets progressively more diluted as one moves north, until Maori dominate in Northland.

Patterns of family formation and the types of families and households in which Maori live differ from others, but trends in family formation for the Maori population reflect wider social trends among the population as a whole: Maori are less likely to marry and more likely to live in a de facto relationship than in the past, tend to have fewer children, and are more likely to live in sole-parent families than previously. At the same time, however, the living arrangements of Maori also reflect the traditional importance of the whanau, or extended family. Maori are considerably more likely than non-Maori to live in extended families, in households occupied by more than one family and in large households. Socioeconomic circumstances may possibly also be a factor encouraging shared living arrangements.

Education is an area in which there have been some significant initiatives in recent years to improve outcomes for Maori. Both participation and attainment by Maori in education have improved over the past decade, but disparities between Maori and non-Maori remain. Maori are more likely to attend early childhood education than in the past, with the growth of köhanga reo providing a major impetus in this area. They are also more likely than in the past to stay at school beyond the compulsory leaving age and more likely to leave with qualifications. There has also been considerable growth in the number of Maori enrolled in tertiary education and, consequently, an increase in the proportion of Maori with postschool qualifications. However, these changes have occurred within a context of increasing educational participation and attainment amongst the population as a whole, with the result that further improvements for Maori are needed if disparities in educational outcomes are to be reduced.

Educational outcomes have a major impact on employment opportunities. Historically Maori, by comparison with non-Maori, have had higher rates of unemployment and a greater concentration in lower skilled manual occupations in secondary industries. The economic changes since the early 1980s have had a significant effect on Maori employment with major job losses in sectors in which Maori were highly represented. Employment for both Maori men and Maori women fell markedly between 1986 and 1991. Subsequent recovery saw employment for Maori women reach higher levels in 1996 than a decade earlier, but Maori men remained less likely to be employed than in 1986. Unemployment rates for Maori mirrored this trend, rising markedly between 1986 and 1991 and falling between 1991 and 1996. Despite this fall, Maori were almost three times as likely as non-Maori to be unemployed in 1996. Job losses in traditional sectors of employment for Maori have been offset to some extent by new opportunities in other sectors. This is reflected in a fall in the proportion of Maori working in manufacturing industries and increases in service industries such as wholesaling, retailing, restaurants and hotels, as well as business and financial services. Occupational distribution has also changed, with a fall in the proportion employed as plant and machine operators and assemblers and an increase in the proportion employed as service and sales workers.

There has recently been some dispute about this interpretation of the figures. Some researchers have argued that ethnicity has not been a major determinant of income distribution. This has been hotly contested, however, and most academic research and government policy is based on the opposite interpretation.

Maori on average receive lower incomes than non-Maori. Median incomes for Maori fell as a proportion of non-Maori incomes between 1986 and 1991 and then increased again by 1996 but did not regain the level of a decade earlier. In part, the difference between Maori and non-Maori incomes reflects the greater concentration of Maori in low-paid occupations. However, comparisons within occupational groups show that Maori receive lower median incomes than non-Maori with similar occupations. Maori also receive lower median incomes than non-Maori with similar levels of education. The education system has an important role to play if these issues are to be adequately addressed.

Maori Teachers: An evaluation of Maori teacher supply initiatives was completed and a review of the current Maori and Maori medium teacher supply initiatives is underway. During the year 2000, TeachNZ scholarships, designed to attract increased numbers of Maori and Maori medium teachers, were awarded to 165 recipients.

Kura Kaupapa Maori & Other Secondary Education: Maori medium education in schools is rapidly expanding. In 1990 there were six officially designated kura kaupapa Maori catering for 190 students. In 1999 there were 59 kura kaupapa Maori. In 1999, a total of 396 schools other than kura kaupapa Maori were offering some form of Maori medium education. Maori enrollments at the senior secondary school level have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. In the tertiary sector in 1999, Maori were most likely to be enrolled in polytechnics, whereas non-Maori were most likely to be enrolled in university. A total of 27,837 Maori were enrolled in a formal program of tertiary education. Maori made up 9 percent of university students, 11.9 percent of college of education students, and 12.6 percent of all tertiary students.

There are three wänanga Maori (tertiary establishments): Te Wänanga o Aotearoa (Te Awamutu); Te Wänanga o Raukawa (Otaki); and Te Whare Wänanga a Awanuiarangi (Whakatane). All are state funded. In 1999 there were 1,735 Maori students enrolled at wänanga and 148 non-Maori. Government and iwi will assess the future development and growth of wänanga as a viable option for Maori participation in the tertiary sector.

Maori Language Education Resources: The government supports targeting funds to increase teacher training in the Maori language and to increase the supply of learning resources for Maori medium education. The Maori Language Education Plan (MLEP) is the educationfocused part of the government's Maori Language Strategy. There are five key areas in the MLEP designed to support Maori language education. These focus on raising the capacity of education providers to deliver high quality Maori language education. This will be done through the adequate and appropriate provision of resources for both mainstream and Maori medium schools, including the provision of skilled teachers, sufficient teaching and learning material, and new assessment tools.

Labor Education Policy in 1999: Once again, Labor represented and is now implementing the Left orthodox critique of the education system as it was evolving in the more liberal environment of the 1990s.

Labor policy for the 1999 election on schools said: Labor sees quality education as a basic right, which must be available to all children. If New Zealanders are better educated, the whole society will benefit, both socially and economically. National's market approach has meant some schools find it hard to attract quality teachers. Priority will be given to ensuring that all schools are staffed by quality teachers.

Labor will therefore improve preservice training and require ongoing professional development of teachers. It will also retain advisory and training services on a central basis, move to universal registration for all teaching staff in schools or early childhood education, and establish a staffing working party to develop a long-term staffing formula that gives proper consideration to schools' workload issues.

Labor argued that schools were increasingly being divided into winners and losers, with poorer communities being disadvantaged by that. Gaps were also widening between the achievement levels of school students. To offset this Labor would end bulk funding and reallocate the extra funds to schools through base grant, operational, and targeted funding increases. It would also introduce an annual inflation adjustment of operations grant funding, work with boards and staff organizations to develop a scheme to provide incentives for teachers to be seconded to "hard to staff" schools, and host a Hui Taumata to bring together Maori educators and community leaders to plan for long-term progress in Maori education.

Labor argued that there was a need to build capacity in technology and school buildings for the future. To achieve this Labor will ensure that teachers are trained in the use of information technology and will investigate bulk-buying options for hardware, software, and networking systems.

In particular Labor argued it would pursue a policy of "Closing the gaps." Whereas Labor determinedly pursued the Maori vote, and got it in 1999, it was widely assumed this referred to lifting Maori achievements to the same level as non-Maori. This was to become a controversial issue in late 2000.

When the coalition government came into power in December 1999, there were over 1 million people, 30 percent of the population, enrolled in the New Zealand education system. The number of students enrolled in formal education, grew from 1997 to 1999. In July 1997 there were 163,925 children in early childhood education, 712,276 students in the schools, and 252,034 in postsecondary education for a total of 1,128,235. In July 1998 there were 171,198 children in early childhood education, 724,579 students in the schools, and 256,123 in postsecondary education for a total of 1,151,900. In July 1999 there were 171,576 children in early childhood education, 727,396 students in the schools, and 253,043 in postsecondary education for a total of 1,152,051.

Types of Schooling:

Compulsory Schooling: At early levels, school attendance is considered compulsory. Primary schools represent the first level of compulsory schooling. They cater to children from the age of five years (Year 0) to the end of their sixth year of schooling (Standard 4). Children in their seventh and eighth years of schooling (Forms 1 and 2) may either be in a separate intermediate school or part of a primary, secondary, or composite/area school. Secondary schools usually provide for students from Year 9 (Form 3) until the end of Year 13 (Form 7). Area schools that are usually based in rural areas combine primary, intermediate, and secondary schooling at one location.

Choices in Schooling: State schools are coeducational at the primary and intermediate level, but some offer single-sex education at the secondary level. Some offer special programs for adult students or run community education classes. Although most students attend statefunded schools, there are a number of other choices for parents and students. Integrated schools are schools that were previously private and have now been integrated into the state system. They follow the state curriculum requirements but incorporate their own special character (generally a philosophical or religious belief) into the school program. Integrated schools receive the same government funding for each student as state schools, but the buildings and land are privately owned so the school meets the costs of property development and maintenance from attendance dues.

Kura kaupapa Maori (Maori medium schools) are state schools where teaching is in te reo Maori (the Maori language) and is based on Maori culture and values. The curriculum is the same as at other state schools, but was developed to build on the success of köhanga reo (Maori language early childhood centers) in preserving and increasing the use of te reo Maori. One of the key goals is to produce students who are competent in both Maori and English.

Independent (or private) schools are governed by their own independent boards but are required to meet certain standards in order to be registered. Independent schools may be either coeducational or single sex. They charge fees, but also receive some funding from the government based on the percentage of the average total cost of state schooling. Boarding schools may either be independent or part of a state-funded school; both charge boarding fees.

Te Kura-a-Tuhi (the Correspondence School) is funded by the Ministry of Education. It is a national distance-learning school administered by an elected board of trustees, composed of parents, community, and school representatives. Full-time students are enrolled for a variety of reasons, including distance from other schools, a wide range of special needs, medical and psychological problems, itinerancy, and suspension from other schools. The total school roll at 1 July 1999 was 19,278.

Home-based schooling is for parents who want to educate their children at home. They can do so provided they maintain a standard of education equivalent to that of a registered school. They need to get approval from the Ministry of Education and are given an annual grant to help with the cost of learning materials. Home-schooling parents may purchase teaching services from the correspondence school.

The Curriculum: New Zealand Curriculum Framework: A program of reform of the curriculum is continuing and The New Zealand Curriculum Framework provides the basis for programs in schools. It sets out the principles that underpin and give direction to all teaching and learning in New Zealand schools as well as the essential skills to be developed at each stage. It also outlines the policy direction for assessment at school and national levels. The New Zealand Curriculum Framework is the foundation policy statement covering teaching, learning, and assessment for all students in all New Zealand schools.

The Principles: The Framework establishes and identifies the principles for all learning and teaching programs in New Zealand schools. The principles are based on the premise that the individual student is at the center of all teaching and learning.

The Essential Learning Areas: The Framework identifies seven essential learning areas. These are broad, recognizable categories of knowledge and understanding. They constitute a balanced curriculum within which the essential skills, attitudes, and values are developed. The Framework defines eight groups of essential skills. All students need to develop these skills to enable them to reach their full potential and take a full part in society. Students will develop the essential skills through a range of learning experiences across the whole curriculum. It outlines some of the attitudes and values that are an integral part of the school curriculum. The school curriculum will encourage positive attitudes towards learning. It will help students to develop and clarify their own attitudes, values, and beliefs while respecting those of others.

The Framework sets out the policies and procedures for assessment in all New Zealand schools. The national curriculum statements provide clear learning outcomes against which students' progress can be measured. The purpose of assessment is to assist with planning the next step of learning for students, reporting to parents, and planning for the most effective use of resources.

National Qualifications at Secondary Schools: Under the present system, secondary school students may take the national examinations as outlined below. From 2001, all New Zealand students at year 11 (Form 5) will work towards a National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in place of School Certificate. In 2002 and 2003, levels 2 (Form 6) and 3 (Form 7) will be phased in to replace sixth form and university bursaries. NCEA will include a wider range of subjects and skills not previously examined under the School Certificate, university bursaries, and scholarship qualifications. It will also allow for recognition of a broader range of student achievements.

School Certificate: This examination is taken by most students at the end of three years of secondary education (fifth Form or Year 11). Except for part-time students, each candidate's course of study must include English, although the student is not required to sit the examination in that subject. A student may enter the examination in a number of subjects (up to six) and is credited with a grade in each subject. There are five grades: A, B, C, D, and E.

Sixth Form Certificate: This certificate is awarded on a single-subject basis to Sixth Form (Year 12) students who have satisfactorily completed a course of one year in one or more subjects. Most students take five or six subjects. All candidates must study a course of English, although, as with the School Certificate, they do not have to take it as a Sixth Form Certificate subject. Grades are awarded on a 1 to 9 scale, grade 1 being the highest. Candidates are assessed internally but grade allocations are moderated externally.

Higher School Certificate: The higher School Certificate is awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed five years of full-time secondary schooling beginning at Form 3. At least three subjects must be studied at a level above Sixth Form Certificate. It is a course completion qualification and grades or marks are not awarded.

University Entrance, Bursary, & Scholarship Examinations: Entrance to university is achieved by gaining a Higher School Certificate with three C grades or better. B bursaries are awarded if the total marks are between 250 and 299, and an A bursary is awarded if the total marks are 300 or more. Scholarships are awarded for high performance in individual subjects and there are also top scholar awards. Small cash payments are made to those gaining bursaries and scholarships.

Between 1980 and 1998, the highest attainment of secondary school leavers improved considerably. In 1980, some 33 percent received no formal qualification, 23 percent got a school certificate, 13 percent a sixth form certificate, 16 percent university entrance, and 15 percent a seventh form award. In 1998: 18 percent got no formal qualification, 16 percent a school certificate, 23 percent sixth form certificate, 13 percent higher school certificate, 9 percent university entrance, and 20 percent a university bursary.

Preprimary & Primary Education

In July 1998, of children attending early childhood education, 40 percent were in licensed childcare centers, 9.5 percent in playcenters, 6.9 percent in Te Köhanga, 9.9 percent in ECDU funded playgroups, 5 percent in home-based childcare, 1.7 percent in ECDU funded Pacific Islands Language Nests, and 26.9 percent in kindergartens. Descriptions of these preprimary and primary education programs follow:

Early Childhood, Primary, & Secondary Education: Early childhood education is not compulsory. It is available to children under 6 years of age through a wide range of services. Many services are administered by voluntary agencies with government assistance. The Education Act of 1989 provides for free education in state schools between the ages of 5 and 19, and attendance is compulsory between 6 and 16 years. The majority of children start formal schooling at the age of five.

The main providers of early childhood education are kindergartens, playcenters, Pacific Islands language groups, education and care services, home-based care services, and köhanga reo. Early childhood education programs are, on the whole, developmental and based in learning through play. All early childhood services wishing to receive government funding must be licensed and chartered. Licensing ensures that basic standards of quality are maintained. A charter sets out both mandatory and optional objectives and practices. Chartered groups receive funding direct from government in the form of a bulk grant.

Kindergartens predominantly operate early childhood education for children between the ages of 3 and 5. In general, younger children attend afternoon sessions for three afternoons a week, while the older age group attend five mornings a week. Play centers are parent cooperatives where parents take responsibility for the management and supervision of sessions. Children attending play center range in age from birth to school age.

Te Köhanga Reo: Köhanga reo are sessional or all-day Maori language immersion early childhood institutions. Their prime aim is the maintenance of the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori. The centers are community based and are administered by local management groups affiliated with the Te Köhanga Reo National Trust.

Pacific Islands Language Groups: Pacific Islands language centers offer programs based on the values and languages of Pacific Islands cultures. They range from license-exempt family playgroups, meeting once or twice a week, to licensed and chartered centers. These programs emphasize language development, both in Pacific Islands languages and English, and increasing parental knowledge in early childhood care and education.

Anau Ako Pasifika: Early Childhood Development is the grant holder on behalf of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation for the Anau Ako Pasifika Project, a home-based program in early childhood care and education for Pacific Islands communities. It is based in Auckland, Tokoroa, and Wellington.

Education & Care Centers: Education and care centers provide sessional, all-day, or flexible-hours early childhood education services other than play centers, kindergartens, or köhanga reo. Each center is autonomous and many are privately owned. Another type of early care is home-based care (family day care), an organized system whereby parents of young children or babies are linked to caregivers, who are often themselves parents of young children. Playgroups are license-exempt, communitybased, nonprofit-making groups of parents who meet to provide early childhood education for their children. Finally, there is the Parents as First Teachers program, which is based on programs developed in the United States by the Missouri State Department of Education. In the program, there is a series of regular home visits by early childhood educators to parents with children; visits occur from birth to three years of age.

Secondary Education

National Vocational Qualifications: New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has responsibility for advanced vocational awards qualifications, and trade certificate and advanced trade certificate qualifications; the New Zealand Diploma in Business; and New Zealand diploma qualifications. Many industries have moved to National Certificates and National Diplomas registered on the National Qualifications Framework. National certificates and national diplomas generally are developed by industry training organizations or other standards-setting bodies.

There is a wide range of other vocational qualifications. These include qualifications developed and administered by polytechnics and other tertiary training providers, national bodies such as the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Air Force, and private training providers.

The National Qualifications Framework: The National Qualifications Framework brings together senior secondary education, industry training, and tertiary education under one system. It is coordinated and administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). The framework is based on nationally agreed "unit standards." These standards are like building blocks towards a qualification. Each standard belongs to one of eight framework levels. Level 1 is comparable to entry-level learning (Year 11) while Level 8 is comparable to postgraduate degree learning.

The National Qualifications Framework has three types of qualifications: national certificates, national diplomas, and degrees. National certificates are generally earned at Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the framework. National diplomas and degrees are generally earned at Levels 5, 6, and 7. Level 8 qualifications are regarded as postgraduate degrees. The framework means learners can continue their studies wherever they wishat school, university, polytechnic, a private or government training establishment, wänanga, or even in the workplace. Up to 1 September 1999, 450,000 learners had been registered on the framework. There were 620 national qualifications registered, and 27,250 individual qualifications awarded.

To administer the National Framework and to ensure that it succeeds, the NZQA provides the following services:

  • Framework registration. NZQA quality assures unit standards, National Certificates, and National Diplomas that have been developed by Industry Training Organizations (ITOs) and other national standards setting bodies.
  • Moderation. National moderation systems ensure that assessment decisions made across all accredited providers are consistent. Where there is an ITO, the moderation system is run by the ITO. NZQA runs other moderation systems, including moderation for general education subjects (mostly offered in schools).
  • Accreditation. Schools, polytechnics, wänanga, colleges of education, universities and government and private training establishments can be accreditedthey are entitled to assess against unit standards and award credits towards National Certificates and National Diplomas. Most ITOs are accredited to register workplace assessors. To be accredited any organization must meet stringent quality requirements.
  • Record of learning. Every learner being assessed for Framework qualifications receives a Record of Learning. This lists all unit standard credits, National Certificates and National Diplomas achieved in the previous year. Learners can accumulate Framework credits over a number of years and from many providers until they have completed a qualification.

The NZQA: The New Zealand Qualifications Authority was established to coordinate national qualifications. It took over the functions of several agencies that had run schools, trades, and vocational examinations. It also assumed new responsibilities, notably to develop a national qualifications framework and to approve nonuniversity degrees. The Qualifications Authority deals with the provision and quality of qualifications; it does not write the curriculum and it does not provide funds for education and training. The NZQA is a Crown Entity established under the Education Act of 1989. The authority is appointed by the Minister of Education, and is accountable through the Minister to Parliament. The Maorion of the Qualifications Authority is to promote improvement in the quality of education in New Zealand through the development and maintenance of a comprehensive, accessible and flexible National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

NZQA Board and Management: The NZQA is headed by a board appointed by the Minister of Education. The board represents industry, community, and education interests. The minister approves all policy matters related to schools. NZQA services are varied. It oversees national examinations, including School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate, Higher School Certificate, and University Entrance, Bursaries, and Scholarships. Examination prescriptions are based on curriculum statements developed by the Ministry of Education. NZQA administers regulations, conducts examinations, and issues results and certificates. There are 34 School Certificate subjects, 30 Bursaries subjects, 28 national Sixth Form Certificate(SFC) courses, and hundreds of local SFC courses. In total, NZQA deals with 130,000 subject entries and issues 500,000 results annually.

The NZQA also oversees trades and vocational examinations, including business studies. Learning takes place in polytechnics, other education providers, and the workplace. In consultation with these providers and industry, NZQA develops prescriptions, conducts examinations, and issues results and certificates. Most industries have moved to National Certificates and National Diplomas on the National Qualifications Framework.

To keep pace with global developments, the NZQA provides a service that compares overseas qualifications with New Zealand qualifications and may give exemptions towards technical qualifications. This is a cost-recovery service in which individuals, generally people migrating to New Zealand, deal directly with the authority.

Registration and accreditation provides the public with an assurance of quality in programs leading to qualifications. The authority deals with the registration of government and private training establishments (of which there are approximately 800). For these providers, the authority approves and accredits thousands of local courses and qualifications. The authority has approved almost 200 degrees outside of universitiesin polytechnics, colleges of education, wänanga and private training establishments. NZQA also accredits organizations for the National Qualifications Framework.

Maori: The Qualifications Authority is committed to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Today the Treaty has become the basis for negotiations between government representatives and Maori. The authority has a team called Te Tari o Te Pou (the Office of Te Pou) that is dedicated to dealing with Maori issues. All Maori staff are part of the NZQA Maori network. The Network meets monthly and provides a chance to raise Maori issues across the Authority. A main priority for the Network is also professional development. A Responsiveness to Maori Management plan gives all staff opportunities to learn about Maori language, culture and values within the context of the Authority.

Special Education: The special education policy provides: extra assistance; adapted programs or learning environments; and specialized equipment or materials to support young children and school students to access the New Zealand Curriculum Framework. Historically young children and school students with special education needs have not had equal access to funding or quality education services throughout New Zealand. To address this, in 1996 the government introduced Special Education 2000. Special Education 2000 addresses specific physical, intellectual, sensory, social, and emotional needs while preserving the parent or caregiver's right to choose. The policy insists that schools and early childhood centers work closely with students and their families, communities, and specialists to identify needs and together make the best decisions to meet those needs.

He Tohu Ümanga Mätauranga (Specialist Education Services): Specialist Education Services (SES) is a Crown entity working with children and young people who have complex individual needs, their families, schools and early childhood centers. SES staff include speech-language therapists, special education advisers, advisers on deaf children, registered psychologists, kaitakawaenga, early intervention teachers, and education support workers. The staff work in teams to meet individual needs of students. Families, early childhood centers, and schools are included as part of the team around the child. SES is contracted by the Ministry of Education to provide services to schools. It also provides a range of additional programs and services which schools, early childhood centers, and other clients can purchase directly. SES was set up in 1989 to deliver services to children and young people with special education needs. Since that time services have changed substantially and today SES works largely with children and young people with high support needs. Work with students with moderate needs is on a cost recovery basis. SES has a national office in Wellington and 15 Area offices, each with a manager and service leaders who take responsibility for each of the four strands.

International Students: Overseas students can get information about fees, courses of study in New Zealand, and academic entry requirements from the New Zealand Government Office in their home country or by writing directly to the school they wish to attend. A student visa is required for any course of study longer than 28 days. International students are not entitled to student loans or student allowances. Overseas students need a written guarantee of suitable accommodation and must also be able to show that they have enough funds to support them during their stay in New Zealand.

Additional Resources for Teaching: The Rural Education Activities Program (REAP) is a communitymanaged package of education resources based in a number of rural communities from the Far North to Southland. REAP provides programs and assistance of a supplementary and complementary educational nature across early childhood, primary, secondary, and community education.

Information studies and teacher librarianship is a three-year part-time program offered through the six colleges of education. Trained teacher librarians manage school library resource centers.

Advisory services are routinely provided to educators. Primary and secondary advisers are employed by colleges of education. They provide advice and guidance to schools and run professional development programs for teachers throughout the country. Particular emphasis is given to assisting schools to achieve local and national educational objectives. The Early Childhood Development and Specialist Education Services also provide specialist assistance and advice.

Higher Education

There is an extensive system of postcompulsory education and training. This includes universities, polytechnics, teacher training, and various private education institutions.

Universities: There are eight universities in New Zealand. They are the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, the University of Waikato, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and the University of Otago. All universities offer courses in the usual faculties of arts, science, and commerce. Most universities specialize in certain fields. The two most prestigious universities with faculties including law and medicine are Otago and Auckland, situated at opposite ends of the country. Both have substantial international reputations and win the lion's share of competitive research funding.

New Zealand's oldest University, The University of Otago, was founded in 1869 by the early Scots settlers in Otago after gold had made the Wakefield settlement old enough to support one. It was later merged into the University of New Zealand until it became once again independent in 1960. Its campus is situated in Dunedin, a city offering the best of both worlds to 18,000 students. It has the facilities, entertainment, and variety of larger cities, with a wide range of social, cultural and sporting activities.

New Zealand's largest university, the University of Auckland, was established in 1883, and has grown into an international center of learning and academic excellence. The university is situated in the heart of the cosmopolitan city of Auckland and provides for 26,000 students.

Student Support: The student services section of the Department of Work and Income provides a range of allowances for students 18 years and over who are attending a secondary school or tertiary institution. Students may also qualify for an accommodation benefit, if they are receiving a targeted student allowance. Rates of allowances are changed annually and are subject to review. The Student Loan Scheme was established in 1992 to assist students to participate in tertiary education and eligible students may receive a loan from the government to cover fees; course-related costsa maximum of NZ$1,000 a year is available to assist with course-related costs such as equipment, textbooks, field trips; and living costsNZ$150 per week times the length of the course (less any entitlement to student allowances).

Students with student loans have to provide receipts for actual course costs incurred before the student is repaid. Loans, on which interest will be charged, are repayable through the Inland Revenue Department. The government reviews the interest rate yearly and the level of repayments is based on taxable income. The Department of Work and Income is responsible for administering the student loan scheme. The loans scheme was a major issue at the 1999 elections.

Polytechnics: Polytechnics provide a diverse range of academic, vocational, and professional programs and cover an increasing number of subjects at various levels of specialization. There are 23 polytechnics in New Zealand.

He Wharekura-tini Kaihautu o Aotearoa (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand) is one of New Zealand's largest education providers with 29,050 students enrolled in 1999. Nearly 75 percent of students are in paid employment and are studying part time. Many study by correspondence. The Open Polytechnic offers more than 700 courses and 120 programs ranging from National Certificate through to degree level. It consults closely with industry to ensure that qualifications are directly related to the requirements of the workplace.

Teacher Education Providers: In recent years teacher training has been offered by a range of universities, polytechnics, and private training establishments. This has increased the number of places throughout the country where training can be accessed. For example, primary teacher training is now available in places such as Rotorua and Northland. Secondary teacher training is now available in Tauranga, Gisborne, and Wairarapa. Previously people interested in becoming teachers would have had to go to the main cities to train.

All teacher education programs must go through a quality assurance process and must have the approval of the Teacher Registration Board. There is an official list of institutions that are approved by the Teacher Registration Board to offer teaching qualifications as of 30 October 2000. Several of these institutions offer off-site programs in smaller centers when there are enough students, and some offer programs through distance technology.

Numerous Programs Available: There are several different teacher education courses and programs to choose from. Among the more popular is a three-year training program for early childhood workers and teachers that is operated at each of the colleges of education. For those who wish to go into primary school teaching, the usual course of training is a period of three years at a teacher training provider, followed by two years of satisfactory teaching in a state primary school. Courses may be shortened to one or two years for trainees who are university graduates or who are part way through degree courses, or for mature trainees with relevant work experience. Most primary trainees undertake a bachelor of education qualification or enter a program where previous completion of a degree is a prerequisite.

Two options are available to people who wish to train as secondary teachers. For graduates and those with other approved advanced qualifications there is a one-year course. People with University Entrance or acceptable Sixth Form Certificate grades may be accepted into division B, which involves up to four years consecutive or concurrent study. Secondary teacher training can be undertaken at a variety of institutions.

People who wish to become speech/language therapists enroll for afour-year bachelor of education (Speech-Language Therapy) degree at the University of Canterbury. Postgraduate courses for teachers who wish to be trained as teachers of people with disabilities are available at Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch. Specialist postgraduate training courses for teachers of the deaf and visually impaired are located at Auckland and Christchurch.

Continuing Education for Teachers: A wide range of professional education papers are offered to teachers, most of them intended to provide credits towards diploma qualifications and service increments for certified teachers. Wänanga (Maori tertiary institutions) provide tertiary education and training, while assisting the application of knowledge regarding ahuatanga Maori (Maori tradition) in accordance with tikanga Maori (Maori custom). Two wänanga qualified for funding on the same basis as universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education from 1994, and are governed in the same way as other tertiary institutions.

There are large numbers of private training establishments (PTEs) in New Zealand, of which about 800 are registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). PTEs that enroll foreign students are required by law to have course approval and accreditation from the NZQA. The legislation provides protection for foreign students who pay tuition fees in advance. PTEs offer a wide range of courses, often in niche markets.

Other Tertiary Education Providers: There are a number of other tertiary education providers. Included in this group are national organizations such as Literacy Aotearoa, the Workplace Education Trust, three national early childhood preservice teacher education providers, and the National Association of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Home Tutor Schemes. These other tertiary education providers receive an annual grant for the academic year and must conform to similar standards of accountability and financial viability as do private training establishments and tertiary education institutes.

Continuing Education: Continuing education for adults is widespread in New Zealand. The National Resource Center for Adult Education and Community Learning is a resource center for people and groups involved in adult and community learning. Community Learning Aotearoa New Zealand (CLANZ) gives recommendations on the dispersal of grants to community groups for nonformal adult learning projects. Many voluntary organizations make some provision for continuing education. Some organizations, such as the New Zealand Workers' Educational Association, have community education as their primary purpose.

All eight universities have centers for continuing education. Most offer the general public substantial continuing education programs in the liberal studies area. There has been, however, a significant increase in programs designed for specialist groups, especially occupational. Some of these are national in scope. At the local level, school community education programs provide educational opportunities for adults residing within a particular school community. Polytechnics provide a range of community education courses and programs for adults both on campus and through outposts.

Distance Education: The main agencies in the field of distance education are the Correspondence School, the Center for University Extramural Studies of Massey University, and The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Te Tähuhu o te Mätauranga (The Ministry of Education): The ministry's mission is to raise achievement and reduce disparity in education. It is responsible for providing policy advice to the Minister of Education on all aspects of education, overseeing the implementation of approved policies, developing national guidelines, and ensuring the optimum use of resources. The ministry provides funding to early childhood centers and schools, negotiates levels of funding for tertiary institutions and wänanga, and ensures accountability for resources. It also administers legislation, manages education property owned by the Crown, conducts research, and collects education statistics. The ministry ensures the delivery of education advisory services, special education services, curriculum, and early childhood development through contractual arrangements with other agencies. The ministry's influence on education outcomes is indirect. It is not a provider of education.

Its purpose reflects this: Te Ihi, Te Mana, Te Mätauranga (Empowering Education). The ministry says:

Education enables people to gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes so they can participate fully, socially and economically, in the community. Our role is facilitative rather than directive. We empower through our leadership, management of the infrastructure, problem-solving ability, and assistance of those at risk of underachievement. What we do influences the motivation and focus of the sector. We need to work with parents, teachers, and education managers to encourage, support, and enable them to use their energy, motivation, and skill to greatest benefit. We need to foster a policy environment that enables educators to operate effectively and students to participate and achieve. We need to ensure we are creating a system that can respond quickly and effectively to wider social and economic impacts and the needs of different communities, society, and employers.

The 2000-2001 Year in Education: The ministry reported that:

The past few years have seen a significant shift in the thinking and approach of the Ministry of Education. The focus is now on educational achievement. This is reflected in work on literacy, numeracy, assessment, information and communication technologies (ICT), school support, Maori education, and teacher professional development. For a number of learners, influences in the wider family and community environment act as barriers to their education. We address and reduce these factors through working closely with health, social policy, and community agencies and through building up the capability of families and communities to support the education of their children.

The shift toward a focus on educational achievement is also mentioned in the ministry's mission statement, which discusses all aspects of the changing attitude.

New Focus on Achievement: This sees a continuation of initiatives that commenced in recent years and the instigation of new government initiatives. Work under each of the mission statement headings contributes to the other, and it is important that such linkages are explicitly recognized. The government's priority to "close the gap" is a major focus for the ministry's work. Lifting both the achievement and participation of a significant number of participants from Maori communities and Pacific families is a priority.

Work continues on a range of initiatives to ensure all children have the opportunity to acquire the literacy and numeracy foundations that are essential to their ongoing education. One part of the plan to improve in those areas is to develop the capability within schools and classrooms to implement the most effective approaches for teaching students most at risk of not succeeding. Measures include developing a wider range of diagnostic tools and exemplars of effective teaching and assessment practice. A focus on the teaching strategies of schools and the professional development of their staff will continue to be important dimensions of the major strengthening education initiatives.

Another key initiative is to lift the participation of Maori, Pacific, and low-income families in high-quality early childhood education services to at least the level of the general population. The government has sought advice on additional measures and steps that are needed to achieve this goal. Areas that have been identified include improving the availability of early childhood services, increasing the professional capability of these services, and reducing the barriers created by language difficulties, lack of transport, transience, and parenting skills. Facilitating and supporting communities to develop the services that work best for them is another increasingly important role we look to play.

The ministry knows that families play an important part in any attempt to improve education. Strengthening the role of families and communities in the learning process, including developing genuine partnerships between the government, providers, and communities, is a key goal to help lift student achievement. An example of areas of work where this is important include the effort to strengthen education initiatives in disadvantaged areas such as Mangere and Otara, the East Coast, Northland, and Tuhoe and with AIMHI and Maori boarding schools.

The ministry knows that reaching young students will be easier if it can lift the foundation skills of adults and improve the pathways into tertiary education for those with few skills and low qualification levels. The work on industry training, adult education, adult literacy, community education, and parenting programs is designed to raise the skills of adults and, where possible, to also provide support for the education of children and strengthen the relationship between communities and education providers.

Success at all levels is important, so raising achievement levels for all learners is vital. To be a knowledge society, New Zealand has to better foster people's ability and willingness to learn skills in communication, numeracy, information, problem solving, and social and cooperative behavior, across a range of learning areas. Skill development starts in the earliest stages of life and continues through into adulthood. Increased diversity in our population, changing social and economic circumstances, and the impact on New Zealand of technology and globalization are placing increasing demands on the education system. Good quality early childhood education plays an important role in setting the foundations for successful transition to school. In the school, setting the national curriculum establishes expectations about learning outcomes as students progress.

Promoting Excellence Within the Education System: The ministry hopes to encourage early childhood education providers to raise their quality. Work will focus on the development of an early childhood sector plan and the proposed registration of early childhood teachers. Research will be on the best use of Te Whariki, professional development, and professional practice within the sector.

To improve the students, the ministry knows it must improve the effectiveness of teachers in subject knowledge, pedagogy, and assessment practices. The establishment of an education council and reviews of staffing will be significant areas of policy work. The demand for quality Maori immersion education continues to grow. The continued development of the Maori language education plan, increasing the supply of qualified Maori teachers, increasing the language proficiency of those teachers, creating more curriculum resources, reducing the workload of Maori teachers, and ensuring new kura kaupapa Maori and new wharekura are established with the necessary requisites for success will continue as areas of major focus. The National Administrative Guidelines now require schools to have explicit strategies to ensure the educational success of Maori students.

The implementation of the Samoan and Cook Island Language Curriculum will go some way to meeting the needs of those Pacific students whose families want their children to be proficient in the language of their culture. Increasing the supply of Pacific teachers will remain a priority, as will improving the responsiveness of mainstream schools to the needs of Pacific students.

Logically, if students and teachers are being asked to improve, administrators should also be expected to improve. The ministry hopes to support and develop the leadership capability of school boards and principals. The leadership capability of the principal and the board of trustees is of critical importance to a school's success and needs to be supported along with that of teachers through a range of interventions.

To have the largest possible impact nationwide, the ministry intends to maximize the contribution of the tertiary sector to New Zealand's social and economic well being. The expansion of employment-based education, including the development of modern apprenticeships, the establishment of a Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), review of tertiary resourcing including student loans, development of a Maori tertiary education strategy, and the Pacific Islands Tertiary Initiative will be important areas of work.

Finally, the ministry will look internally at ways to enhance its own capabilities. By improving the its responsiveness to Maori, the ministry shifted skills away from those that looked to control and instruct toward those that sought to recognize the importance of strong relationships, facilitate change, and nurture the ability to monitor and assess educational achievement at a range of levels across the system.

For 2000-2001, five areas have been identified as priorities for educational administration. They build on the initiatives that were introduced as part of the Ministry's Strategic Business Plan adopted in 1998-1999:

  • Building on the investment in human resources systems by focusing on management training and developing organizational capability.
  • Developing strong and effective relationships to support the process of change in the education sector.
  • Continuing to increase the responsiveness of the Ministry and its staff to Maori.
  • Developing stronger and more effective planning and management information systems.
  • Improving business and information systems.

The new coalition government's priorities represent a significant focus in the work across the Ministry:

  • A return to central resourcing of all schools and equity funding of early childhood education providers will require change in resourcing systems.
  • Ministry will be involved in the negotiation of more collective employment contracts in the school and kindergarten systems.
  • Legislation has been introduced to amend enrollment schemes.

Teacher supply in the secondary sector and particularly in disciplines such as math, science, Te Reo Maori, and computing will require close attention and monitoring as secondary school rolls continue to grow.

Three other key government goals are:

  • Strengthen national identity and uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Grow an inclusive, innovative economy for the benefit of all.
  • Restore trust in government and provide strong social services.

Although these may appear to be little more than slogans, they have attracted considerable criticism when their implementation has been pursued. Closing the gaps, for example was modified in late 2000 to incorporate all sectors of the population and not just Maori.

Ministry of Education Overview: The Ministry reports that:

It is vital to the well-being of New Zealand and its people to have an effective education system. Educational achievement levels of all students must rise over time. The significant disparity in the educational achievement of some groups in our community must be reduced. The quality of the education system must continually evolve and improve. Since it was established in 1989, the Ministry has seen far-reaching changes that have had an impact across the education community. Shifts in population, increasing ethnic diversity, a wider range of socioeconomic circumstances, advances in technology, and changes in the global market will continue to be important themes.

The Ministry of Education's influence on education outcomes rests on the quality of policy advice, its implementation, services, and relationships with communities and education providers. We have an important responsibility to use our skills, knowledge, and experience to empower those in the sector to provide effective education. We need to work in partnership with and to apply the talent, skills, and enthusiasm of all those involved in educationstudents, parents, whänau, teachers, and managers. Jointly our efforts must focus on reducing disparity and raising achievement.

Strengthening the Ministry's capability and effectiveness will remain a key priority over the next three years. We need to keep changing and become better at anticipating and adapting to changes in the wider environment. The Ministry needs to work within a clear, long-term, strategic context. The whole range of its responsibilities, including policy advice and implementation, need to be well integrated. We need strong, productive relationships with the education sector, and more effective policies for Maori in education and for the educational attainment of Pacific Islands peoples.

The educational administrative bodies are as follows:

Mana Tohu Matauranga o Aotearoa (New Zealand Qualifications Authority): The Qualifications Authority, a Crown-owned agency, is an independent body that reports directly to the Minister of Education. Its main functions are to develop and maintain a comprehensive, flexible, and accessible National Qualifications Framework; oversee the setting of standards for qualifications; ensure New Zealand qualifications are recognized overseas, and overseas qualifications are recognized in New Zealand; and administer national examinations, both secondary and tertiary.

Te Tari Arotake Mätauranga (Education Review Office): The Education Review Office (ERO) reports publicly on the quality of education in all New Zealand schools and early childhood centers. This involves reviewing and evaluating all aspects of school and early childhood services including the quality of teaching, the quality of students' learning, and the role of management and elected school trustees.

Te Pou Taki Körero (Learning Media): Learning Media is an educational publishing company that specializes in producing programs and resources in a wide range of media for teachers and children, including the "School Journal." In addition to producing educational materials in print and on audio and video cassettes, the Crownowned company makes information and resources available online and on CD-ROM.

Te Poari Kairëhita Kaiako (Teacher Registration Board): The Teacher Registration Board is a Crown entity that maintains a register of teachers who fit the requirements of the Education Act. Teachers are issued with a practicing certificate valid for three years. Teacher registration is compulsory for teachers employed in all kindergartens, private, and state schools. Teachers who do not meet registration requirements can be temporarily employed with a limited authority to teach, which must be renewed annually.

Boards of Trustees, Councils, & Service Centers: Boards of trustees govern all state primary and secondary schools in New Zealand. Board members are elected by the parents of students enrolled at the school and may include three to seven parent representatives, the principal of the school, and a staff representative. One student enrolled full time in a class above Year 9 (Form 3) may also be elected to a board as a student representative. Boards may co-opt additional members, to ensure, for instance, that there is a gender balance and that the board reflects the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the student body of the school. Each board of trustees has a large measure of autonomy in its control of the management of its school. It has responsibility for payment of ancillary staff salaries, salaries of designated management positions in schools, and for the allocation of funds for the operational activities of the school. Boards of trustees are required to present an annual report and statement of service performance to their community and the Ministry of Education.

In addition to the boards, there are councilspolytechnics, universities, and colleges of education are all managed by councils made up of members representing various interest groups. Another functional group is the education service centers, which offer services such as administration of school transport, payroll, property, and other administration services to schools.

Pükenga Aotearoa (Skill New Zealand): Skill New Zealand is a Crown entity governed by a board appointed by the Ministry of Education. Skill New Zealand is the business name for the organization, which, until recently, has been known by its official name of the Education and Training Support Agency. Skill New Zealand promotes lifelong learning and works to raise the skill levels of all New Zealanders. It is responsible for a number of training initiatives: industry training, youth training, training opportunities, te Ararau, takiala, and commissioned youth action training.

Skill New Zealand oversees a range of initiatives designed to build a highly skilled and adaptable workforce. Their aim is to contribute to New Zealand's competitive advantage in the global market. It prepares school leavers to start their working lives, assists unemployed people to reenter the workforce, and facilitates training to raise the skills of people currently in employment. It has a national Office in Wellington and a network of regional offices to assist learners and industry around the country. It often purchases training on behalf of government, and works closely with the Department of Work and Income, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Maori Development, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Work-bridge, the Department of Labor, and senior schools. The aim is to empower local communities to respond quickly to the education and training needs of their learners and employers.

This practical focus is underpinned by ongoing research into adult education and learning. This enables Skill New Zealand to provide strategic leadership and promote best practice in key education and training issues. Skill New Zealand supports workplace learning that raises skills and boosts competitive advantage for business. Its aim is to improve access to structured training in the workplace throughout people's working lives and purchase training in most areas of industry through Industry Training Organizations. Skill New Zealand also administers the new Modern Apprenticeships scheme.

The group also tries to achieve quality education and training outcomes for Maori learners in a variety of ways, including initiatives developed and run by Maori providers and organizations. In purchasing education and training for Maori, Skill New Zealand places great emphasis on creating learning environments that recognize Maori needs and integrate Maori capability skills, such as Te Reo, Tikanga, and Te Mana Tangata.

Te Rünanga o Aotearoa mö te Rangahau i te Mätauranga (New Zealand Council for Educational Research): This is an autonomous body with statutory recognition, the council conducts educational research projects. The mission of NZCER is to support educators through quality research, resources, and information. NZCER is a not-for-profit organization with a bicultural focus. Its strong international reputation is based on 65 years of experience, political autonomy, and approximately 50 highly qualified, multilingual, multiskilled staff members. NZCER has a unique standing in New Zealand education and internationally. It is a leader in many research areas, and serves a wide range of educational institutions and agencies. Education House in Wellington is NZCER's headquarters. NZCER was set up in 1934 under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, has undertaken 65 years of independent research and became a statutory body in 1945. The NZCER Act of 1972 states that the function of the council shall be:

  1. To foster the study of, and research into, education and other like matters, and to prepare and publish such reports on these matters as may in its opinion be necessary or of value to teachers and other persons
  2. To furnish information, advice, and assistance to persons and organizations concerned with education and other similar matters

The Board of NZCER, which represents a wide cross section of education interests, helps identify key educational issues and stakeholder needs, thus providing a strategic focus for the council. Some of its educational interests are as follows:

Te Kaupapa Mätauranga mö te Iwi Maori, the Maori Education Trust, administers and cosponsors scholarships, bursaries, and grants for Maori attending secondary, tertiary, and postgraduate courses both here and overseas. The sponsor parties include trusts set up by prominent Maori and other individual New Zealanders as well as business and community organizations. It also cosponsors the national Maori Ngä Manu Körero (speech competitions) and runs programs for Maori students in primary and secondary schools.

NCZER monitors and seeks to control education expenditures and funding. New Zealand's proportion of gross domestic product spent on education was 5.3 percent in 1996, above the OECD average of 4.9 percent. In 1997-1998 the state spent NZ$5,714 million on education or 16.7 percent of total government expenses; in 1998-1999, NZ$5,910 million or 16.8 percent; and in 1999-2000 NZ$6,238 million or 17.2 percent. For early childhood spending, a universal funding formula forms the basis for direct funding subsidies of chartered early childhood services. Services can claim funding for a maximum of six hours per childplace day, with a limit of 30 hours per week.

Compulsory schooling in New Zealand is funded by the government to varying degrees, depending on the type of school. Each state school is given a grant for operating costs and the board of trustees is responsible for making sure that the school is properly maintained. Expenditure is controlled by each school's board of trustees. The costs of teachers' salaries (excluding senior management salaries), school transport, teacher removal expenses, major capital works, and long-term maintenance are paid directly by the Ministry of Education. Financial management of the schools is subject to review and audit by the Audit Office. Education management and attainment is reviewed by the Education Review Office. Funds are also available for special education, school boarding bursaries, and the school transport system.

In 1991 a new system for funding tertiary institutions called the Equivalent Full-Time Student (EFTS) system was introduced. Under the system polytechnics, colleges of education, universities, and wänanga receive state subsidies for the number of equivalent full-time students in each of the course-cost categories at their institution. These funded places are provided in bulk by the government in advance of the funding year. The funding is inclusive of capital works. The EFTS funding system has abolished detailed central decision making about levels of staffing, operating grants, and capital works projects. These responsibilities now lie with the management of tertiary institutions. In August 1999 it was estimated that 160,860 EFTSs were being funded with NZ$1.1672 billion.

The Ministry of Education, through its Property Management Group (PMG) is responsible for managing the Crown's ownership interest in New Zealand's state school property portfolio. This portfolio comprises around 2,300 state schools and their grounds throughout the country, with a total capital value of around NZ$4.7 billion.

Nonformal Education

The Mission Statement for Skill New Zealand says it will:

Lead a national skills development strategy which makes a significant contribution to improving New Zealand's prosperity and well being; contribute to the expansion of a knowledge society where all New Zealanders can access nationally recognized workplace education and training qualifications leading to wider career and employment opportunities; and influence industry and enterprises to increase their investment in training for both competitive advantage and expansion of the nation's skills.

The new Labor coalition government is committed to introduce and expand the use of distance learning technology though the growing availability of the Internet in particular.


The New Zealand education system has been among the most successful but faces six principal challenges:

  1. It has a sector of the society that is presently 20 percent of the total and growing, and a higher percentage of the school and tertiary education age group and growing even more quickly, who have not previously and do not now access the resources of the system on the same basis as the larger population.
  2. The quality of the New Zealand education system has been among the best in the world throughout the last century but it now faces a poorly performing economy, and financial and demographic pressures that may make maintaining this record increasingly difficult.
  3. The salaries of New Zealand teachers throughout the system have declined by international standards and retaining the services of teachers trained in New Zealand against more lucrative opportunities overseas, especially the UK and Australia who both actively recruit in New Zealand, may be difficult.
  4. Although there is pressure to maintain quality, there is less pressure to maintain funding and a common trend throughout the system has been to try to get more for lessthereby intensifying pressures on the already stretched resources of the system, including teachers, buildings, libraries, and other facilities.
  5. At the same time, the New Zealand educational system must reorganize itself to train a new increasingly heterogeneous nation, in a new economic situation, with new cultural and material needs, which require a continuing revaluation and reconstitution of the national curriculum.
  6. In addition, it faces the prospect of the continuing brain drain of those products of the system that it has successfully educated fleeing their loan burdens and seeking higher rewards in other countries.


Butterworth, G. V. Reforming Education: The New Zealand Experience, 1984-1996. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1998.

Catley, Bob. Waltzing with Matilda: Should New Zealand Join Australia? Wellington: 2001.

Christie, Walter. New Zealand Education and Treatyism. Auckland: Wyvern Press, 1999.

New Zealand Cabinet Manual, 2000. Available from

The New Zealand Department of Education, Annual Report, 2000. Available from

The New Zealand Labour Party, Policy Platform, 1999. Available from

The New Zealand Official Yearbook, 2000. Available from

Olssen, M. and K. M. Matthews, eds. Education Policy in New Zealand. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press. 1999.

Thrupp, M. ed. A Decade of Reform in New Zealand Education. School of Education, University of Waikato, 1999.

Bob Catley

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New Zealand


Major Cities:
Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin

Other Cities:
Gisborne, Hamilton, Hastings, Invercargill, Napier, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Timaru, Whangarei


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated March 1993. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


NEW ZEALAND , which lies in the South Pacific just west of the international date line, is a fresh and vigorous country that delights the senses with its towering mountains and swift, clear rivers, its green pastures and deep lakes, and its glaciers and geysers and hot springs. The splendid scenery is one of the most rewarding aspects of this South Pacific nation.

Although New Zealand participated in the Paris Peace Conference that resulted in the Treaty of Versailles, and ratified the treaty on September 2, 1919, it is comparatively new on the stage of world affairs. Until 1935, the view was held that, in foreign policy, the British Empire should be regarded as a unit and that, ideally, it should speak with one voice. From 1936 onward, however, New Zealand began asserting an independent position on matters of international concern. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations and other international organizations. Since 1985, the country has maintained an anti-nuclear stance. All nuclear powered or armed ships are prohibited from entering New Zealand ports.



Wellington is a city of superb views whose motto, Suprema a Situ (Supreme by Situation), is apt. Many Americans find it somewhat reminiscent of San Francisco or Seattle. It has a population estimated at 326,000 (2000). Located where the North Island tapers to its end in the Cook Strait, Wellington's land has been pushed up and twisted into a pattern of ridges and gullies. Settlement dates from 1840, when the first shiploads of settlers arrived under the auspices of the London-based New Zealand Land Company. The city was named for the Duke of Wellington and became New Zealand's capital in 1865. Wellington's Port Nicholson Harbor has many moods, but when the sun is shining and the air is still, it is breathtakingly beautiful. The city and its suburbs extend like a huge amphitheater across the green hills surrounding Port Nicholson.

Wellington's aggressive terrain has a climate to match, and the threat of earthquakes is ever present. Windy Wellington is a term of abuse applied by some visitors unprepared for the city's gales but a term of affection from residents who have long since come to terms with the vagaries of the local weather.

Except for a small area of flat land in the city center, most of it reclaimed, Wellington clings to the steep hillsides. There is no room for expansion, except upwards. Residential areas spread across the hillsides, providing many residents with spectacular views of the city and harbor below. The downtown area is dominated by many modern commercial office buildings and by the Parliament Buildings, especially the Executive Wing of Parliament known as the Beehive.

Located near the geographical center of the country, Wellington is a principal overseas shipping terminal, even though it has direct international air connections only with Australia. Wellington houses the head offices of all government departments and many national organizations.


You can purchase most familiar foods in Wellington. Although Wellington has several fairly large supermarkets that resemble those of American chains, visits to the smaller stores and specialty shops, such as the greengrocer, the butcher, and the delicatessen, are often desirable.

Staple items are in adequate supply, but items such as canned goods and imported food items are expensive. Fresh meats are abundant and relatively inexpensive. Some Americans buy fresh meat from butchers.

Dairy products are excellent and cost less than in the U.S. Fresh pasteurized milk is completely safe for infants, and you can buy it in dairy stores and supermarkets or through home delivery. Skim milk and cow's milk substitutes are also available.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are plentiful and reasonably priced if bought in season. Some supermarkets have good supplies of these items, but greengrocers usually have better selections, although at higher prices. Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually limited and are more expensive than in the U.S. New Zealand laws prohibit the importation of frozen, refrigerated or uncooked meat, poultry, eggs and egg products, and of pet food containing raw lamb or sheep meat.


You can wear warm clothing comfortably most of the year.

Men wear springweight suits about 3 months of the year and heavier suits the rest of the time. Temperatures may occasionally call for a top-coat, but a raincoat is essential. A topcoat with a zip-in liner is useful. Umbrellas are sometimes impractical because of Wellington's high winds but are highly useful at other times. You may purchase shirts, suits, topcoats, raincoats, and sport coats locally, and, with the current exchange rate, they are reasonably priced. However, selections may be limited by quality and/or size.

The selection of women's clothing is not as limited as menswear. In Wellington, summer cottons are practical for only 2 or 3 months of the year. Long-sleeved dresses of any weight, suits, heavier dresses, slacks, sweaters, and skirts are comfortable the rest of the time. Good rain gear is essential, and the same types of coats suggested for men are recommended. Wellington evenings are cool, and women need wraps or stoles most of the year. Even when the weather permits the wearing of lightweight apparel, most women carry a light wrap or sweater to guard against sudden temperature changes. Skirts with a variety of dressy blouses and tops are useful for dinner parties.

Clothing for children and infants is expensive and limited. School uniforms that must be bought here, satisfy much of the clothing needs of most school-age children. Boys and girls at all secondary schools and most private primary schools wear uniforms that include a raincoat, shirt or blouse, pants or skirt, cap, socks or stockings, sweater (jersey), and blazer. Some public primary schools (ages 5-12) do not require uniforms. Away from school, children and teenagers wear essentially what they would wear in the U.S.

Bring a good supply of play clothes and dress clothing. For boys up to 12 years old, you can combine white shirt, tie, and sweater with school pants for dressy events. During most of the year, a jacket and a lightweight coat are useful. Children need cardigans or sweaters and warm pajamas for winter.

Supplies and Services

Most toiletries and cosmetics are available, but imported perfumes and cosmetics are expensive. Common first-aid medical supplies and medicines, miscellaneous household items, e.g., cleaning equipment, repair materials, clothespins, tools, etc., are readily available.

Some American cigarette brands, including some filter-tipped brands, are sold locally. New Zealand is a wine-producing nation and produces some excellent wines. New Zealand brews excellent export beers. You can obtain a few brands of American wine, bourbon, and beer from local suppliers, but choice is limited.

Barbers and beauty shops are plentiful and do good quality work; prices are comparable to those in the U.S. Appointments are necessary at most shops. Tipping is not customary.

Dressmakers and tailors are skilled but are heavily booked and quite expensive.

Some dry-cleaners use American equipment and methods, but their work may not always be good, especially on suede and leather. Commercial laundries are adequate but hard on clothes. Doing your own laundry is preferable.

Religious Activities

Virtually all religious denominations can be found in the Wellington area. There are Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Jewish, and Latter-day Saints congregations, as well as smaller groups.


Like the U.S., New Zealand's public school system is secular. Children start school at age 5 and must attend until age 15. Tuition is free in public schools, but charges are made for some books and supplies. In schools requiring uniforms, the cost may be as much as NZ$300-NZ$500 per child. Students who commute by bus pay a reduced fare.

Most private schools are usually denominational (Anglican, Roman Catholic, or other). About one in nine New Zealand schoolchildren attends private school. Tuition, uniforms, and other charges vary, and at some schools, children must buy books and other supplies.

Kindergartens are available for preschoolers. Subsequent school levels are designated Primer 1-4 for students 5-6 years old; Standard 1-4 for ages 7-10; and Form I-VII for ages 11-17. Primer 1 through Standard 4 are primary grades; Forms I and II, intermediate; and Forms III-VII, high school or college.

At the end of Form V, students take nationally administered school certificate examinations in as many as six subjects. If successful, they then go on to Sixth Form.

A University Entrance Examination for students completing Form VI was conducted for the last timein 1985. Beginning in 1986, each secondary school issues a diploma on the basis of internal assessment. Students who scored well on the UEE (1985) or were awarded diplomas (1986 and thereafter) may, after completing Form VI, go directly to a university or remain in the secondary system for Form VII, at the end of which they take the Bursary or Scholarship Examination. Success in those examinations entitles a student to a government stipend during his or her university career.

Because of specific prerequisites for entry into U.S. universities, American students may have to supplement their New Zealand high school courses. A few American students have felt that New Zealand schools discourage individual initiative and have chosen to finish their high school work in the U.S.

The standard of education at universities in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, and Palmerston North is similar to that in the U.S. through the BA level. However, facilities for graduate study are not equal to those in the U.S.

The typical university undergraduate takes six courses a year and earns a bachelor's degree after 3 years, although some courses of study are longer. Unsupervised individual study is the norm. Courses may vary from those offered by average American universities.

The school year differs from that in the U.S. For primary and secondary schools, the year begins in early February and ends in mid-December with a 2-week vacation in May. In late August, primary schools have a 2-week vacation and secondary schools, a 3-week vacation. Except for upper-level classes at Victoria University of Wellington, universities do not operate on the semester system but treat the full academic year as a single unit. Opening in late February or early March, universities have essentially the same vacations as secondary schools. Formal lectures at most universities end in mid-October, but exams extend well into November.

In grading, examinations are emphasized over daily classwork. A passing grade is 50, and marks above 70 are rare. Numerical grades thus cannot be taken as equivalent to U.S. grades.

New Zealand schools strongly emphasize sports and usually have excellent athletic facilities.

Special Educational Opportunities

Special education services are available for pupils whose educational requirements cannot be met by an ordinary school. The policy in New Zealand is to educate these pupils in ordinary classes as far as possible and to provide separate classes and schools only where necessary. Most students enrolled in the special education services are primary pupils aged 5-12, but emphasis is now being placed on developing services for preschool children and secondary pupils.

Selected schools provide special classes for students who are intellectually and physically handicapped, visually handicapped, hearing impaired, or emotionally disturbed. Classes are run in hospitals, and speech and reading clinics offer part-time tuition for selected pupils. Special day schools are provided for intellectually handicapped and some physically handicapped students.

The Department of Education administers six residential schools for pupils who cannot be cared for in special classestwo for hearing impaired, two for mentally handicapped, and two for maladjusted pupils. The Department also has an advisory service on special education for hearing impaired children and a psychological service. The Department maintains a close association with voluntary groups such as the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind and the Intellectually Handicapped Children's Society.

Recent experience has indicated that special education services in Wellington are not comparable to those available in the Washington area for either primary or secondary level pupils.


New Zealand is a sportsman's paradise. Golf courses are plentiful and popular. Tennis and squash courts are accessible and inexpensive. Four indoor tennis courts are available in Wellington. Because Wellington offers only four indoor tennis courts to the public, most players join private clubs that are less expensive than in the U.S. Jogging is very popular among men and women. A Marathon Clinic is available. New Zealand is the current amateur world champion in men's and women's softball, and softball clubs for all skill levels abound.

Sports attire for general outdoor activity is similar to that in the U.S., except that on the golf course, women wear skirts rather than slacks. Shorts worn with knee socks are acceptable for male golfers. Whites are often mandatory for tennis and squash at private clubs. A wide variety of sports equipment is available, including golf clubs, tennis rackets, and scuba gear, but at higher prices than in the U.S.

For hunters, the following animals are found in varying degrees of abundance: wapiti (elk); chamois (Austrian antelope); thar (Himalayan mountain goat); red, fallow, Virginia, sambur, and sika deer (Japanese); wild pig; goat; and opossum (Australian marsupial). Except for wapiti, game can be killed year round. A license is not needed, but permits are required to hunt on most lands. Upland game shooting, which requires a license, is available. Commercial hunting and farming of big game animals has drastically reduced the once-abundant herds. However, successful hunts are possible for those willing to walk into deep forests under difficult conditions.

Deep-sea fishing is good; trout fishing is popular. Rainbow and brown trout were introduced into New Zealand in 1877 from California and have flourished in many lakes and streams. Fishing season in most districts opens October 1 (earlier for some South Island areas) and extends to April 30 in most South Island and North Island areas. Fishing is allowed all year on Lakes Rotorua and Taupo. A limit of 10 fish, minimum length 14 inches, is imposed at Lake Taupo. Fishing is permitted from 5 am to 11 pm. Some areas are open to fly casting only.

Skiing is popular, despite the fact that the nearest slope is 220 miles from Wellington. Both the North and South Islands have good skiing most years. Although the facilities are adequate, they are not what many U.S. skiers are accustomed to.

Rugby football is New Zealand's national game, and the New Zealand team, known as the All Blacks, has earned international respect for its ability over more than 60 years.

New Zealand has gained international recognition in cricket, soccer, golf, lawn bowls, track and field, rowing, sailing, motor racing, and distance running.

The largest spectator sport is horse-racing, and hundreds of race meetings are held each year in various towns and cities throughout the country. New Zealand-bred horses are known throughout the world for their strength and stamina and are much sought after as breeding stock in other countries.

All water sports are popular in New Zealand. Within an hour's drive north of Wellington are a half-dozen sandy beaches used in summer for sunbathing and swimming. During summer, water temperatures are slightly warmer than at beaches on the Oregon, Maine, or northern California coasts, but much cooler than beaches on the southern California or South Atlantic coasts.

New Zealanders have a keen interest in pottery making and weaving. Day and evening classes are available.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Flowers blossom in the garden year round and grow in profusion in spring and summer. Camelias, rhododendrons, fuchsia, azaleas, and roses flourish, as well as many native New Zealand, Australian, and South African species.

New Zealand's natural scenery is a most rewarding aspect of the country. The North Island is justly proud of its mountains, bays, and farm country. And the South Island, with its Alps, fjords, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers is equally but differently scenic.

Hiking and walking possibilities abound on both islands. Several hiking (tramping) clubs in Wellington sponsor outings on weekends and holidays. Many excursions by bus (or bus and air) are offered at reasonable prices. The cost includes meals and lodging.

Four times daily a ferry carries passengers and cars on a 3-hour trip across Cook Strait from Wellington to the South Island. Return fare for an adult passenger is around NZ$60 and for a medium-sized car is NZ$250. Air service is frequent and expensive. The South Island exhibits spectacular mountains and beautiful coasts along its 1,500-mile periphery, most of which are accessible by car.


Public entertainment and night life are limited. Most restaurants and hotels usually stop serving dinner between 10 pm and 11 pm. Reservations are necessary in most restaurants; relatively few places cater to the walk-in public.

Some restaurants not licensed to sell alcohol have Bring Your Own (BYO) licenses. BYO restaurants provide wine glasses and charge a NZ$1-NZ$2 corkage fee per bottle. The sale of alcoholic drinks, including beer, at public bars is prohibited after 10 pm or 11 pm. Licensed hotels may serve liquor after hours to bona fide hotel guests. Tipping is not customary in hotels and restaurants.

Cabarets, which sponsor dancing, have no other attractions, except for a few that also offer dining. During winter, many business, charitable, and professional groups sponsor annual balls. Many are open to the public.

American, Australian, British, and occasionally other foreign films are shown in Wellington's theaters and are a principal source of entertainment.

Professional theater productions are staged during the season. Touring companies sometimes feature American musicals. Several intimate repertory theater groups, and many amateur theatrical organizations also perform. Concerts by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, chamber music groups, and soloists are frequent. The New Zealand Opera Company offers several productions each year; performances are often superior.

Social Activities

The Association of American Women (AAW) is open to women employees and dependents.

The New Zealand-American Association (NZAA), an organization consisting primarily of New Zealanders with particular ties to the U.S., has a wide variety of activities, including holiday celebrations, sports events, lectures, and cultural events. The NZAA Ladies Auxiliary invites women employees and dependents to its monthly ladies' coffee mornings.

Many voluntary groups providing aid to the handicapped either solicit or are receptive to help from Americans, particularly those with special qualifications or experience. Scout activities are available for boys and girls. These groups are also receptive to offers of assistance.


Auckland is located on a narrow isthmus between two harbors that opens into the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. With a population of over 1 million (for the metropolitan area), it is the commercial and industrial center of New Zealand and a main port of entry for ships and planes. Auckland is home to many immigrants and visitors from Pacific Island nations and has been described as the world's most populous Polynesian city.

Auckland's International Airport is at Mangere, 13 miles from the Consulate General. Bus and taxi service is available to the center of town. Overseas ships dock in downtown Auckland.

Downtown Auckland is modernizing rapidly. A large number of office buildings and several large hotels of international standards have been built in the last few years. The downtown area is surrounded by many attractive residential areas and many satellite cities and boroughs. Most homes are not modern by U.S. standards either in architecture or in equipment, but most are comfortable, and many have magnificent views. North Shore homes are newer; many have been built since 1961 when the harbor bridge was completed.

Auckland offers education, medical care, and a standard of living comparable to those in Wellington.

Auckland's temperatures are cool in winter and warm in summer. Average annual rainfall is 50 inches; hours of sunshine per year average 2,140. Occasional storms are accompanied by fairly high winds, but they are not a great hazard. Because of high humidity and dampness in most houses, mildew is a threat, especially to leather goods. During summer, flies, mosquitoes, and other insects are troublesome, because most houses are unscreened. Moths and silverfish are a threat to woolens.

About 6,000 Americans reside in this U.S. consular district, and as many as 900 American visitors are in the consular district at any given time.


Meat and dairy produce, including pasteurized milk, are abundant. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are also available. Supplies of frozen and canned vegetables are limited. Since canned baby foods are expensive, a blender is useful in making baby food at home. A meat grinder is also useful. Coffee and tea is sold in various grades and blends.

A few prepared meals are available. Local flour, vegetable shortening, and yeast are different from American products. Local breads are good. Items that are not sold include certain herbs and seasonings, double-action baking powder, Karo syrup, American tomato ketchup and chili sauce, meat tenderizers, Bisquick, and Sanka. The selection of such items as cake mixes is not as widespread as in the U.S. Local mayonnaise does not suit American taste.

New Zealand wines have improved dramatically in the last few years and are generally quite acceptable as table wines, particularly white wines. If you wish to serve American wines, which are seldom available, you must arrange to import them.


Auckland winters are not so severe as those in most parts of the U.S. In the Auckland metropolitan area, it never snows or freezes. However, the wind chill factor frequently offsets moderate temperatures. Few homes are centrally heated, but most are insulated. Summer temperatures seldom reach levels that most Americans would consider hot, but conditions are often warm enough to require summer clothing. Summer evenings can be quite cool.

Clothing sizes, qualities, and prices in New Zealand differ from what most Americans are accustomed to.

Men do not require a heavy overcoat but do need a light topcoat and especially a good raincoat. Medium-weight suits are usually sufficient for winter, and lightweight suits are sufficient for summer.

New Zealand shirts are cut differently from American shirts. They offer a normal range of neck sizes but few sleeve lengths. Lightweight wash-and-wear suits are not available. A few good hand tailors are available. New Zealand men seldom wear hats. Men should bring clothing for the sports that interest them, including tennis whites and lightweight waders for fishing. Local athletic equipment and footwear are limited and expensive.

Mediumweight wool dresses, especially with long sleeves, and knitted and tailored suits are worn from fall through spring. A fur cape or stole or an evening sweater or shawl is necessary. A good supply of light summer clothes is desirable.

Bring clothes for informal, leisure, sports, and formal evening wear. Formal day occasions require hat and gloves, and formal evening functions can require long dresses. Lingerie, hosiery, and accessories are available. A raincoat, or several for variety, is essential. Bring a warm woolen or quilted dressing gown.

A wide range of good imported woolen, silk, and American cotton fabrics is available, but some accessories for dressmaking, such as seam and sleeve boards, are in limited supply or different from American types. A few good dressmakers are available.

Footwear should include several pairs of crepe-soled shoes for use during rainy weather and a good pair of walking shoes.

Uniforms are worn in most schools and must be bought here. Boys of up to high school age wear short trousers above the knee. Ready-made clothes, especially for children under 8 years, are expensive and limited in variety and supply.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: Most cosmetics and toilet articles, including some American brands made in New Zealand or Australia, are available but are expensive.

Medical and household supplies are generally available.

Such basic services as dry-cleaning, laundry, shoe repair, beauty shops, appliance repair, and other repair services are often less than adequate and are expensive. Mail, milk, and newspapers are delivered daily. Trash is collected weekly.

Auckland is covered by a regional bus service that extends to the outlying suburbs and satellite towns. Service is good during the morning and evening rush hours but is not frequent at other times. A ferry service operates frequently between the foot of Queen Street in downtown Auckland and Devonport across the harbor. Commuter train service is limited. Although the cost of gasoline is high, more than 60% of New Zealand's work force use private transportation to commute to work. An automobile is indispensable in Auckland.

Religious Activities

Most religions and sects are represented in Auckland; there are Church of England (Anglican), Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Jewish congregations.


Schools are available from kindergarten through university level. Children may attend kindergarten several half-days a week from the age of 3. Kindergartens usually have a waiting list of at least 8 months. Children may begin school at age 5 and are automatically accepted at primary school. School is compulsory between ages 7 and 15. Some private and public schools provide transportation for day students. Facilities for athletics and other activities are adequate in all schools. Private schools vary considerably; public schools are free, but parents must buy books and school supplies.

The University of Auckland offers degrees in arts, science, commerce, law, and medicine. Music and art classes are provided in private schools, and art classes are provided in public schools at primary and secondary levels.

Special Educational Opportunities

The University of Auckland, Auckland Technical Institute, and many secondary schools conduct extensive programs of adult education in commerce and the trades for hobbyists and those who work about the home. Auckland's public libraries and the library of the University of Auckland provide a good if limited coverage of all major fields.


Aucklanders spend much of their time outside, and opportunities for outdoor activity abound. Most homeowners take pride in maintaining their lawns and gardens.

Many fine beaches are in and near Auckland. The city has five large swimming pools. Heated pools offer year-round activity.

Waitemata Harbor, with its irregular coastline and many islands, is a paradise for boating enthusiasts. About 4,000 sailboats of all classes participate in the Anniversary Day Regatta races.

The area offers several excellent golf clubs and two public links.

Grass and asphalt tennis courts are located in all sections of the city. Except for a few courts at schools, all are either private or club owned. Organized midweek tennis for women is available at all clubs. Squash is popular.

Waitemata Harbor and Hauraki Gulf have numerous fish. The Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, and Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty, are centers for big game fishing. Lake Taupo and several other lakes are noted for their abundance of rainbow trout, and fishing is permitted year round. Many trout streams and rivers exist. Although trolling is permitted in the lakes and spinning in some sections of the major rivers, only fly casting is allowed in the streams.

Many places in New Zealand provide hunting for deer, wild pig, duck, and rabbit. Slide-action (pump) and semiautomatic shotguns must have magazines pinned (not plugged) to limit total capacity to two rounds, one in the magazine and one in the chamber. This regulation is now under review, however, so owners of such guns should inquire before shipping them. Firearms owners and users are licensed by the police.

Good hiking trails are found in the mountains (particularly the Wait-akere Ranges) near Auckland. Hiking or tramping clubs are popular. Rain gear is essential; good quality, reasonably priced, and lightweight gear is available locally. Heavy-duty shoes are less useful than medium-or lightweight shoes. Other camping gear (tents, bags, etc.) is available but expensive.

Bowling on the green is a popular sport, and clubs exist in all parts of the city. Currently, only four American-style bowling alleys are available in New Zealand (one is in Auckland).

Halfway between Wellington and Auckland at Mount Ruapehu, snow skiing occurs through the winter. Auckland offers ample opportunities for water-skiing and surfing.

Many good potters exist, and dyeing and weaving are popular.

Principal spectator sports include horse racing, autoracing, rugby, soccer, cricket, and tennis.

Sports attire for men and women is similar to that worn in the U.S., except that New Zealanders adhere more closely to the traditional forms of sports dress. Sports equipment is available but expensive.


Auckland offers many first-class movie theaters downtown and many suburban ones. Most films are American or British, with French, Italian, and Swedish films shown occasionally.

Auckland has a professional repertory theater. Occasional plays or musicals are staged by touring overseas companies. The Grand Opera Society usually features one or two productions a year. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Regional Orchestra, and various other groups perform frequent concerts and recitals.

The city has a museum containing many interesting relics of Maori and European life and an art museum.

Local events of interest include an annual agricultural and pastoral show, gymkhanas, and Maori concerts. The 3-week Auckland Festival held each May offers plays, concerts, recitals, art exhibitions, and a film festival.

Many good restaurants and one or two nightclubs exist; most are closed on Mondays. Several hotels offer good meals. Traditionally, tipping is not practiced.

Radio reception is good and local stations offer a fairly broad selection of programs. American and other rock music is popular with local disc jockeys. Each of Auckland's two TV channels, both government enterprises, broadcast 10-12 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Social Activities

Auckland's American community is not so cohesive as those in some countries. Most American residents have been here for many years and have integrated into New Zealand society. However, many Americans do belong to the American Club and/or the American Women's Club. They are composed almost equally of Americans and New Zealanders who have lived in or have an interest in the U.S.


Christchurch, the capital of the Canterbury Provincial District on South Island, is the center of New Zealand's most productive wheat and grain region. It is situated on the east coast of South Island on the Avon River, at the base of Banks Peninsula. Christchurch was founded in 1850 by a group of Anglicans, and named for the old Oxford College attended by John Robert Godley, the leader of its first settlers. It now is an industrial city of 307,000 (urban area), and a center for many large businesses, including tanneries and meat-packing plants.

Christchurch Cathedral (Anglican), a Gothic structure built over a period of 40 years, from 1864 to 1904, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (Roman Catholic), of Classic Revival architecture, are among New Zealand's most outstanding ecclesiastical buildings. The city is also the site of Canterbury College (founded in 1873), and the noted School of Arts, dating to 1882. Queen Elizabeth II Park in Christchurch was the site of the 1974 Commonwealth Games and the 1981 World Veterans Gamesit is a large complex of sports grounds, pools, and athletic courts. The Town Hall, acknowledged as the finest in New Zealand, opened in 1972, and provides extensive conference facilities for South Island.

Other notable places in the city are Canterbury Museum; the Botanic Gardens, laid out more than one hundred years ago; and McDougall Art Gallery. The Bridge of Remembrance, built as a First World War memorial, crosses the Avon River. Also near the river are the Canterbury Provincial Government buildings, dating from the mid-19th century, and the only remaining administrative structures of their kind in New Zealand.

Hagley Park, the largest area of public grounds, extends over many acres of woodlands and formal gardens. Together with the city's Victorian buildings and lawn-fringed houses, it intensifies Christchurch's reputation as "the most English town outside of England."

The airport at Christchurch, which gained international status in 1950, was opened in 1936 as the first municipal airport in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are recreational facilities throughout the city, both public and private. Much of Christchurch's social activity centers around club life.

Christchurch serves as a natural gateway for touring South Island. A combination fly-drive tour of the area might include a visit to a nearby sheep farm; the resort town of Queenstown, situated on the north shore of Lake Wakatipa in a mountain setting; and the small town of Te Anau located at the entrance to Fjordland National Park. One of the fjordsMilford Soundis the foremost attraction on South Island, with more than 300,000 tourists visiting annually.


Dunedin, New Zealand's fifth largest city, was founded by Free Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) settlers in 1848. They laid out the city around an octagon, rather than the traditional square, and this central area is a major point of interest even today. Known as the "Edinburgh of the South," Dunedin is famous for its late 19th century architectural styles and its Scottish festivities.

Dunedin was the base for the ships of Admiral Richard Byrd's Antarctic expeditions between 1928 and 1935, and a memorial stands here in his honor.

The city is situated at the head of Otago Harbor, a Pacific Ocean inlet, and is the major port for the Otago area. A South Island urban center with a population of 109,500, Dunedin produces chemicals, soap, furniture, and fertilizers; shipyards and breweries are also among its industries. Wool and dairy products are shipped from here in large quantities.

Otago University, with respected medical and dental schools among its many departments, was established in Dunedin in 1869. It is among the several points of interest on both city and peninsular tours; others include the Queen's Gardens, Larnach Castle, the Cenotaph, Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens, Prospect Park, and Lookout Point.


GISBORNE is a seaport city of more than 30,000 residents on the eastern shore of North Island. Lying on Poverty Bay in the East Cape area, it is known for its fine beaches and beautiful scenery, and is fast becoming a popular resort. Grapes, maize, and citrus fruits are grown in abundance around Gisborne.

HAMILTON is New Zealand's largest inland city. It lies on the banks of the Waikato River in central North Island, and is the hub of a prosperous dairy farming and sheep-raising area. With a population of over 170,900 (2000 est.) in its urban area, it ranks sixth in population in the country. The University of Waikato was established here in 1964.

HASTINGS is a city of more than 36,000 near Napier, and the district which encompasses both cities and the area in between is generally considered one urban center. The total population of the combined area has grown to approximately 108,000. Hastings proper is the commercial center of a pastoral region. Orchards, vineyards, and grazing flocks add to the singular beauty of the surrounding landscape.

INVERCARGILL , the southernmost city in New Zealand, is situated on an estuary of Foveaux Strait, the channel which separates South and Stewart islands. It is a busy, modern city of 48,000 (1987 est.), with a well-defined Scottish atmospheremany of its streets are named for the rivers of Scotland. Invercargill, founded in 1856, is the administrative center of Southland Province. Queen's Park, Rose Gardens, Waihopi Scenic Reserve, and Bluff Harbor are among its scenic areas.

NAPIER , on the east coast of North Island, is a modern seaside city of over 50,000 residents. After a devastating earthquake in 1931, the town was rebuilt in the Art Deco style. The city is noted for its beautiful, two-mile-long Marine Parade, an esplanade lined with Norfolk pines. The Kiwi House on the parade exhibits the wingless kiwi bird, the national emblem of New Zealand. The botanical gardens and Napier proper can be seen in panorama from Bluff Hill overlooking Hawke Baythis lookout is one of the city's interesting tourist spots.

PALMERSTON NORTH , with a population of about 75,800 (2000 est.), lies on the Manawatu River on North Island, about 80 miles northeast of Wellington. Although the center of a dairy farming region, it also produces pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, and knitted goods. Massey University, a well-known agricultural school, was founded nearby in 1964.

ROTORUA , where many of New Zealand's noted Maori settlements are located, is a city of 54,900 residents on Rotorua Lake in north-central North Island. Often called "New Zealand's Yellowstone," it is one of the nation's most famous resorts, featuring thermal springs, deep craters, caverns, the legendary Mokoia Island, exotic pine forests, hunting and fishing and, especially, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, with its fine examples of carving and other arts and crafts. Of particular interest are the Maori concerts and traditional hamgi (pit-cooked meals) held nightly at several locations.

The port city of TIMARU , with a population of approximately 28,000, lies on the east coast of South Island, about 90 miles southwest of Christchurch. Timaru is a commercial hub, whose exports include frozen foods.

WHANGAREI , with a population of over 40,000, is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing cities. It is situated about 85 miles north of Auckland, on North Island, and is the urban center of a livestock-raising area. The waters of its harbor are noted for deep-sea fishing, and among its scenic spots is beautiful Whangarei Falls. The city's Clapham Clock Museum contains over 400 clocks from around the world. To the north are the extensive Kauri forests and the picturesque Bay of Islands, as well as Kaitaia, the far north's principal city.


Geography and Climate

New Zealand is located in the South Pacific, some 1,200 miles southeast of Australia. The country consists primarily of three islands that extend nearly 1,000 miles from north to south. New Zealand's total area, 103,736 square miles, is slightly smaller than that of Colorado. All but 1% of its area is in the two main islands: the North, 44,281 square miles, and the South, 58,093 square miles that are separated by Cook Strait. Stewart Island, south of the South Island, covers 670 square miles.

Although it has several large plains, New Zealand is mainly a mountainous country, with many rivers and lakes. The highest peak, Mount Cook, rises over 12,000 feet in the Southern Alps, a massive range stretching almost the length of the South Island. The North Island has several intermittently active volcanoes.

New Zealand lies in the Temperate Zone and has a generally mild, invigorating climate. The surrounding ocean tempers the climate, with the result that seasons do not vary as much as in most of America. Spells of cool, damp weather occur in the summer from December through February. Rainy winter days of June, July, and August are interspersed with days of brilliant sunshine and crisp, clear air. The chart shows statistics on climatic ranges for New Zealand's three main centers: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Areas outside the main islands are: the Chatham Islands, located 500 miles off the east coast of the South Island; several sub-Antarctic groups with no permanent habitation; and the Three Kings, a small, uninhabited group off the northernmost tip of the North Island. Farther away are the Cook Islands and Niue, two self-governing associated states, and Tokelau, a group of three atolls that New Zealand administers. New Zealand claims the Ross Dependency in Antarctica, but the U.S. does not recognize this claim.

In addition to the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, the U.S. has a Consulate General in Auckland and a Consular Agency in Christchurch. The U.S. Naval Support Force Antarctica/Detachment Christchurchbetter known as Operation Deep Freezehas a permanent complement of about 60 Navy and Air Force personnel and about the same number of New Zealand staff. It provides extensive logistic support to the U.S. Antarctic Research Program operated by the National Science Foundation that also maintains an office in Christchurch. Five civilian astronomers employed by the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington operate an astrometric observatory on Black Birch Mountain near Blenheim on the South Island.

October, November, and December are usually particularly windy months. Winds of 60 mph are not unusual, especially in the Wellington area, and on rare occasions they exceed 100 mph. Earth tremors are sometimes noticeable but rarely cause damage. New Zealand lies in an area of active earthquakes and volcanism ringing the Pacific Plate. A major fault line runs through Wellington.


New Zealand's population in 2000 was estimated at 3,700,000. Maori, descendants of the early Polynesian settlers, make up about 10% of the population. Most of the balance is of British descent, and immigrants continue to arrive in modest numbers from the U.K., Australia, Europe, North America, some of the Pacific Islands, and Asia.

About 75% of New Zealand's population lives on the North Island, and Auckland's urban area, with 1 million inhabitants, is the largest population center. The population of the greater Auckland area is more vast than that of the entire South Island. Wellington, including the Hutt Valley and other adjacent areas, is the next largest and numbers 326,000. The Christchurch area, population 307,200, is third largest and is followed by Dunedin, 109,500; and Hamilton, 149,000.

Throughout New Zealand, the influence of the Maori culture is evident in the names of streets, towns, rivers, and mountains, as well as in art, literature, and music. Historically, Maori have accommodated reasonably well to the European culture that arrived after them and quickly dominated the country, but recent years have seen a resurgent Maori identity characterized by increased assertion of Maori rights guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi that ceded sovereignty from the Maori chiefs to the British Crown. The Waitangi Tribunal has been charged with hearing disputes over land and resource rights and recommending settlements to the government.

Public Institutions

New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy based on the British model but with important modifications. The Governor General performs the ceremonial role of head of state, representing Queen Elizabeth II. Parliament consists of one Chamber, the House of Representatives, with 97 Members: 93 representing the general population and 4 Maori members representing those who claim to be Maori by descent and have asked to be included on the Maori electoral rolls. The highest vote winner in each of the 97 electorates is elected to Parliament. The parliamentary term is 3 years; an election may be held at any time, but only two early elections have been held since World War II. Voting is not compulsory, but all voters must register at age 18. About 90% of the electorate has voted in general elections held since World War II. New Zealand has had universal male suffrage since 1879 and women's suffrage since 1893.

The executive branch of the government is the Cabinet, led by a Prime Minister as head of government. The current Cabinet includes 18 other ministers, each of whom oversees one or more ministries or departments of government. Each of these is headed by a career civil servant who usually bears the title of chief executive officer.

Two political parties, the National Party and the Labour Party, have dominated Parliament and the nation's political life since 1935. The present National Party Government was elected in October 1990. The Labour Party originated with the trade union movement. Its support is strongest in urban areas. It governed from 1935 to 1949, from 1957 to 1960, and from 1972 to 1975. The National Party's traditional strength has been in the rural areas, but it has been successful at times in appealing to urban-based workers and business leaders.

Minor parties occasionally attract substantial numbers of votes, but traditionally have obtained little representation in Parliament. The New Zealand Democratic Party, the New Zealand Party, the Christian Heritage Party, and the New Labour Party all receive about 1 to 2% public support each.

New Zealand communist parties are legal but are riven by ideological fissures. They enjoy little popular support and have never been represented in Parliament. Several leaders of the Socialist Unity Party, a small pro-Moscow Communist group, hold leadership positions within the trade union movement.

New Zealand is a unitary state whose government at Wellington makes and directs all national policy. Provincial (or state) administrative entities do not exist. Some 540 local bodies, including city, borough, and county town councils; regional authorities; and boards that deal with electric power, harbors, pest control, and other special functions, are being replaced with a smaller number of united councils and regional authorities.

New Zealand is a comparatively new country on the stage of world affairs. Although New Zealand participated in the Versailles Conference and was a founding member of the League of Nations, successive governments until 1935 held the view that in foreign policy the British Empire should be regarded as a unit and that, ideally, the Empire should speak with one voice. From 1936 onward, however, New Zealand began to assert an independent position in foreign affairs. In 1942, New Zealand's first diplomatic mission was opened in Washington, followed by one in Ottawa later that year and another in Canberra in 1943. An American Legation was opened in Wellington on April 1, 1942. A Department of External Affairs was created in 1943 to manage New Zealand's relations with foreign countries.

New Zealand now has diplomatic or consular posts in more than 30 countries and has accredited representatives to more than 60 countries and to the U.N., European Economic Community (EEC), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Strong ties of tradition and sentiment link New Zealand with the U.K. and the Commonwealth. New Zealand is an active participant in Commonwealth affairs and also a strong supporter and active U.N. member.

The U.S. suspended its security guarantees to New Zealand under the ANZUS mutual security treaty when the latter barred visits by nuclear-powered or armed warships to its ports. The treaty remains in effect but is now active only between the U.S. and Australia, the third party to the agreement. New Zealand works closely with the U.S. in scientific research in Antarctica and on international trade issues.

Arts, Science, and Education

New Zealand's larger cities offer a great deal of activity in the visual and performing arts, both amateur and professional. Instrumental and choral groups hold frequent dramatic and operatic performances and concerts. Overseas artists often visit the country. Officers and their dependents have many chances to participate in amateur artistic activities. The larger centers also have art galleries (mostly private), museums, and zoos.

The government is an important source of support for the arts. It maintains such institutions as the National Art Gallery in Wellington and does much to promote music through the government-owned Radio New Zealand (RNZ). RNZ administers and supports the National Symphony Orchestra and arranges tours that bring its music to the most remote parts of the country.

Scientific activity is largely in the hands of the universities and Crown Research Institutes, which have a large and varied program. Many scientific associations are active, including the New Zealand branch of Britain's famous Royal Society.

The primary school system is satisfactory. Although secondary schools are of high quality in some respects, they may not prepare some children adequately for American universities. The U.S. Embassy has prepared a comprehensive comparative analysis of the New Zealand and U.S. secondary education systems, which is available from the Embassy and also from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Family Liaison Office (FLO) in the Department of State.

Universities at Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, and Hamilton offer undergraduate facilities comparable to those in the U.S. The normal undergraduate program leading to a bachelor's degree lasts 3 years. Several teacher-training colleges and technical and business schools exist. Most universities offer evening courses at the university level as well as adult education classes.

Commerce and Industry

A remote island nation, New Zealand is heavily dependent on foreign trade. But the pattern of New Zealand's export commodities is changing. The largest contributors to annual growth are expected to come from forestry & logging, financial & insurance services, communications, construction, non-metallic mineral products and electricity, gas & water.

The U.K. was for many years New Zealand's principal market. With Britain's entry into the European Community, however, New Zealand was obliged to diversify its export markets and has succeeded to a considerable degree. The U.S. is New Zealand's largest export market.

Apart from an aluminum smelter, a steel mill, an oil refinery, and a growing forest-products industry, most industry is classified as light. A wide variety of consumer goods is manufactured, mainly for the domestic market. Manufactured exports, mostly to Australia, have shown encouraging growth. Exports of forest products and mineral sands have also increased. There are several energy-based industries, including a synthetic gasoline plant that uses natural gas from the Maui field. Despite active exploration, petroleum has only been discovered in small quantities.

The government plays a direct role in economic life. Railways, electric power, airlines, and communications systems are nationalized. Marketing of meat and dairy products is subject to the control of boards with government participation. Approximately 65% of the labor force is involved in service sectors, 25% are in industry and 19% in agriculture.

Per capita GDP is estimated at $17,700 (2000 est), which translates into a reasonable standard of living for New Zealanders. Income is evenly distributed, with no extremes of poverty and wealth. Systems of social security, national health, and old-age benefits are comprehensive.



Ample public transportation serves residents of New Zealand's larger cities. Buses and taxis are available at reasonable fares. Commuter trains run from Wellington to Lower Hutt and Tawa.

New Zealand generally has good main roads. Two-lane paved surfaces are common in well-traveled areas. Secondary roads, especially in farming or isolated areas and on the west coast of South Island, are often not paved.


International airports are in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch, although Wellington cannot accommodate 747 model aircraft. All in-country service is provided by Air New Zealand and small local carriers. International airlines serve New Zealand from many countries.

Train service between Auckland and Wellington takes about 12 hours. Trains make several stops along the 400-mile route, allowing passengers a chance to relax and eat. Car rental companies in New Zealand charge an average daily rate of about NZ$86, plus 21¢ per kilometer for a medium-sized vehicle.


Telephone and Telegraph

Local phone service is good. Phone calls to the U.S. need not be booked in advance, except at Christmas. You can dial most areas in the U.S. direct, and connections are usually excellent. A 3-minute call to the U.S. costs about NZ$9.18 plus NZ$8 per call (person to person) or NZ$9.18 (station to station). Special rates are available in the late evening (New Zealand time) and all day Saturday. International service to other parts of the world is equally good.

Fax service to and from the U.S. is excellent; commercial fax services are widely available.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

American magazines appear at local newsstands several weeks after publication, and the International Herald Tribune is available by mail5 days late. The Pacific edition of Time is printed in New Zealand and that of Newsweek, printed with The Bulletin, in Australia.

The USIS library in Wellington and Auckland carry a good stock of U.S. periodicals, the Singapore edition of the International Herald Tribune, and several U.S. newspapers, plus the usual supply of books and reference materials.

In the principal cities, morning and evening newspapers are published 6 days a week, except on certain holidays. Three national newspapers are published on Sunday. Local news coverage is good, but international coverage is limited.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

New Zealand has a socialized medical system, and, although medical services are considered excellent by world standards, they are not equivalent to those in the U.S. Americans are accustomed to more intensive diagnostic testing and to easier access to specialists. Some of the latest techniques and medicines are not yet available in New Zealand due to the high cost of equipment. Medical costs range from nil to minimal (currently about NZ$27 for a visit to a general practitioner). Prescriptions are filled at nominal cost.

One of the primary differences between the U.S. and New Zealand medical systems is that in New Zealand it is almost impossible to see a specialist without a referral from a general practitioner.

Hospital facilities for surgery and inpatient care are considered adequate. For normal pregnancies, obstetrical care is provided by a general practitioner with follow-up care provided by nurses from the Plunket Society, a voluntary agency subsidized by the New Zealand Government, which cares for mothers and children.

Public hospitals have only a few private rooms.

Dental care is adequate. Orthodontists are located in Wellington and in Auckland. New Zealand orthodontists use treatment methods and techniques that differ from those of their U.S. counterparts, making it difficult to continue treatment begun in the U.S. Periodontic treatment is available.

The services of opticians and oculists are satisfactory and available at reasonable rates.

Community Health

Except for Hepatitis B no endemic diseases exist. All preschool children in New Zealand are vaccinated against Hepatitis B.

New Zealand's damp climate may trouble persons suffering from asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, and sinusitis. Colds and flu are frequent, partly as a result of frequent weather changes. BCG vaccination (against tuberculosis) of all 13-year olds is performed in the majority of North Island schools but is voluntary. Because the vaccine will cause a positive reaction when tine tests are administered, parents may wish to have their children exempted from vaccinations.

Preventive Measures

Milk is pasteurized. All urban water supplies are chlorinated, and it is safe to eat raw fruits and vegetables. Inoculations are not required for entry into New Zealand. Except for the pre-exposure rabies and Japanese B Encephalitis vaccines, you can obtain all other shots required for travel to points outside New Zealand. Oral polio vaccine is available locally.


Jan. 1 & 2 New Year's

Jan. 22 Anniversary Day (Wellington)

Jan. 29 Anniversary Day (Auckland)

Feb. 6 New Zealand Day

Feb. 6 Waitangi Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

Apr. 25 ANZAC Day

June 4 Queen's Birthday

Oct. 22 Labor Day

Nov. 16 Canterbury Anniversary

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 Boxing Day



Passage, Customs & Duties

When traveling from the Northern Hemisphere, remember that the seasons are reversed in New Zealand so pack accordingly. When coming to New Zealand from the west coast of the U.S., travelers lose a day crossing the international dateline. For instance, a passenger who leaves Los Angeles by air on the evening of April 14 will arrive in Auckland on the morning of April 16. For air travel from the U.S., a rest-stop may be arranged in Honolulu.

U.S. citizens eligible for a visa waiver do not need a visa for tourist stays of three months or less. For more information about visa waivers and entry requirements contact the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 328-4800, the Embassy's home page at, or the Consulate General of New Zealand in Los Angeles, telephone (310) 207-1605.

New Zealand's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from New Zealand of certain items, including firearms and agricultural products. Handguns may not be brought into the country, and a permit for other firearms must be obtained from the New Zealand police immediately after arrival. Tourists have also faced police inquiries as a result of importing or brandishing toy weapons. The Ministry of Agriculture of New Zealand has stringent requirements for the entry of food and agricultural products. Travelers are required to declare any items that come under agricultural quarantine restrictions as stated on the customs form at the port of entry. Heavy fines have been levied against those attempting to bring in undeclared prohibited items. For more information, contact the New Zealand Customs Service at and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at It is also advisable to contact the Embassy of New Zealand in Washington, D.C. at (202) 775-5200, or one of New Zealand's consulates in the United States, for specific information regarding customs requirements.

New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture officials board many incoming international flights and spray the cabins with a nontoxic insect spray before passengers disembark. This is a routine procedure.

Agricultural inspectors will question new arrivals and may examine their luggage to ensure against the entry of agricultural diseases and pests. Everything made of wood, paper (including books), leather, and straw will be inspected carefully and may be held for disinfecting.

Under New Zealand law, all arriving passengers are required (without exception) to complete an agricultural questionnaire, which is contained in the Passenger Declaration Form.

All footwear in your baggage should be soil-free, especially if the footwear has been worn on farms or in areas where animals are held.

To guard against the accidental introduction of pests and diseases, some agricultural items are restricted form entry into New Zealand.

Americans living in or visiting New Zealand are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland by mail, phone, fax or in person, where they can obtain updated information on travel and security,

The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland is located on the third floor of the Citibank Centre, 23 Customs Street East, between Commerce and Queen Streets. The telephone number is (64)(9) 303-2724. The fax number is (64-9) 366-0870. See also the Consulate General home page via the Internet at

The U.S. Embassy is located at 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington; the telephone number is (64)(4) 462-6000. The fax number is (64)(4) 471-2380. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington closed on May 15, 1996. All routine consular services and most emergency services are provided by the Consulate General in Auckland.


You may import dogs and cats only via Australia and the U.K. The quarantine requirements of those countries are:

4-month quarantine in Hawaii followed by 1 month's residence then 4-month quarantine in Australia.

6-month quarantine followed by 3 month's residence.

Imported dogs and cats are not quarantined in New Zealand.

You may import aviary birds from Australia only.

Currency, Banking and Weights and Measures

New Zealand dollar is broken down into 100 cents. Coins in circulation are 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, and 50¢ pieces. Bank notes in use are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

The New Zealand Government's foreign currency regulations do not permit currency transactions on the open market. However, you may purchase local currency with dollar instruments at banks, hotels, and certain stores. Only banks are permitted to reconvert local currency into U.S. dollars. Banks require a 1 day's notice for such transactions.

New Zealand uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Disaster Preparedness

Some heavily populated parts of New Zealand are located in an area of very high seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue to happen. General information regarding disaster preparedness is available via the Internet at, and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home page at


These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published in this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Alley, Roderic. New Zealand and the Pacific. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983.

Bassett. Third Labour Government. Paper. Dunmore Press: 1976.

Binney, Judith, Judith Bassett, and Erik Olssen. The People and the Land: Te Tangata Me Te Whenua: An Illustrated History of New Zealand, 1820-1920. Wellington: Allen and Unwin, 1990.

Bloomfield, G.T. New Zealand: A Handbook of Historical Statistics. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1984.

Chapple, G. 1981 The Tour. Paper. Reeds: 1984.

Clark, M. Beyond Expectations. Wm. Allen& Univen/Port Nicholson: 1986.

Cleveland, L. and Robinson, A. D., eds. Readings in New Zealand Government. Reed: 1972.

Consedine. New Zealand (1984) Ltd. Paper. Four Star Books.

Davidson, J. The Prehistory of New Zealand. Auckland: Longman Paul, 1984.

Davis, P. Health and Health Care in New Zealand. 1981.

Easton. Economics for New Zealand Social Democrats. Paper. McIndoe.

Gould, J. The Rake's Progress? New Zealand Economy since 1945. Auckland: Hodder and Stoughton, 1983.

Hall, D. The Golden Echo: Some Aspects of New Zealand Social History. Auckland: Collins, 1971.

Hawke, Gary. The Making of New Zealand: An Economic History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Henderson, John, Keith Jackson, and Richard Kennaway. Beyond New Zealand: The Foreign Policy of a Small State. Auckland: Methuen, 1980.

Holcroft, M.H. The Shaping of New Zealand. Auckland: Hamlyn, 1974.

Howe, K. R. Where the Waves Fall. Paper. Allen and Unwin: 1984.

Kawharu, H., ed. Waitangi: Contemporary Maori and Pakeha Perspectives on the Treaty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

King, M. Death of the Rainbow Warrior. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986.

. Maori: A Photographic and Social History. Auckland: Heinemann, 1983.

Koopman-Boyden, P. and Scott, C. The Family and Government Policy in New Zealand. Paper. Allen and Unwin: 1984.

Levine, Stephen. The New Zealand Political System. Auckland: George Allen and Unwin, 1979.

. Politics in New Zealand: A Reader. Auckland: George Allen and Unwin, 1978.

Lissington, M.P. New Zealand and the United States 1840-1944. Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1972.

Lodge, J. The European Community and New Zealand. London: F. Pinter, 1982.

McLauchlin, Gordon, ed. New Zealand Encyclopedia. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Sheridan House, 1984.

. The Passionless People: New Zealanders in the 1970s. Auckland: Cassell New Zealand, 1976.

McLennan, R. and Gilbertson, D. Work in New ZealandA Portrait in the 80's. Paper. Reeds: 1984.

McLintock, A.H., ed. An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Wellington: Government Printer, 1966.

Mansfield, Katherine, and Ian A. Gordon, eds. Undiscovered Country: The New Zealand Stories. London: Longman, 1974.

Metge. Maoris of New Zealand. Paper. Routledge and Kegan: 1967.

Morton, Harry. Which Way to New Zealand? McIndoe, Dunedin: 1975.

Mulgan, R. Democracy and Power in New Zealand. Paper. Oxford: 1984.

New Zealand and the United States 1840-1944. New Zealand Government Printer: 1972.

New Zealand Encyclopaedia (of New Zealand General Knowledge). Bateman: 1984.

The New Zealand Official Year Book. R.E. Owen, New Zealand Government Printer: Annual.

Oliver, W.H., and B.R. Williams, eds. The Oxford History of New Zealand. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Orange, C. The Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Allen and Unwin/Port Nicholson Press, 1987.

Owen, A., and J. Perkins. Speaking for Ourselves: Echoes from New Zealand's Past. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986.

Phillips, J. A Man's Country? Auckland: Penguin, 1987.

Rakes, G. ProgressNew Zealand Economy Since 1945. Paper. Hodder and Stoughton: 1982.

Sahlins, Marshall. Islands of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Sargeson, F. Collected Stories. Penguin: 1982.

Schwimmer, E.G. The World of the Maori. Wellington: Reed, 1974.

Simmons, D.R. The Great New Zealand Myth. Wellington: Reed, 1976.

. Whakairo: Maori Tribal Act. 1985.

Simpson, T. A Vision BetrayedDecline of Democracy in New Zealand. Paper. Hodder and Stoughton: 1984.

Sinclair, Keith. A Destiny Apart: New Zealand's Search for National Identity. Wellington: Allen and Unwin/Port Nicholson Press, 1986.

. A Destiny Apart: New Smith, L. Race Relations in New Zealand. a bibliography, 1970-86: 1987.

. A History of New Zealand. Revised and enlarged edition. London: A. Lane, 1980.

Social Policy and Administration in New Zealand. New Zealand University Press, C. A. Oram, Price Milburn: 1969.

Spoonley, E. TauiwiRacism and Ethnicity in New Zealand. Paper. Dunmore Press: 1988.

Webb, S. D. and Collette, J., eds. New Zealand Society: Contemporary Perspectives. Wiley: 1973.

Woods, N. Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration in New Zealand. R.E. Owen, Government Printer: 1963.

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New Zealand




New Zealand is an archipelago (group of islands) located in Oceania, southeast of Australia. The 2 main islands are North Island (Te Ika a Maui) and South Island (Pounamu), with some near on-shore islands and smaller outlying islands including Chatham Islands, Kermadec Islands, and Auckland Islands. Its total land area is 268,670 square kilometers (103,733 square miles), making it about the size of the state of Colorado, with a coastline of 15,134 kilometers (9,404 miles). The capital, Wellington, is located at the south end of North Island.


The population of New Zealand was estimated at 3,862,000 in mid-2000, an increase of 12.4 percent from the 1996 census population of 3,434,950. Between the censuses of 1991 and 1996, New Zealand had the highest rate of growth in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), partly resulting from high levels of immigration , but also as a result of a relatively young population. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 15.3 per 1,000 population while the death rate was 7.8 per 1,000 population. With a projected annual population growth rate of about 1 percent between 1996 and 2010, the population is expected to reach 4,207,000 by 2010.

In most years, New Zealand has a net migration loss of New Zealand citizens who move to Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, so one of the objectives of its recent immigration policy (1987) is to offset this loss with new migrants, preferrably those with skills and investment capital. While migrants from the United Kingdom continued to arrive as they had throughout the 20th century, a significant new migration stream came from Asia especially from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea. These new populations, together with Pacific peoples who arrived in earlier decades, have resulted in an increasingly multicultural society. In 1996 about 72 percent of the population considered themselves of European ethnicity, down from about 81 percent 10 years earlier. The indigenous Maori made up nearly 15 percent of the population, Pacific people 6 percent, and Asians about 5 percent. The Asian population had increased the most rapidly, from only 1.5 percent 10 years earlier.

By most standards, New Zealand is sparsely populated, with an average of only 13 persons per square kilometer. This population is unevenly distributed, with three-quarters on North Island, and one-third in the largest city, Auckland. Over the years, Auckland has grown faster than the rest of the country, being the center of much manufacturing and, more recently, service industries. More than half of all migrants have settled in Auckland, and of new migrants from the Pacific and Asia, about two-thirds have settled there.


Throughout the 20th century, New Zealand has been considered to be a nation of primary production, with exports being predominated by meat, wool, dairy products, timber, and fish. However, by 1999 agricultural exports had declined to about half of all exports, and less than 10 percent of the workforce were employed in agriculture. Nevertheless, agriculture remains an important element in the economy and there have been ongoing moves to diversify the agricultural base. In recent years, horticulture has become more important; significant exports include apples, citrus fruit, kiwifruit, stone fruit, squash, and many other products. Wine production has increased rapidly in the last 2 decades, and New Zealand's reputation for its wines is growing.

Traditional sectors of agriculture still have great potential. With the devaluation of New Zealand's currency in recent years, producers of dairy products, meats, and wool have found their products very competitive on the world market and have increased their incomes substantially. Further, it is expected that as international trade tariffs decline, New Zealand will gain access to markets in which its products will be even more competitive.

Manufacturing has increased dramatically since World War II. With a comparative advantage in food processing, this sector led the post-war manufacturing boom. With the protectionism of the 1950s and 1960s (i.e. high tariffs/taxes on imports), manufacturing diversified into many areas of import substitution , including textiles and footwear, home appliances, furniture, machine construction, automobile assembly, and many others. Following an economic restructuring program that began in 1984 with the election of a new government, some of these industries were exposed to increased international competition with the progressive reduction of tariffs. Some have done well, others have declined, and one has disappeared (the automobile assembly industry).

Most industrialized countries have had the greatest growth in services in the late 20th century. By 1998 in New Zealand, services accounted for 69 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and fully 65 percent of wage and salary employment. Important sectors include government services such as general administration, education, and health. In the private sector , major growth areas have been tourism and specialized services in business advice, real estate, computing, and telecommunications. Tourism is often seen as the industry of the future, and New Zealand has experienced a steady increase in visitor numbers and an expansion of tourist infrastructure . Financial services have been especially affected by deregulation after 1984, and much of that sector has been acquired by foreign corporations.


New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy with the British queen as the nominal head of state. It has a unicameral (1 house) parliament with 120 seats; half of these represent constituencies and the other half are "list" seats. In the mixed member proportional (MMP) system established in 1996, each voter has 2 votes: 1 for the constituency member of parliament and 1 for a party. After the constituencies are declared, the list seats are calculated so that a party's representation in parliament is similar to the party vote that they received in an election. In contrast to the "first past the post" system in which 2 parties predominate (as in the United States), MMP has allowed smaller parties to be represented, although they must either have a constituency member of parliament elected or get a minimum of 5 percent of the national party vote to qualify for list seats.

Throughout the 20th century, until 1996, the political system was dominated by 2 political parties: a conservative party called "National" since the 1930s and a liberal/left wing party called "Labour." The first Labour Party government was elected in 1935 and began constructing a welfare state , building state housing, and investing in health and education. New state enterprises were established. From the 1940s to the 1970s the Labour and National parties exchanged control several times, but the welfare state remained intact. Ironically, the election of a new Labour government in 1984 began a movement to weaken the welfare state and to reduce the role of government in the economy (a "monetarist" approach). The reforms instituted by the new government included progressive tariff reductions, privatization of many state enterprises, and cutbacks in some social services. These policies were pursued and, in some cases, strengthened by the National Party government elected in 1990; for example, there were cutbacks in social welfare payments and more privatizations. It was not until the election of 1999 that some of these policies were slowed or reversed with the election of a coalition government led by the "reformed" Labour Party in coalition with the "left-wing" Alliance Party.

The impact of MMP on the political system has been considerable. The 2 governments elected since 1996 have been coalitions, first of "the right" and then of "the left." In each parliament, several smaller parties have held 5 or more seats and, in some cases, have had an influence on coalition government policy. The smaller parties range from the ACT Party, which advocates more radical "monetarist" reforms than those already undertaken, to the Green Party, which has among its parliamentary members advocates for legalization of marijuana and environmentalists of various types.

Income tax is the largest source of revenue for the government, accounting for 46 percent of all taxes in 1998-99 (with an additional 5 percent withholding tax on interest and dividends). A Goods and Services Tax (GST) was instituted in 1996 and currently stands at 12.5 percent on virtually all goods and services; this tax contributed 26 percent of tax revenue. Company tax contributed only 12 percent to revenue in 1998-99 while the other 11 percent of tax came from various duties . There is a 3-layered income tax system, with income up to NZ$38,000 a year taxed at 19.5 percent, then income above this and up to NZ$60,000 taxed at 33 percent, and income above that is taxed at 39 percent. Companies are taxed at a flat rate of 33 percent.


New Zealand's transport network is relatively modern. Of its 92,075 kilometers (57,086 miles) of roads, about 60 percent are paved, and over US$225 million was spent on road construction and maintenance in 1999. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services and some by rail, but the private car is the predominant mode of transport. There are 3,973 kilometers (2,463 miles) of railways running the length of the country, although these now mostly carry freight rather than

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
New Zealand 216 990 508 1.3 203 N/A 282.1 476.18 700
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Australia 293 1,376 639 43.6 286 48.6 411.6 477.85 6,000
Papua New Guinea 15 97 24 N/A 1 N/A N/A 0.49 2
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

passengers. In North Island about 500 kilometers of the railway network is electrified. Large train/truck/car ferries link the North and South Islands with frequent services.

Throughout the country there are 111 airports, with 44 of these having paved runways. Domestic air services are predominantly provided by 2 airlines: Air New Zealand and Qantas New Zealand (which bought out Ansett New Zealand in 2001). Air New Zealand flies to at least 21 destinations in Australia, Asia, North America, Europe, and the Pacific Islands. In 2000, 24 international passenger airlines and at least 4 freight-only airlines flew into New Zealand. In addition to commercial flying, New Zealand is a global leader in the number of aviators per capita who pilot small, privately-owned aircraft: there is roughly 1 pilot for every 430 people, and 1 aircraft for every 1,170 people. At least 5 ports in the country can service large international shipping.

New Zealand's system of utilities is extensive and modern. Large hydroelectric dams, mainly in South Island, generate about 65 percent of electricity. Most of the rest is generated by fossil fuels, although 6 percent comes from geothermal plants, and small amounts from wind, wood, and biogas. Gas is piped from oilfields in the west of North Island, mostly to larger population centers.

The telephone system is modern and extensive with 96 percent of New Zealand households having a telephone in 1996. In 2000, about 30 percent of New Zealanders also had a cellular phone. As part of the privatization program of the 1980s, the telephone system was sold to a consortium of American companies. Currently, Telecom is the largest operator, but other companies have entered this very lucrative market.

In 1999 there were at least 80 Internet service providers in New Zealand and in the following year over 1 million Internet users; around 52 percent of the population had some sort of Internet access. In 2000 there were 46,000 .nz domain names, although some New Zealand websites also used generic names such as .com and .org.


Despite its reputation as a country of primary production, the contribution of agriculture, fishing, and hunting to New Zealand's gross domestic product was only 8.4 percent in 1999. This proportion has been slowly declining since the early 1980s. The relative decline in industry has been even more dramatic, falling from 32.1 percent in 1975 to 23.2 percent of GDP in 1999. This has been partly a result of economic restructuring under which tariffs have been dramatically reduced on manufactured imports, but it also follows the trend in most industrialized countries away from manufacturing and other sectors in "industry" to services. However, the growth of the latter has not been great in relative terms in New Zealand. Services have increased only slightly from 45.3 percent in 1975 to 47.2 percent of GDP in 1999. Aspects of the economy which do not fit into the 3 service sector categories have increased the most over the last quarter century. These include general government transactions and the increasing value of owner-occupied dwellings.


New Zealand has been considered an agricultural country since the 19th century, when the introduction of refrigerated transport allowed its sheep and dairy industries to expand to provide the United Kingdom with meat, wool, butter, and other agricultural products. Throughout the 20th century agricultural imports have remained important to the New Zealand economy, contributing 50 percent of all export income in 1999. At the same time, with increasing mechanization and the rapid growth of other sectors, the proportion of the population working in agriculture (including fishing and forestry) declined steadily from about 37 percent in 1901 to 9.4 percent in 1999.

Pastoral farming involves the raising of sheep, cattle, and more recently other animals such as deer and goats. An often-heard statistic is that there are 20 sheep for every person in New Zealand, and this was true in 1981 when there were 80 million sheep on the land. As other types of farming have become popular, the number of sheep has declined to 45 million, so there are only about 12 sheep per person now. There are also about 5 million beef cattle, 4 million dairy cattle, and 1.2 million domestic deer. Sheep and beef meats comprised 12.5 percent of exports in 1999 and are processed at plants in various parts of the country for shipment to many parts of the world, notably Europe and North America, but also increasingly Asia. Wool is also an important export, and while Europe is the traditional destination for this export, increasing amounts are going to China for processing.

In terms of export income, dairy products have the highest value of agricultural products, making up 17 percent of exports in 1999. Dairy farms are found throughout the country, but certain areas are particularly well known as dairying areas, such as Waikato and Taranaki in North Island. The supply of fresh milk to New Zealanders explains the location of dairy farms near larger towns, but most dairy production is destined for international markets, and farms which produce for this market must locate wherever production conditions allow. There are a range of dairy products exported, but the most important are butter, cheese, and milk powders. The market for these products is wide; for example, in 1999 there were exports to all continents, with substantial quantities going to Latin America and Africa.

After pastoral farming, the next most important type of farming is horticulture, the growing of fruits and vegetables. New Zealand's climate is suitable for a large variety of fruit ranging from temperate fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries, to subtropicals such as avocados, passionfruit, grapes, and kiwifruit, as well as many other citrus fruits. In terms of area planted and exports sales, the 2 most important of these in recent years have been apples and kiwifruit. The latter were rebranded from Chinese gooseberry when New Zealand producers started commercial production, and then controlled most of the world supply of this fruit in the early 1980s. Since that time, many other countries have started growing kiwifruit, and the New Zealand industry had a difficult time in the 1990s with problems of oversupply and low world prices (at least compared to the 1980s).

Another important and rapidly growing part of the horticultural industry is grape growing, especially for production of wine. Although wine has been produced in New Zealand for 150 years, the growth of the wine industry has been most dramatic in the last 20 years. The land area in grape production has steadily increased and the areas of production have diversified so that drinkable wine is now produced near the northern tip of the country as well as in the south-central area of South Island. Favored grape varieties include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, and chardonnay, but New Zealand has become best known for its sauvignon blanc. The most important destinations for New Zealand wine are the United Kingdom and Australia.


Products based on the forestry industry, including logs, processed wood, wood pulp, and paper, make up just over 10 percent of exports by value. In the past, logging has taken place in the indigenous forests of New Zealand, but the depletion of these forests and the strong political support for their conservation have resulted in an end to this practice. The timber industry is now centered on the exotic forests, mainly of pine, first planted during the depression of the 1930s, but much expanded from the 1970s onwards. The original planting was done by the state, but in recent years private companies have undertaken nearly all new planting. The largest forests are in the center of North Island, but smaller plantations are found in various parts of the country. The main destinations for forestry products are Australia, Japan, Korea, and the United States, and while a great deal of processing takes place in New Zealand, there is also a large trade in unprocessed logs.


New Zealand has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.3 million square nautical miles, an area about 15 times its land mass (the EEZ extends 200 miles from the coast and is the area in which a country has rights to economic resources such as fish). However, in much of this area the waters are extremely deep and not suitable for many of the commercially significant fish species. Nevertheless, fishing is still an important industry accounting for about 5 percent of exports, as well as supplying the domestic market. Each year the government assesses the maximum sustainable yields of each major species and sets a quota which is divided up between those who hold quota rights. The fishing fleet is made up of foreign-based boats as well as those based in New Zealand, which process their catch within the country. The indigenous Maori have some traditional fishing rights which are separate from the quota system, but in recent years Maori corporations have also become important in the commercial industry, having bought a company which owns about one-third of the fishing quota. A growing part of the fishing industry more generally is aquaculture, especially the cultivation of salmon, green-shell mussels, and Pacific oysters.



There is a diverse range of minerals found in New Zealand, although minerals make up only about 3 percent of exports (not counting the export of aluminum; see below). Gold has been mined since the 19th century and there is a small but steady production, as well as of silver, which is usually associated with gold. The highest value mineral production is of iron and steel, processed from black ironsands on the west coast of North Island. A nearby smelter provides iron and steel for the domestic market as well as for export. At the southern tip of South Island is a large aluminum smelter which processes bauxite from Queensland using power from nearby hydroelectric stations. The output from this smelter accounted for 4.2 percent of exports in 1999.


Manufacturing employed the full time equivalent of 234,220 people in 1999, but this number has fluctuated considerably through time. The processing of food products has been a significant part of manufacturing throughout the 20th century, but it was after World War II that many other types developed when the government placed high tariffs on most imports. As part of the economic restructuring from 1984 onwards, that process has been reversed with a rapid reduction in tariffs on most imported manufactured goods. Often these imported manufactures come from countries with low labor costs, and New Zealand manufacturing enterprises are not able to compete on the basis of price. In some cases New Zealand industries benefitted from lower input costs, although a considerable amount of the raw materials originated in the country, and there was little saving in the costs of production. This has resulted in the decline of some sectors such as clothing and footwear and the closure of the automotive assembly industry. The impacts on other sectors have varied. The processing of food has a comparative advantage related to the strength and diversity of agricultural production in New Zealand and the fact that most food processing takes place near a source of supply. Still there has been some restructuring of this sector related to technological changes and to changing company structures (e.g. the purchase of Watties Industries by the transnational company Heinz). New Zealand has established a reputation for the production of carpets, especially those made with high quality wool. Sectors supplying the construction industry have done well during the 1990s under conditions of rapid population growth, especially in the Auckland region. With its ongoing successes in international yachting, New Zealand is also establishing a reputation for the construction of both hi-tech sailing yachts and luxury leisure boats.



Consistent with a worldwide trend, tourism has been rapidly growing in New Zealand. In 1970, there were less than 200,000 visitors each year to New Zealand, but in 1999 this number surpassed 1.5 million. About half of these can be considered as tourists, the other half being involved with business, visiting friends and relatives and other activities (although even these are likely to be "partly tourists"). The economic impacts of tourism are great, although they are difficult to measure because tourism has an impact in many different economic sectors. In 1995 it was estimated that tourism provided about 58,000 full-time equivalent jobs directly and 60,000 indirectly. In the same year it brought in about NZ$4.3 billion (US$2.7 billion), more than all dairy exports (the largest agricultural export sector).

Tourism in New Zealand is based on a variety of attractions. Most generally the country is seen as having many natural assets, including mountains, subtropical forests, beautiful beaches, active volcanoes, geothermal pools, and geysers. Many also come to see the culture of the indigenous Maori, which is expressed in many ways, including dance and art. As international tourism has become more competitive and diverse, tourists tend to demand a broad range of attractions, so dynamic urban spaces may also be seen to be part of the total tourist experience. Thus, for example, the waterfront village in Auckland built to host New Zealand's defense of the America's Cup has become an important part of the tourist infrastructure, as has the spectacular new national museum in Wellington, Te Papa. Other forms of tourism are also expanding. Eco-tourists come to watch whales and dolphins or simply to walk in the forests. New Zealand has also become well known for adventure tourism with such sports as bungee jumping, white water rafting, and hang-gliding.


Since the economic restructuring which started in 1984, there has been considerable change in the financial sector. Most controls on the financial sector were removed and there has been a rapid growth in the money market since then, especially in relation to foreign exchange. New financial institutions entered the country, and foreign investment in the financial sector accelerated, as it did in other sectors. By 1999 there were 18 banks registered in New Zealand, only 1 of which was wholly New Zealand owned. About 70 percent of this foreign ownership was Australian. In 2001 the coalition government was set to introduce a state-owned enterprise "People's Bank" which would use the existing network of New Zealand Post outlets.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has several roles: 1) operating monetary policy to maintain price stability, 2) maintaining an efficient financial system, and 3) meeting currency needs. Thus, despite the distancing of the government from intervention in the financial system, the Reserve Bank may intervene to stabilize the currency or influence interest rates or the rate of inflation .


Wholesale and retail trade accounted for about 16 percent of GDP in 1999. During the 1990s the parts of the retail sector that grew most rapidly were food retailing, accommodation, hotels, liquor, cafes, restaurants, and takeaways. The 2 major factors in stimulating these sub-sectors were increases in tourist numbers and changing lifestyles among New Zealanders to favor more convenience foods, eating out, and diversity of food choice. These are trends common to other industrial countries. Other parts of the retail sector are also following international trends. The move to suburban shopping malls has taken place for several decades, but a relatively recent variation is the "mega-mall" with huge barn-like stores, each catering to a particular range of products (electronics, home furnishings, sports, etc.). At the same time, huge cut-price department stores have undercut traditional department stores. In New Zealand the most successful of these has been The Warehouse whose success is similar to that of Wal-Mart in the United States.

Another international trend experienced in New Zealand in the last 2 decades is international franchising. International brand names introduced during that period include McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Planet Hollywood, Borders, and Body Shop. Of course, the same trend has occurred for specific product lines.


Over the years, New Zealand has tended to import more than it exports, but the trade imbalance is relatively small.

The major destinations of New Zealand's exports, in order of importance, are Australia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, and China. The products exported to each of these countries varies considerably. For example, there is a great contrast between Australia and United States. Since Australia produces many of the same agricultural products as New Zealand, the most important exports are manufactures such as machinery, textiles, and paper products, as well as wood and mineral fuels. Exports to the United States, however, are more agricultural: meat, dairy products, fish, fruit, and nuts, followed by specialized manufactures. There is a mixture of agricultural and manufactured products flowing to Japan, while to the United Kingdom the pattern is similar to the United States.

The sources of New Zealand's imports are similar to the export destinations: Australia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, and United Kingdom. From Australia, New Zealand imports products in many of the same categories as it exports, mainly fuels and manufactures. From the United States the most important imports are machinery, aircraft, plastics, and vehicles. More than half of the imports from Japan are of vehicles, with various types of machinery making most of the rest. Through the 1990s, as trade tariffs have been reduced, New Zealand's trade within Asian countries, especially China, has increased and is likely to increase further.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): New Zealand
Exports Imports
1975 2.162 3.155
1980 5.421 5.472
1985 5.720 5.992
1990 9.488 9.501
1995 13.738 13.958
1998 12.070 12.496
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.
Exchange rates: New Zealand
New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1
Jan 2001 2.2502
2000 2.1863
1999 1.8886
1998 1.8632
1997 1.5083
1996 1.4543
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].


A floating exchange rate was adopted in 1985 as part of the economic restructuring started the previous year. Before that time, the exchange rate was controlled in relation to a basket of currencies, and in 1984 it appeared that the New Zealand dollar was overvalued, since it was held at a value higher than was justified in terms of the country's trade and investment transactions. Through the 1990s the exchange rate has fluctuated, but from 1996 it has been steadily devalued against the American dollar, a process accelerated during 2000. The impact on the rate of inflation in the late 1990s was not as great as might be expected. One reason was that there was still a downward trend in the price of many manufactures, and many of these originated in countries whose currencies were also declining against the American dollar. Even for products originating in the United States, such as computer software, companies often kept prices down to remain competitive.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange is the only one in the country. At the beginning of 1999 there were 146 New Zealand companies and 83 overseas companies listed with the exchange. There are 3 types of stocks bought and sold on this exchange: company shares, bonds, and debentures and other loans, although the bulk of the trading is in the first of these.


According to United Nations Development Program 's (UNDP) Human Development Indicator (HDI), New Zealand ranked 19th on the list of countries in terms of education, health, and the quality of life in 2001. This ranking is lower than it once was, but still definitely qualifies New Zealand as one of the world's "wealthy" countries. In terms of per capita GDP it is substantially below the American level, although between 1975 and 1998 real GDP per capita showed steady growth.

In the past, New Zealand has had a reputation as an equitable society because it was the first country in the

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
New Zealand 14,005 13,961 15,416 15,026 16,427
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Australia 14,317 15,721 17,078 18,023 21,881
Papua New Guinea 1,048 975 936 888 1,085
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

world to give women the vote (1893), and it was one of the first to develop a welfare state, among other things. Yet a look at the income distribution in 1996 reveals that income is very unequally distributed, with the lowest 20 percent of income earners accounting for only 2.4 percent of all income, while the top 20 percent earned 51.8 percent, and the top 10 percent more than one-third of the total. A comparison of the data for 5 years earlier shows that in each of these last 2 categories the percentages have increased by nearly 5 percent (from 46.9 and 29.8 percent, respectively).

When gender differences are considered, it is shown that in the top 10 percent of income earners, only 22 percent are females. Although the equivalent comparison is not available by ethnicity, a comparison of median income is clear: men of European ethnic background earned 20 percent more than Maori men and 38 percent more than those of Pacific island origin.

Inequalities in income have existed for a very long time and result partly from large wage differences between professionals and managers on the one hand and unskilled laborers on the other. Minority ethnic groups and women tend to hold a disproportionate number of jobs in certain sectors, often those that are most vulnerable to economic change, such as seasonal work (e.g. fruit harvesting, food processing) and casual work (e.g. outwork

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: New Zealand
Lowest 10% 0.3
Lowest 20% 2.7
Second 20% 10.0
Third 20% 16.3
Fourth 20% 24.1
Highest 20% 46.9
Highest 10% 29.8
Survey year: 1991
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
New Zealand 21 5 12a 3 2 8 49
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Australia 24 5 9 2 16 9 36
Papua New Guinea N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

on clothing). In New Zealand the restructuring which took place after 1984 had a considerable impact on work patterns, with many becoming unemployed in the private sector as tariffs were lowered or subsidies withdrawn, and in the public sector as government services were reduced. In the late 1980s ethnic minorities in particular were affected, with unemployment rates 2 or 3 times the national average. Workers were also affected by changes in labor legislation which reduced the power of unions (see Working Conditions section). On the other hand, many investors made large profits in the recently deregulated finance sector.


Many of the reforms that resulted in a welfare state in New Zealand were brought into effect in the 1930s and again in the 1970s by the Labour Party, which was strongly supported by labor unions. This suggests that labor unions were quite powerful in some periods. However, as the economy became increasingly service-oriented the power of the traditional unionsassociated with unskilled and semi-skilled workersdeclined. In 1991, a new National Party (conservative) government brought in the Employment Contracts Act (ECA), which weakened the power of labor unions. In particular it abolished compulsory unionism in which, if a high proportion of workers in a workplace voted to have a union represent them, then all workers were obliged to join. It also made it more difficult to take strike action, restricted the rights of union representatives to enter a workplace, and instituted several other restrictions which ultimately weakened union power. Soon after the Labour Party was elected in 1999, new legislation, the Employment Relations Act, overturned some aspects of the ECA once again increasing the role of unions in the workplace.

Working conditions are regulated by several acts of parliament. The minimum wage in 2000 was NZ$7 an hour for adult workers and NZ$4.20 an hour for those aged 16 to 19. Minimum annual leave after 1 year of employment is 3 weeks, and there are 11 public holidays a year for which a worker must be paid if they fall on days which would otherwise be working days for them (Christmas and New Year's Day must be compensated regardless). The number of hours in the workweek are not legislated, but must be outlined as part of an employment contract; if nothing is explicitly stated in the contract, it defaults to a 40-hour workweek. Parental leave is available to either a mother or a father, and time periods vary according to particular conditions. Parental leave is currently unpaid, but under debate during 2001 is a more comprehensive system of paid parental leave.


1300 A.D. Evidence of human habitation on Aotearoa (New Zealand).

1642. Dutchman Tasman first European to sight "Staten Landt" later renamed "Nieuw Zeeland."

1769. James Cook claims country for Great Britain.

1790s-1800s. Ongoing Maori-European (Pakeha) contacts: whaling, timber, spread of disease.

1840. Treaty of Waitangi between British Crown and many Maori chiefs cedes some political powers to British but maintains indigenous rights in perpetuity.

1860s. Land wars fought between Maori and British administration/settlers; Maori armed resistance ends in 1872 after loss of much land.

1882. First shipment of frozen meat to England.

1907. New Zealand becomes a dominion.

1914-18. World War I; New Zealand takes over Samoa from Germany.

1935. First Labour government elected; state housing program started.

1939-45. World War II; New Zealand troops in Africa, Europe, Pacific; bulk purchases of farm produce for war effort.

1950s. Manufacturing industry expands; Maori urbanization for employment; beginning of substantial Pacific immigration.

1960s. National government in power; open access to British market for farm products.

1972-75. Labour government in power.

1975-84. National government in power; New Zealand butter quotas set by European Commission; wage and price freeze.

1984-91. Labour government undertakes economic restructuring including reduction of tariffs, abolition of subsidies to agriculture, regions etc., privatization, reduction of government services.

1987. International and New Zealand stock market crash following period of much property speculation in New Zealand.

1991-99. National coalition government in power; Employment Contracts Act introduced; welfare benefits cut; further privatization.

1999. Labour-Alliance coalition government elected on reformed policies focusing on preservation of government services, more pro-labor stance.


At the turn of the century there were mixed feelings about the economic future of New Zealand. The country has been quite successful in diversifying its agricultural base, and there is optimism that international trade liberalization will benefit producers who are efficient by world standards. There is an ongoing focus on identifying new niche markets whether they are in new varieties of wine, more exotic varieties of subtropical fruit, or in ostrich feathers. In the manufacturing sector there is ongoing concern about the degree to which New Zealand industries can compete with countries with low labor costs in Asia and elsewhere. Once again, there is some optimism that niche markets will boost manufacturing, with recent examples including carpet weaving and yacht construction. At the same time, there are regular reminders of the problems of global trade liberalization, with factories being closed or relocated to other countries which have lower rates of pay and government subsidies.

Further hope is found in the service sector. In particular, tourism is likely to continue to expand, although to some extent this may depend on the cost of international air travel. If airfares continue to decline in real terms as they have for some years, that will benefit New Zealand, distant as it is from major markets. However, if prices are increased substantially by fuel increases or the impact of global alliances, then New Zealand's tourism future may be more problematic. There have also been some successes in areas of high technology such as the software industry, and if New Zealand manages to fulfill its objective of achieving a "high knowledge" economy there are likely to be many other possibilities.

There are also areas of concern or even pessimism. For some, the socioeconomic inequalities which have increased during the period of economic restructuring are likely to increase under ongoing trade and investment liberalization. The restructuring has driven down wages for unskilled workers while at the same time provided large profits for investors in some sectors. The way in which these issues are resolved will depend on the economic and social policies of the new government.


New Zealand has no territories or colonies.


Asia Pacific Viewpoint (special edition on New Zealand economy). Vol. 26, No. 2, 2000.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: New Zealand. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Statistics New Zealand. New Zealand Official Yearbook 2000. Wellington: Statistics N.Z., 2000.

Statistics New Zealand. People and Places. Wellington: StatisticsN.Z., 1997.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://>. Accessed August 2001.

Wardlow Friesen




New Zealand dollar (NZ$). One dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and of 1 and 2 dollars. Notes are of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.


Dairy products, meat, forestry products, fish, fruit and nuts, wool, manufactures.


Mechanical machinery, vehicles, electrical machinery, fuels, plastics, technical equipment, aircraft, paper products, pharmaceuticals.


US$63.8 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$12.2 billion (f.o.b., 1998). Imports: US$11.2 billion (f.o.b., 1998).

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New Zealand

New Zealand

Basic Data

Official Country Name: New Zealand
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 3,864,129
Language(s): English (official), Maori (official)
Literacy rate: 99.0%
Area: 268,680 sq km
GDP: 49,903 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 26
Total Circulation: 777,000
Circulation per 1,000: 223
Number of Nondaily Newspapers: 10
Total Circulation: 71,000
Circulation per 1,000: 21
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 580 (New Zealand $ millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 39.60
Number of Television Stations: 41
Number of Television Sets: 1,926,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 498.4
Number of Cable Subscribers: 16,720
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 4.4
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 53,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 13.7
Number of Radio Stations: 418
Number of Radio Receivers: 3,750,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 970.5
Number of Individuals with Computers: 1,380,000
Computers per 1,000: 357.1
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 830,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 214.8

Background & General Characteristics


In 1642 a Dutch expedition led by Abel Tasman made the first European contact with Aotearoa. Tasman named his discovery Staten Land, believing that it might be part of the Staten Landt discovered in 1616 by Le Maire and Schouten off the southeast coast of South America. However, on his 1645 world map, Joannes Blaeu renamed it Zeelandia Nova (New Zealand), perhaps to match New Holland, as Australia was then called.

In 1769, on a mission from the British Royal Society to explore the South Pacific, James Cook (1728-79) moored in Poverty Bay, New Zealand. Immediately, Cook and his men had violent encounters with the local Maori, but during the following weeks trading began. Within a month, Cook and his men took possession of New Zealand in the name of George III. In his six months there, Cook charted and wrote notes on New Zealand, which he soon learned consisted of two islands and was not a continent as he had assumed. Cook's writings formed the basis for reports to the British Crown, and some of the material eventually appeared in London newspapers.

In 1840, the founding document of New Zealand was signed. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by 45 Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown, including Captain William Hobson and several English residents. This document extended authority to the Crown over parts of both North and South Island. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the treaty has been increasingly important in terms of the law, politics, and mass media coverage. Past breaches of the treaty have been corrected with restitution, and the treaty has been used successfully to lay claim to intangible assets, such as segments of the broadcast spectrum that as of 2002 had been allocated to Maori groups for their own radio and television services.

Nature of the Audience

The Maori was the main ethnic group in New Zealand when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Population numbers ranged from 200,000 to 250,000, but by the twentieth century swamped by the land hungry British colonists and the outbreak of European diseases, the Maori population had dwindled to 42,000. In the 1990s, the Maori population began to increase and the native language and media outlets were being revived.

As of the early 2000s, the literacy rate in New Zealand was very high with 99 percent of total population (3,864,129) over the age of 15 able read and write. English and the aboriginal language Maori are both official languages of New Zealand. The ethnic categories were as follows: New Zealand European, 74.5 percent; Maori, 9.7 percent; other European, 4.6 percent; Pacific Islander, 3.8 percent, and Asian and others 7.4 percent. Approximately 67 percent are Christian (of those, 24 percent are Anglican), and the remaining 33 percent are indigenous or other. As of 2002, about 80 percent of the population lived in urban areas.


As of the early 2000s, New Zealand had a parliamentary democracy with a judiciary system based on English law. It also had special land legislation and land courts for the aboriginals, the Maoris. New Zealand has no written constitution in the form of a single document but rather uses a number of Basic Laws, one of which is the Treaty of Waitangi.

New Zealand has several political parties. As of 2002, they were: the ACT, New Zealand; Alliance (a coalition of the Labor Party, Democratic Party, New Zealand Liberal Party, and Mana Motuhake); the Green Party; the National Party (NP); the New Zealand First Party (NZFP); the New Zealand Labor Party (NZLP); and the United New Zealand (UNZ).

History of Journalism

In one sense, print culture began in New Zealand when Captain Cook wrote about the islands and sent his reports back to England. Much later, the colonialist Thomas Bracken, a publisher, editor, and author of New Zealand's national anthem, formed the New Zealand Paper Mills. Like printers in other British colonies, he worked under British government oversight and censorship.

As of 2002, New Zealand's newspaper industry was robust. It included 48 dailies, 10 Sunday papers, 96 regional papers, and 243 free newspapers. Major newspaper groups included the Dublin-controlled company which owned Wilson and Horton, the publisher of the largest paper, the Auckland based New Zealand Herald. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp controlled the Independent News Limited (INL), which published major dailies in Hamilton, Wellington (New Zealand's capitol), and Christchurch, two Sunday papers, and many provincial papers. Other allied news monitoring bodies included the Newspaper Publishers Association, the New Zealand Press Association, the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, the Advertising Standards Authority, the New Zealand Press Council, and the New Zealand Journalists Training Organization.

Newspapers in Circulation

Daily newspapers are numerous in relation to population size. As of the early 2000s, there were 26 daily newspapers, of which 18 were evening papers, nearly all of them published in provincial towns and cities. Of the eight morning dailies, the Auckland-based New Zealand Herald had the largest circulation of about 200,000 copies daily. In provinces the largest paper was Hamilton's Waikato Times with a circulation of 40,000. Other daily newspapers had circulations ranging from about 2,400 to about 100,000. On a typical day more than 1.7 million New Zealanders over the age of 10 read a newspaper, and New Zealanders spend approximately $4.0 million per week on their daily newspapers (including Sunday papers). Moreover, there are a significant number of a afternoon newspapers, which is against the international trend shifting to morning newspapers in order not to conflict with popular evening newscasts.

The two Sunday newspapers, the Sunday Star Times and the Sunday News, were as of 2002 both published by Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) and then distributed nationwide. The Sunday Star Times, a broadsheet, had a 2000 paper circulation of nearly 200,000. In addition, New Zealand had 120 community papers, many of which were tabloid style, and at least 700 magazines published in New Zealand along with about 4,000 imported ones.

Ten Largest Newspapers by Circulation

The ten largest papers are, in order, the New Zealand Herald (210,000); The Press, owned by INL (91,000); The Dominion, another INL property (68,000); The Evening Post, also INL (56,000); Otago Daily Times, owned by Allied Press (43,000); Waikato Times, owned by INL (41,000); Hawke's Bay Today a Wilson and Horton property (31,000); The Southland Times, INL (30,000); The Daily News, INL (26,000); and the Bay of Plenty Times, Wilson and Horton (21,000). These papers are all broadsheets with an average cost of US$0.45. The three most influential newspapers are the New Zealand Herald, The Press, and The Dominion.

Economic Framework

Overview of Economic Climate

Since 1984 the government has accomplished major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access toward a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth boosted real incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. In the early 2000s, inflation rates remained among the lowest in the industrial world. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was moving toward the levels of the big West European economies. However, New Zealand's heavy dependence on trade leaves its growth prospects vulnerable to economic performance in Asia, Europe, and the United States. With the 2000-2001 budget pushing up pension and other public outlays, the government's ability to meet fiscal targets depended on sustained economic growth. Over all the New Zealand media industry was healthy and in the process of recovering advertising revenue which dipped following September 11, 2001.

Top Publishing Companies

In the early 2000s, the majority of New Zealand's newspapers were owned by two large groups, Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) and Wilson and Horton Limited. INL also controlled the major Sunday papers. Allied Press of Dunedin, which owned six papers, was a distant third. Moreover, almost all metropolitan and provincial newspapers across New Zealand were foreign owned by groups with headquarters in Australia or Ireland.

Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) was the largest media company in New Zealand. The company emerged from the Wellington Publishing Company (WPC) that was founded in 1906 to publish Wellington's morning daily, The Dominion. In 1970 WPC made a successful takeover bid for Truth (NZ) Ltd., and the following year it acquired Independent Publishers Ltd., owner of the Waikato Times. In 1972 Independent Publishers Ltd. took over Blundell Bros. Ltd., publisher of Wellington's Evening Post. Later that year the company changed its name to Independent Newspapers Limited. Over the last two decades of the twentieth century, INL bought up other papers, for example, the Evening Standard, theSouthland Times, and the Timaru Herald. It bought Tara-naki Newspapers Ltd. and part of NZ News Ltd., which included the Auckland Star (eventually closed), the Sun day Star, and the Suburban Newspapers (Auckland), New Zealand's largest group of free community newspapers. In 1993, INL acquired the Nelson Evening Mail. By the new millennium, INL owned more than 80 daily, Sunday, community, suburban, and weekly newspaper titles, magazines, and specialist publications and was itself part of News Corporation of Australia.

The largest regional newspaper publisher, Wilson and Horton, had 58 percent of the New Zealand newspaper market. It published 8 paid regional newspapers and over 30 free community newspapers. The company operated in four key areas: newspaper publishing; new Internet-based media; specialist publishing (including two leading weekly magazines); and commercial printing under the umbrella of its subsidiary, W & H Print Ltd. Wilson and Horton are part of the global media company, the Irish based Independent News & Media, which operates in Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe. In addition, community newspapers in New Zealand are usually owned by individuals, families, or by small companies.

Major Unions

In 1909, Sir Harry Britain, the brainchild of the Commonwealth Press Union, successfully organized the first Imperial Press Conference. Soon afterwards, he founded the Empire Press Union, which then later became the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU). As of the early 2000s, membership included over 1,500 newspapers and news agencies from 49 British Commonwealth countries.

CPU's objectives are to uphold the ideas and values of the Commonwealth and to promote, through the press, understanding and goodwill among members of the Commonwealth. The union also wants to advance the freedom, interests, and welfare of the Commonwealth press and those working within it by the monitoring and opposing all measures and proposals likely to affect the freedom of the press in any part of the Commonwealth. The union also works to improve facilities for reporting and transmitting news and training of media personnel. It is not, however, a bargaining agent on behalf of journalists. In addition, the New Zealand Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (NZEPMU), as of 2002, was New Zealand's largest union, representing 52,000 workers in 11 industry sectors, including postal and telecommunication workers. This union has a tradition of supporting training and education in related fields.

Press Laws

In New Zealand, with its strong traditions of freedom of the press and freedom of speech, there are still several legal areas that influence the mass media. Some of the laws relate to copyright, defamation, contempt of court, breach of trust, regulations on the reporting of Parliament and their committees, and finally laws regarding freedom of information (openness). Many of these areas are also affected by the evolving common law traditions of the nation as they apply to the media and journalists.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights contains a brief reference to press freedom in section 14: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form." Also, as of 2002, five pieces of legislation had both direct and indirect bearing on press laws: the Official Information Act 1982; the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987; the Broadcasting Act 1989; Defamation Act 1992; and the Privacy Act 1993. The Official Information Acts of 1982 and 1987 can force the release of much information held by central and local governments. But a privacy act prohibits the release of personal information about individuals unless prior approval of the individual(s) is obtained. Violating these laws can lead to civil or criminal penalties, monetary damages, and various injunctions. Also, some of the measures apply to the owners of the media, while others apply to journalists themselves.

In New Zealand the Newspapers and Printers Act of 1955 required all newspapers to be registered with an agent of the national government. In addition the media need to take into account the 1962 Copyright Act, the 1963 Indecent Publications Act, the 1986 Commerce Act (that affects mergers), and a series of amendments to these acts.

These laws notwithstanding, New Zealand had at the beginning of the twenty-first century one of the most open and free presses in the world. There was no censorship. When people disagreed with the print press they had recourse to the compliant procedures of the New Zealand Press Council. In 2000 this Council heard and reviewed a compliant by the Auckland Jewish Council about some letters to the editor dealing with Judaism and decided against the compliant by endorsing a free press philosophy even when the views are extreme. The Council also ruled on a filing by the Monarchist League against an opinion column that claimed that the very rich royal family was taking money from the public purse. The Council also dismissed this complaint stating the a free country needed to rely on the competition of differing ideas.



From as early as 1858, custom agents regulated the import of "indecent" material. Decisions were based on local whim and legislation that was in force at the time in England. In 1892 New Zealand witnessed the first act specifically aimed at censorship, The Offensive Publications Act of 1892. In 1910 the Indecent Publications Act introduced the possibility that a print publication could be judged as having "literary, scientific, or artistic merit." A problem arose with the application by government and the interpretation by the courts. This new act remained in force until 1963 when the Indecent Publications Act was passed. This act created New Zealand's Indecent Publications Tribunal (IPT), which in effect removed censorship from the public service. The five members of the IPT were appointed and then empowered to examine and classify books, magazines, and sound recordings. The IPT was subsequently replaced by other legislation.

As of the early 2000s, New Zealand Press Council (NZPC) was completely funded by the publication industry. The five media representatives were appointed by the newspapers (2), the union (2), and the magazines (1). Journalists were appointed by their organization, the New Zealand Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.A panel that included the chief ombudsman appointed public members. The Press Council's main objectives were to consider complaints against newspapers and other publications, to preserve the established freedom of the New Zealand Press, and to maintain the character of the New Zealand press in accordance with the highest professional standards.

Press Associations

The New Zealand Press Association (NZPA), an organization cooperatively owned by New Zealand's daily newspapers, provides a wide variety of local and international news through cooperative news-exchange arrangements between newspapers in New Zealand and international agreements with Reuters, Australian Associated Press (AAP) and other news organizations around the world. Members of the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) represent all paid and Sunday newspapers in New Zealand. The Association advises members and coordinates their interests in areas such as government affairs, advertising standards, employee relations and human resource management, sponsorship, newsprint purchase and supply.

State-Press Relations

While the central government subsidized the national radio and television networks, such as TVNZ, it attempted to distance itself from any type of editorial control by establishing various boards aimed at keeping the networks objective. Also following the 1999 election of a Labor government, a number of laws favoring unions were reintroduced and a number of labor disputes occurred. For example, the New Zealand Herald in Auckland as well as the Wellington-based New Zealand Press Association, its national news agency, experienced work stoppages that eventually led to new collective agreement.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

In the early 2000s, foreign correspondents had free access to New Zealand's media and the issues concerning the country. The government supported the Western free press position in accord with UNESCO's mass media declaration. Journalists were welcomed to travel about the country and conduct their work with openness and freedom.

Foreign Media Ownership

CanWest Global, an international media company based in Canada with extensive holdings print and electronic media across Canada as well as global media investments in New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland, had as of 2002 extensive holdings in New Zealand. The company owned 100 percent of TV 3 and TV 4. With TV 3 the company sought to be the preeminent sports network in New Zealand, providing, for example, extensive coverage of cricket and rugby. In New Zealand CanWest also controlled all of MORE FM, the top rated commercial network, and RadioWorks NZ, the second largest radio group in New Zealand operating four national radio networks through 27 local radio stations.

News Agencies

Domestic News Agencies

New Zealand's five metropolitan newspapers joined forces as Met Pak to offer a comprehensive range of package buys. National advertisers used them to achieve nearly any campaign objectives they chose. The five metropolitan newspapers in this agency included the following cities: Auckland, Christ-church, Dunedin, and Wellington (with two papers).

As Regional MAX, New Zealand's regional newspapers banded together to offer advertisers over a million potential regional consumers. The agency offered customers a choice of four packs with the maximum flexibility among their 17 Regional MAX dailies. The service was free, and it provided fast access to planning and costs with only one phone call. The newspapers take advantage of significant savings. There are several newspapers that belong to Regional MAX.

Foreign News Bureaus

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) was also located in New Zealand. As of 2002, WAN, which began in 1948, consisted of a group of 71 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 100 nations, 13 national and international news agencies, a media foundation, and 7 affiliated regional and worldwide press organizations. The Association represents more than 18,000 publications on five continents. Its major goals include promoting freedom of the press and its economic independence. The association also fosters global communication and helps newspapers in developing countries through training and other cooperation projects. Finally, the Association channels legal, material, and humanitarian aid to victimized publishers and journalists.

Broadcast Media

History of Broadcasting and Its Regulation

New Zealand's first radio broadcast was accomplished on November 17, 1921, by Robert Jack of Otago University in Dunedin. Before that point, radio listeners in New Zealand received broadcasts from other countries, notably the United States. The first set of broadcasting regulations was issued in 1923 under the Post and Telegraph Act of 1920. Under these regulations the country was divided into four numerical transmission regions: the North Island as far south as the Bay of Plenty, the rest of North Island and Nelson province in the South Island, South Island down to Timaru, and the rest of South Island. In 1925 the Radio Broadcasting Company (RBC) began to operate. Between 1927 and 1929, the RBC began to set up relay stations in provincial towns and in country districts. In 1932 the New Zealand Broadcasting Board (NZBB) acquired RBC's assets. The NZBB, a government department, was then put in charge of New Zealand's broadcasting services.

In 1936, newly elected New Zealand prime minister Michael Joseph Savage committed himself to broadcasting and thus the National Broadcasting Service (NBS) was established. A government department, NBS only remained in control until the establishment of an independent body, the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC), in 1962. In 1976, Parliament changed the NZBC's name to the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand (BCNZ). With the name change came other separate entities, the company known in 2002 as Television New Zealand (TV NZ), Radio New Zealand, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), and the New Zealand Listener (the country's largest circulation weekly magazine). Then in 1982 came the testing of FM stereo transmission. In 1988 the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand was replaced with two state-owned enterprises, Radio New Zealand Limited (RNZ) and the Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ).

The Broadcasting Act of 1989 established the Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air) and the Broadcasting Standards Authority. It provided for election broadcasting and restricted the scope for political intervention in the management or programming of TVNZ or RNZ. The Broadcasting Act of 1989 also set up standards and objectives that would be overseen by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

In 1991 the limits on overseas shareholdings in New Zealand broadcasting companies were removed, and then the Broadcasting Amendment Act of 1993 was established to provide funding to promote Maori language and culture through broadcasting. The funding agency, Te Mängai Päho, has primary responsibility for the allocation of public funding for Maori broadcasting. It supports Maori language programming on TVNZ, radio stations and some Maori radio programming available on a networked basis. In 1999, some $8.6 million was allocated to Maori television and an additional $8.1 million was allocated to Maori radio. The money helped fund 20 Maori radio stations and a range of programs.

Radio Broadcasting

Since the broadcasting reforms of 1988-89, the number of registered radio frequencies increased substantially. The Radio Communications Act of 1989 established a market-based system for spectrum management, with up to 20-year tradable spectrum access rights. Such rights encouraged investment in spectrum use and provided for situations where a number of users were possible. All spectrum access rights are allocated by auction. The registration of licenses following allocation establishes the tradable right, which is recorded in a publicly accessible register. An annual administration fee is payable to the Ministry of Economic Development by all registered license holders. As of 2002, most of the available UHF television, FM radio, and AM sound radio frequencies had been allocated. Additional licenses were created, where technically possible, and allocated when there was demand for them.

Public radio

Radio New Zealand, the public radio broadcaster, consists of three non-commercial radio networks: National Radio, Concert FM and the AM Network. It also consists of a short-wave service, Radio New Zealand International, and a news service, Radio New Zealand News and Current Affairs. National Radio and Concert FM are funded through New Zealand On Air and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funds Radio NZ International. Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity.

The Radio Network of New Zealand, formerly the government-owned Radio New Zealand Commercial, commenced operations as a private radio broadcaster in 1996. Made up of 52 stations, it is owned by a consortium comprising the radio, newspaper, and outdoor advertising group Australian Provincial Newspapers Holdings Ltd., U.S. radio and television operator Clear Channel Communications Inc., and local newspaper and publishing group Wilson and Horton Limited.

As of 2002, the Crown reserved AM and FM radio frequencies and UHF television frequencies throughout the country for use by non-commercial broadcasters. AM frequencies have been reserved in all communities with populations of 10,000 or more. Licenses are allocated to appropriate community organizations, which are responsible for ensuring that all interested groups have access to airtime on the frequencies. Use of reserved frequencies is restricted to non-profit activities. Moreover, access radio stations operate on reserved frequencies, and they provide airtime on a non-profit basis to a range of minority groups in the community. In 1999 there were 11 access radio stations operating in New Zealand. The Radio Broadcasters Association (RBA), based in Auckland, represents the private companies operating independent radio stations in all metropolitan and provincial markets, including locally operated, networks and stations.

Television New Zealand (TVNZ) is a state-owned and commercially successful. Its local and international activities include program production, outside broadcast services, multi-media development, merchandising, Teletext, signal distribution, and programming supply. TVNZ is also a transmission consulting service in Australia, southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Since it is state-owned, TVNZ must be socially responsible and provide quality services for its viewers. This responsibility includes providing television programs that reflect and foster New Zealand's identity and culture and are in the overall national interest. TVNZ broadcasts its services to approximately 1.126 million households and has almost 100 percent coverage of the New Zealand population and 70 percent audience share. Its channels broadcast 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The company operates two national channels, TV1 and TV2. TVNZ also has several subsidiary companies.

TV3 Network Services, a privately owned free-to-air network which also operates TV4, is 100 percent owned by CanWest Global Communications. TV3 is a broad-based entertainment channel, which emphasizes current affairs, sport, and local programming. TV4 targets urban New Zealanders in the 15 to 39-year-old age bracket and broadcasts to more than 70 percent of New Zealand. Around 2.3 million people can access the channel.

Sky Television, New Zealand's first pay television network, began broadcasting in 1990. The satellite service provides 22 channels. In August of 1999, SKY had approximately 346,000 residential and 5,000 commercial subscribers. Its terrestrial UHF signal reached over 73 percent of households and virtually all the remaining 325,000 homes were able to receive SKY through a satellite dish. As of 2002 the UHF service provided seven channels over five frequencies: SKY Sport, SKY 1, SKY Movies, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Trackside, and CNN. In addition to these, New Zealand has Prime Television, for British drama and international sports, for example, rugby, soccer and golf; Trackside, for racing and racing results; and cable television, which offers multi-channel TV and telephone and high-speed data services via HFC (hybrid fiber co-axial) cable. The government has reserved UHF frequencies nationwide for the provision of non-commercial (community access) television services.

Electronic News Media

In 2000 there were 1.34 million Internet users and 36 portal providers. There were 12 national Internet press/ media sites and 9 foreign sites based in New Zealand. The leading news and information site, ., is owned and operated by Independent Newspapers Limited and is a gateway to a wide variety of information as well as their media properties. TVNZ also operates its own web site plus 10 direct or indirect related sites. In 2002 New Zealand had over 110,000 separate Internet domains delegated as their national portion of the Internet DNS. This is up from 242 in 1993 and 47,000 in 2000.

Education & Training

Various universities in New Zealand offer courses in or related to journalism. Auckland University of Technology (AUT), School of Communication Studies and Public Relations, for example, offers degree programs in multimedia, radio, and journalism. Taranaki Polytechnic offers a national certificate in Radio Foundation Skills, national diploma in Journalism, and certificates in Radio (on air or business) and in media studies. University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington both offer programs in journalism, as do Unitec and Waikato Polytechnic.

Journalistic Awards and Prizes

Reuters-IUCN Media awards for excellence in environmental reporting. This award is presented to six regions: French-speaking Africa, English-speaking Africa and the Middle East, Europe (West, East, and Central), Latin America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, North America, Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands), and the English Caribbean, and Asia. It recognizes excellence in professional reporting on environmental and sustainable development issues in order to enhance public awareness and also to foster a dialogue between journalists and environmental and development experts, that will encourage informative and high quality reporting based on sound scientific data. Regarding sports journalism awards, the Sir Terry McLean National Sports Journalism Awards are presented by the Hillary Commission for journalists in New Zealand. The Hillary Commission's main role is to fund sporting and active leisure organizations and sports clubs in New Zealand. As for awards given only in New Zealand, there is the New Zealand Sports Journalist of the Year Award, the Philips Award for Sports Reporting, Steinlager Award for Feature Writing, the Spalding Award for Best Columnist, and quite a few others.


The New Zealand mass media constitute a wide spectrum of print, radio, television, and Internet activities. In terms of broadcast media there are two fairly distinct systems, the one public, in the tradition of the BBC, and the others are in private hands that depends on advertising revenues. New Zealand also has an active Press Council and a respected free press system. The future for the media looks bright. It has one of the freest presses in the world as well as a strong commercial sector in both the print and electronic areas. As of 2002, Some concern remained about the proper role and place of Maori media within the larger context of the shifting media landscape.

Significant Dates

  • 1990: Bill of Rights Act passes.
  • 1996: Former Prime Minister Lange sues political columnist for political defamation.
  • 1999: Asian monetary crisis has a negative impact on New Zealand economy indicating Asia's growing economic influence in the region.
  • 2001: TV New Zealand receives new charter.
  • 2001: Ministry for Culture and Heritage announces $1 million fund to promote New Zealand authors and literature.
  • 2002: Television New Zealand bill, to restructure TVNZ as both a public broadcaster and a holding company with two subsidiaries, passes.
  • 2002: Industry and Regional Development Department creates a television and film taskforce to shape an international growth strategy.


Burrows, J. F. News Media Law in New Zealand. Oxford University Press, 1990.

Calder, Peter. "Commish Turns Org Around." Variety 372, no. 10 (19 Oct. 1998): 66.

Day, Patrick. "American Popular Culture and New Zealand Broadcasting: The Reception of Early Radio Serials." Journal of Popular Culture 30, no. 1 (Summer 1996): 203-215.

Ellis, William M. "New Zealand Perceptions of America: The Teaching of American History/American Studies in New Zealand Universities." The Social Science Journal 35, no. 2 (April 1998): 245-252.

Hazell, Robert. "Freedom of Information in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand." Public Administration 67, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 190-212.

McGregor, Judy. Dangerous Democracy: News Media Politics in New Zealand. The Dunmore Press LTD, 1996.

"New Zealand." World Press Freedom Review IPI Report (Dec-Jan 1996): 66.

Roscoe, Jane. "Documenting the Immigrant Nation: Tensions and Contradictions in the Representation of Immigrant Communities in a New Zealand Television Documentary Series." Media, Culture & Society 22, i3 (May 2000): 344-363.

Walker, Peter. "Maori war." Granta no. 58 (Summer 1997): 197-229.

Waller, Gregory A. "The New Zealand Film Commission: Promoting an Industry, Forgoing a National Identity." Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television 16, no. 2 (June 1996): 243-263.

World Press Trends. Paris: World Association of Newspapers (WAN), 2001.

Thomas L. McPhail

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New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand families have experienced changes similar to those of families in other developed nations, including falling marriage and birth rates, more de facto relationships, rising divorce rates, more solo mothers, and increased maternal employment. Yet the cultural composition, isolation, and small population of these islands (less than four million people) have made families different from other English-speaking nations. Because New Zealand is officially bicultural, it is necessary to understand both the family patterns of the original inhabitants (Maori) and the settlers who arrived since the nineteenth century. In addition, we must acknowledge the impact of recent policy reforms on family life, as well as changing public discourse about welfare and families.

Historical Background

According to the 1996 census, Maori comprised about 14.5 percent of the population, which is much larger than the indigenous population of Australia, Canada, or the United States. Historically, Maori lived in extended families, or whanau. Stewart-Hawira (1995, p. 2) notes that whanau is the most fundamental unit of Maori social life and identity. Maori were positioned within their whanau according to birth order, generation, and senior or junior relationship between people of the same gender. These relationships, combined with genealogy, determined who held positions of status and authority (Cram and Pitama 1998).

When British missionaries and settlers came to Aotearoa/New Zealand in the early nineteenth century, they confronted a different family and economic system, one that included extended families, arranged marriages, and tribal guardianship of land rather than ownership by nuclear families. British colonial families consisted mainly of husbands, wives, and their children. Some households contained unmarried siblings, aging parents, and hired help, but migration often isolated families from their kin. Legally, the husband headed the household, and family roles were distinguished by gender and age. Colonial family law largely over-looked the Maori family system, privileging the British nuclear family.

Most early settlers came from Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to find work, establish financial security, and own homes. Not all migrants were voluntary, as some wives came because their husband and relatives wanted to migrate. Women and children were expected to follow (Dalziel 1991; Toynbee 1995). British husbands, wives, and children worked hard to earn a living, as did their Maori neighbors, and many parents raised their children on isolated subsistence farms in rural communities with few services. Birth rates were high, especially among Maori.

Although New Zealand women had won the right to vote in 1893, before other industrialized nations, family roles were determined by gender, and women's participation in paid work was limited after marriage. Both sexes were expected to marry and raise children, and there was little tolerance of nonconformity (Dalziel 1977). Stable, hardworking families were valued, along with physical prowess, masculine sport, gender differentiation, and British culture. Urbanization and industrialization came later to New Zealand than to Britain, and New Zealanders saw themselves as a rural society well into the twentieth century.

Over the years, laws have been reformed to give men and women equal legal rights, and both husband and wife now typically own the family home and other marital property. Nevertheless, symbolic vestiges remain of the patriarchal family, such as the bride being "given away" by her father at the wedding and using her husband's surname after marriage. Despite urbanization and feminism, the social pressure to reproduce remains strong; birth rates are relatively high; and many married mothers with young children still give primacy to family. Nevertheless, many mothers work outside the home, especially part-time, while their children are young.

Cultural Variations

Since the 1970s, immigration increased from various Pacific Islands (including Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, and Fiji), and after the 1980s more Asians came to New Zealand from many countries. Cultural variations remain evident in family structure and practices, and as well as in socioeconomic status. In contemporary New Zealand, two major variations in family structure remain, based on who is considered to be part of the family unit, who is most worthy of loyalty, and how resources will be divided (Fleming 1997). Pakeha (New Zealanders with European origins) tend to organize their families around the married couple and their children sharing the same household. Maori and to an even greater extent Pacific Island peoples (who together comprise about 20% of the population) are more likely than Pakeha to retain extended family ties. For example, the 1996 census indicates that 12.2 percent of Maori and 37 percent of New Zealand Samoans (the largest Pacific group) live in extended family households, compared to 4.3 percent of all New Zealanders.

Family structure also affects perceptions of obligations and priorities and the allocation of financial resources. For Pakeha, family money and household money are essentially the same, and money tends to flow from males to females and from parents to children (Fleming 1997). Paying household bills is given priority over other expenses, such as assistance to relatives or community donations. For Maori couples, the boundaries of the family economy could stretch to include other kin such as cousins and married siblings. For Pacific Island couples, extended family demands often take precedence over household bills and individual needs.

Two-parent families are the most prevalent in New Zealand, yet they accounted for only 45 percent of all families in the 1996 census. Couples without children living in the household comprised 37.3 percent, and one-parent families comprised 17.7 percent of all families. Living with other families or individuals was more prevalent among lone parents, as about one-third of one-parent families shared a household with others. Furthermore, about one-third of Maori lived in one-parent families in 1996 compared to only 12.3 percent of non-Maori New Zealanders. Jackson and Pool (1996) note that Maori family demography differs from Pakeha, which has important policy implications. Maori tend to bear children at an earlier age, and to have higher fertility rates, higher unemployment rates, lower incomes, and lower life expectancy than Pakeha.

In the 1996 census, 6 percent of New Zealanders identified themselves as "Pacific Islands" ethnicity. Meleisea and Schoeffel (1998) suggest that the term is problematic because it ignores the cultural specificity and identities of these groups. The Samoan community comprises half of the Pacific Island population in New Zealand. Census data show a youthful population with a high birth rate. Shared households containing three or more generations are a common feature. Furthermore, about 37 percent of all Samoan children lived in families with no parent employed, which reflects the high poverty rates of many Pacific Island families.

About four-fifths of New Zealanders are of European origin. Increasingly, however, immigrants from Asian countries are bringing new family forms that include overtly patriarchal families and arranged marriages. Yet new immigrants often have fewer children, reducing their fertility to improve their economic status and accommodate wives' employment.

Social Benefits for Families

Before the 1950s, New Zealand was seen as a generous welfare state because it was among the first to introduce a fully state-funded old-age pension (in 1898) and a family allowance (in 1926). New Zealand governments also introduced benefits for widows and deserted wives before Australia did (Baker and Tippin 1999, p. 32). A close examination of how much was being paid and to whom reveals that New Zealand was not as generous as its politicians claimed (McClure 1998). The original family allowance covered only a fraction of child-rearing costs and was paid only to low-income families with three or more children. Furthermore, it was only for married mothers, who needed their husband's signature upon application because this allowance was seen as a supplement to the family wage rather than a payment for care. New Zealand introduced a universal family allowance in the 1940s (along with other English-speaking nations) and in 1973 improved benefits for lone mothers (as did Australia).

In the mid-1980s, the Labor government began a series of reforms designed to improve the flagging economy and reduce public debt. When the conservative National government came to power in the 1990s, they introduced more privatization, electoral reform, university tuition fees, user fees for health services, and major cuts to social assistance (Kelsey 1995; Cheyne et al. 2000). Policy reform was rapid and motivated by economic concerns, but families were expected to adapt. Low-wage workers and people on benefits, in particular, felt the negative effects of cost cutting, including relatively deprived Maori and Pacific Island families and low-income mothers (Shirley et al. 1997).

The National government accelerated social program restructuring throughout the 1990s and gave it an overtly moral emphasis (Higgins 1999). In 1998, the coalition government proposed a Code of Social and Family Responsibility that gave directives to parents in child raising and appeared to blame the poor for their circumstances (Higgins 1999; Larner 1999). A wide consultation process was initiated, but the Code was never enacted into legislation because of public opposition. Nevertheless, the political exercise gave the clear message that the National government did not intend to expand social provision, but rather would focus on welfare-to-work strategies (Baker and Tippin 1999).

Since then, the Labor government has made minor improvements to childcare subsidies, but childcare remains expensive by international standards. There was no paid maternity or parental leave in New Zealand until 2002, which encouraged mothers to opt out of the workforce. Housing standards, child safety records, and average family income are lower than most member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and social benefits tend to be targeted to the poorest families. Walter Korpi (2000) studied eighteen industrialized countries and found that New Zealand ranked eighteenth in terms of government support for dual-earner families and seventeenth in terms of general family support.

Continuing Family Concerns

About 12 percent of New Zealand couples now live together without legal marriage. The divorce rate is now similar to Australia's and Canada's, but many New Zealanders perceive divorce to be rampant and an indication, along with de facto marriage and falling birth rates, of the decline of the family. Conservative political discourse tends to see contemporary families as too small and unstable. In fact, the birth rate tends to be relatively high compared to European nations, and the divorce rate is moderate compared to the United States. Both lone and partnered mothers are less likely to be employed full-time than in North America and many European nations. Although New Zealand families appear traditional to some outsiders, many New Zealanders see family trends as disturbing.

As in other countries, New Zealand youth are moving to cities (especially Auckland) to further their education or to find work, but many remain financially dependent on parents for longer than in previous decades. Most leave New Zealand to travel or live abroad, and many do not return. An increasing percentage of young people acquire large student loans for postsecondary education, but many will be unable to repay this debt until midlife. This is seen as a particular problem for women, Maori, and Pacific Islanders, who tend to receive lower wages. There is considerable public concern that the emigration of young people and the crippling burden of student debt could have future implications for family formation, home ownership, and economic prosperity.

New Zealand families are also becoming diverse. More couples live together without legal marriage, but less than half of one percent reports to be gay or lesbian in the census. Families are also becoming culturally diverse, as immigration draws from more nations. Pacific Island peoples tend to have higher birth rates, which, combined with high Maori rates, will eventually change the face of New Zealand, but many Asian families have low fertility. Nevertheless, public opposition to immigration has encouraged the government to focus on immigrants with employment skills rather than family reunification.

In summary, New Zealand trends in family demography look similar to those in other industrialized countries, but there are also differences. The income gap between families is growing, with lone mothers and Maori and Pacific Island families increasingly disadvantaged. Public discourse emphasizes the importance of marriage, reproduction, and child rearing, and New Zealanders tend to see themselves as a family-friendly society. In fact, the New Zealand approach emphasizes the family as a private institution, offering little material support for parenting or combining work and family.

See also:Extended Families; Family Policy


adair, vivienne, and dixon, robin, eds. (1998). the family in aotearoa new zealand. auckland: addison wesley longman.

baker, maureen. (2001). families, labour and love. sydney: allen & unwin; vancouver, university of british columbia press.

baker, maureen, and tippin, david. (1999). poverty, social assistance and the employability of mothers: restructuring welfare states. toronto: university of toronto press.

cheyne, christine; o'brien, mike; and belgrave, michael. (2000). social policy in aotearoa new zealand. a critical introduction, 2nd edition. auckland: oxford university press.

cram, fiona, and pitama, suzanne. (1998) "ko toku whanau, ko toku mana." in the family in aotearoa new zealand, ed. v. adair and r.dixon. longman: auckland: addison wesley longman.

dalziel, raewyn. (1977). "the colonial helpmeet: women's role and the vote in nineteenth-century new zealand" new zealand journal of history 2(2):112–123.

dalziel, raewyn. (1991) "emigration and kinship: migrants to new plymouth 1840–1843." new zealand journal of history 25(2):112–128.

fleming, robin. (1997). the common purse. auckland: auckland university press.

higgins, jane. (1999). "from welfare to workfare." in redesigning the welfare state in new zealand, ed. j. boston, p. dalziel, and s. st. john. auckland: oxford university press.

jackson, n., and pool, i. (1996). "will the real new zealand family please stand up? substantive and methodological factors affecting research and policy on families and households." social policy journal of new zealand, 6 ( july):148–163.

kelsey, jane. (1995). economic fundamentalism. london: pluto press.

korpi, walter. (2000). "faces of inequality: gender, class, and patterns of inequalities in different types of welfare states." social politics 7(2):127–191.

larner, wendy. (1999). "post-welfare state governance:

towards a code of social and family responsibility." social politics 7(2):244–265.

mcclure, margaret. (1998). a civilised community: a history of social security in new zealand 1898-1998. auckland: auckland university press.

meleisea, m., and schoeffel, p. (1998). "samoan families in new zealand: the cultural context of change." in the family in aotearoa new zealand, ed. vivienne adair and robin dixon. auckland: addison wesley longman.

shirley, ian; koopman-boyden, peggy; pool, ian; and st. john, susan. (1997). "family change and family policy in new zealand." in family change and family policies in great britain, canada, new zealand and the united states, ed. s. kamerman and a. kahn. oxford: clarendon press.

stewart-hawira, m. (1995). whakatupurango ngaro ki te whei ao ki te ao marama: the impact of colonisation on maori whanau. unpublished master's thesis, university of auckland.

toynbee, claire. (1995). her work and his: family, kin, and community in new zealand, 1900-1930. wellington: victoria university press.


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New Zealand


The Maori

Among the Maori, the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, (known by the Maori as "Aotearoa") the spirits of the dead played a prominent role, with the priests (or tohungas ) functioning in a manner quite similar to Spiritualist mediums. Some were born with their gift. Others were devoted to the priestly office by their parents and acquired their power after the fashion of Eastern ecstatics, by prayer, fasting, and contemplation.

Prophets emerged among the Maoris during the early colonization phase of the islands. As Great Britain established hegemony in the land, her officials frequently wrote home that the Maori would never be conquered wholly. Information of the parties sent out to attack them, the color of the boats and the hour when they would arrive, the number of the enemy, and all particulars essential to Maori safety were invariably communicated to the tribes beforehand by their tohungas.

The best prophets and seers among the Maori were female. Christian missionaries tried to account for the extraordinary powers they exhibited. For example, these women listened for the sound of the spirit voice, a common designation that occurred in their communion with the dead. Skeptical observers suggested that the women who practiced such "arts of sorcery, " were really ventriloquists; yet this attempted explanation rarely accounted for the intelligence received.

In his book Old New Zealand (1863), F. E. Maning cites an interesting case of tohungaism. A certain young chief had been appointed registrar of births and deaths, when he suddenly came to a violent end. The book of registries was lost, and much inconvenience ensued. The man's relatives notified their intention of invoking his spirit and invited General Cummings to be present at the ceremony, an invitation he accepted. Cummings's story continues as follows:

"The appointed time came. Fires were lit. The Tohunga repaired to the darkest corner of the room. All was silent, save the sobbing of the sisters of the deceased warrior-chief. There were 30 of us, sitting on the rush-strewn floor, the door shut and the fire now burning down to embers. Suddenly there came a voice out from the partial darkness, 'Salutation, salutation to my family, to my tribe, to you, pakeha, my friend!' Our feelings were taken by storm. The oldest sister screamed, and rushed with extended arms in the direction from whence the voice came. Her brother, seizing, restrained her by main force. Others exclaimed, 'Is it you? Is it you? Truly it is you! aue! aue!' and fell quite insensible upon the floor. The older women and some of the aged men were not moved in the slightest degree, though believing it to be the spirit of the chief.

"Whilst reflecting upon the novelty of the scene, the 'darkness visible' and the deep interest manifest, the spirit spoke again, 'Speak to me my family; speak to me, my tribe: speak to me, the pakeha!' At last the silence gave way, and the brother spoke: 'How is it with you? Is it well with you in that country?' The answer came, though not in the voice of the Tohungamedium, but in strange sepulchral sounds: 'It is well with me; my place is a good place. I have seen our friends; they are all with me!' A woman from another part of the room now anxiously cried out, 'Have you seen my sister?' 'Yes, I have seen her; she is happy in our beautiful country.' 'Tell her my love so great for her will never cease.' 'Yes, I will bear the message.' Here the native woman burst into tears, and my own bosom swelled in sympathy.

"The spirit speaking again, giving directions about property and keepsakes, I thought I would more thoroughly test the genuineness of all this: and I said, 'We cannot find your book with the registered names; where have you concealed it?' The answer came instantly, 'I concealed it between the tahuhu of my house, and the thatch; straight over you, as you go in at the door.' The brother rushed out to see. All was silence. In five minutes he came hurriedly back, with the book in his hand! It astonished me.

"It was now late, and the spirit suddenly said, 'Farewell my family, farewell, my tribe; I go.' Those present breathed an impressive farewell, when the spirit cried out again, from high in the air, 'Farewell!'

"This, though seemingly tragical, is in every respect literally true. But what is that? ventriloquism, the devil, or what!"

Emma Hardinge Britten, in her book Nineteenth Century Miracles (1883), notes:

"The author has herself had several proofs of the Mediumistic power possessed by these 'savages' but as her experiences may be deemed of too personal a character, we shall select our examples from other sources. One of these is furnished by a Mr. Marsden, a person who was well-known in the early days of New Zealand's colonial history, as a miner, who grew rich 'through spiritual communications.' Mr. Marsden was a gentleman who had spent much time amongst the Maoris, and who still keeps a residence in 'the King country,' that isthe district of which they hold control.

"Mr. Marsden informed the author, that his success as a gold miner, was entirely due to a communication he had received through a native woman who claimed to have the power of bringing down spiritsthe Maoris, be it remembered, always insisting that the spirits descend through the air to earth to visit mortals.

"Mr. Marsden had long been prospecting unsuccessfully in the gold regions. He had a friend in partnership with him, to whom he was much attached, but who had been accidentally killed by a fall from a cliff.

"The Spirit of this man came unsolicited, on an occasion when Mr. Marsden was consulting a native seeress, for the purpose of endeavouring to trace out what had become of a valuable watch which he had lost.

"The voice of the Spirit was the first heard in the air, apparently above the roof of the hut in which they sat, calling Mr. Marsden by his familiar name of 'Mars.' Greatly startled by these sounds, several times repeated, at the Medium's command, he remained perfectly still until the voice of his friend speaking in his well-remembered Scotch accent sounded close to his ear, whilst a column of grey misty substance reared itself by his side. This apparition was plainly visible in the subdued light of the hut, to which there was only one open entrance, but no window. Though he was much startled by what he saw and heard, Mr. Marsden had presence of mind enough to gently put his hand through the misty column which remained intact, as if its substance offered no resistance to the touch. Being admonished by an earnest whisper from the Maori woman, who had fallen on her knees before the apparition, to keep still, he obeyed, when a voiceseemingly from an immense distance offyet speaking unmistakably in his friend's Scotch accents, advised him to let the watch alonefor it was irreparably gonebut to go to the stream on the banks of which they had last had a meal together; trace it up for six miles and a half, and then, by following its course amidst the forest, he would come to a pile which would make him rich, if he chose to remain so.

"Whilst he was waiting and listening breathlessly to hear more, Mr. Marsden was startled by a slight detonation at his side. Turning his head he observed that the column of mist was gone, and in its place, a quick flash, like the reflection of a candle, was all that he beheld. Here the séance ended, and the astonished miner left the hut, convinced that he had heard the Spirit of his friend talking with him. He added, that he followed the directions given implicitly, and came to a mass of surface gold lying on the stones at the bottom of the brook in the depth of the forest. This he gathered up, and though he prospected for several days in and about that spot, he never found another particle of this precious metal. That which he had secured he added, with a deep sigh, was indeed enough to have made him independent for life, had it not soon been squandered in fruitless speculations.

"Many degrees of superstition exist among the Maoris," states a writer in the Pall Mall Gazette. "In the recesses of the Urewera country for example, diablerie has lost little of its early potency; the tohunga there remains a power in the land. Among the more enlightened natives a precautionary policy is generally followed; it is always wiser and safer, they say, to avoid conflict with the two mysterious powers tapu and makuta. Tapu is the less dangerous of the two; a house, an individual, or an article may be rendered tapu, or sacred, and if the tapu be disregarded harm will befall someone. But makuta is a powerful evil spell cast for the deliberate purpose of accomplishing harm, generally to bring about death. The tohunga is understood to be in alliance with the spirits of the dead. The Maori dreads death, and he fears the dead. Places of burial are seldom approached during the day, never at night. The spirits of the dead are believed to linger sometimes near places of burial. Without going to experts in Maori lore, who have many and varied theories to set forth, a preferable course is to discover what the average Maori of to-day thinks and believes respecting the strange powers and influences he deems are at work in the world around him.

"A Maori of this typewho can read and write, is under 40 years of age, and fairly intelligentwas drawn into a lengthy conversation with the writer. He believed, magistrates notwithstanding, that tohungas, somehow, had far more power than ordinary men. He did not think they got that power from the 'tiapo' (the devil?); they just were able to make themselves masters of men and many things in the world. There are many degrees of Tohungaism. An ordinary man or woman was powerless against a tohunga, but one tohunga could overcome another. The speaker knew of an instance of one tohunga driving the tohunga power entirely out of a weaker rival. It was a fairly recent east coast occurrence. Three Maoris had accidentally permitted their pigs to trespass into the tohunga's potato paddock, and much damage and loss was the result. The tohunga was one of the dangerous type, and being very wroth, he makutued the three men, all of whom promptly died. Nobody was brave enough to charge the tohunga with causing the death of the men; they were all afraid of this terrible makuta. At length another tohunga was heard of, one of very great power. This oracle was consulted, and he agreed to deal effectively with tohunga number one, and punish him for killing the owner of the pigs. So, following his instructions, the first-mentioned individual was seized, and much against his will, was conveyed to the home of the greater magician. Many Maoris, it should be known, stand in awe of hot water, they will not handle it, even for purposes connected with cooking or cleaning. Into a large tub of hot water the minor tohunga struggling frantically, was placed, then he was given a page torn from a Bible, which he was ordered to chew and swallow. The hot water treatment, combined with the small portion of the white man's sacred volume, did the expected work; the man was no longer a tohunga, and fretting over his lost powers, he soon afterwards died."

Spiritualism in New Zealand

Among the earliest adherents to Spiritualism in New Zealand was John Logan of Dunedin. Before he had become publicly identified with the cause of Spiritualism, an association had been formed, the members of which steadily pursued their investigations in private circles and semi-private gatherings. Logan became well known when he became the subject of a church trial. Although holding a high position in the first Presbyterian church of the city, he had been attracted to Spiritualist circles and witnessed Spiritualistic phenomena. Rumors spread around the small community that one of his own near relatives was a very remarkable medium. On March 19, 1873, Logan was summoned to appear before a church convocation, to be held for the purpose of trying his case, and if necessary, dealing with his "delinquency." That was when he was deprived of his church membership.

In many of the principal towns besides Dunedin, circles, held at first in mere idle curiosity, produced their usual fruit of mediumistic power. This again was extended into associative action, and organization into local societies. For over a year, the Spiritualists and Liberalists of Dunedin secured the services of Charles Bright as their lecturer. Bright had once been a member of the editorial staff of the Australian Melbourne Argus, and he had obtained a good reputation as a capable writer and liberal thinker. Bright's lectures in Dunedin were highly appreciated. By their scholarly style and attractive manner they served to band together those citizens who were not attracted to orthodox Christianity, both the liberal dissenting element and those attracted to Spiritualism.

In Auckland, the principal town of the North Island, the same good service was rendered to the cause of religious thought by the addresses of a Rev. Edgar, a clergyman whose absorption of Spiritualist doctrines had tended to sever him from more traditional churches and drew around him the Spiritualists of the town.

Besides the work effected by these men, the occasional visits of well-known personalities like Rev. J. M. Peebles and J. Tyerman and the effect of the many private circles held in every portion of the islands tended to promote a general, although quiet, diffusion of Spiritualist belief and practice throughout New Zealand. In 1879, a lecture tour by Emma Hardinge Britten gave added impetus to public interest and discussion concerning Spiritualism.

By 1930, the Spiritualist Church of New Zealand, headquartered in Wellington, had branches throughout New Zealand. One of the most prominent mediums was Pearl Judd, who demonstrated direct voice phenomena in full light.

Psychical Research

Interest in New Zealand in psychical research flared briefly on the heels of the development of psychical research in Australia in the 1870s; but as in the neighboring land, soon died away. Only after World War II did interest revive. In the 1990s, there was an Auckland Psychical Research Society and a branch of the Churches' Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, as well as the Federation of Spiritual Healers. There is also a New Zealand UFO Studies in New Plymouth.


Britten, Emma Hardinge. Nineteenth Century Miracles. New York: William Britten, 1884.

Maning, F. E. Old New Zealand. London: R. Bentley, 1884. Reprint, Auckland: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1922.

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New Zealand

New Zealand

Official name: New Zealand

Area: 268,680 square kilometers (103,737 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Cook (3,764 meters/12,349 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Southern and Eastern

Time zone: 12 midnight = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from north-northeast to south-southwest; 450 kilometers (280 miles) from east-southeast to west-northwest

Land boundaries: None

Coastline: 15,134 kilometers (9,404 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)


New Zealand lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and consists of two main islands and a number of smaller ones. The main North and South Islands, separated by the Cook Strait, lie on an axis running from northeast to southwest, except for the low-lying Northland Peninsula on the North Island. With a total area of 268,680 square kilometers (103,737 square miles), New Zealand is roughly the size of the state of Colorado.


New Zealand has three island dependencies in the Pacific Ocean.

The Cook Islands are located roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, in the middle of the South Pacific. The islands have local self-government but voluntarily rely on New Zealand to represent their interests in foreign affairs and defense. The Cook Islands consist of two island chains: seven low-lying coral atolls in the north, and eight larger and more elevated volcanic islands in the south.

Niue Island, which extends over more than 263 square kilometers (102 square miles), is one of the world's largest coral islands. Located east of the Cook Islands, Niue also governs itself in local affairs but depends on New Zealand in international matters.

Tokelau, another territory of New Zealand, is an island chain in the middle of the South Pacific northwest of the Cook Islands. It consists of three small coral atolls and surrounding islets.

Besides these three Pacific island groups, New Zealand also claims land in Antarctica in and near the Ross Sea.


New Zealand has a mild oceanic climate with little seasonal variation. Mean annual temperatures range from about 11°C (52°F) in the southern part of South Island to 15°C (59°F) in Northland, the northernmost part of the North Island. Daytime high temperatures in summer generally vary from 21°C to 27° C (70° to 81°F); winter highs are usually at least 10°C (50°F). Temperatures rarely extend beyond the extremes of -10°C (14°F) and 35°C (95°F). Due to prevailing westerly and north-westerly winds, the western mountain slopes of both islands receive the heaviest rainfall. Average annual rainfall for the country as a whole ranges from 64 to 152 centimeters (25 to 60 inches). Precipitation amounts vary widely, however; on South Island, for example, central Otago Harbour receives as little as 30 centimeters (12 inches) per year, while southwestern Fiordland can get as much as 800 centimeters (315 inches).


New Zealand is very mountainous; more than 75 percent of its land exceeds an altitude of 200 meters (656 feet). The South Island covers an area of 149,883 square kilometers (57,870 square miles). Its major regions are the Canterbury Plains to the east; the central mountain highlands, which cover much of the island; and a narrow western coast. The North Island, which spans an area of 114,669 square kilometers (44,274 square miles), is characterized by hill country. The mountain highland here is narrow and lies to the east. North and west of the Kaimanawa Mountains is a volcanic plateau. There is little coastal lowland; even in Taranaki, where it is widest, Mount Egmont (also called Mount Taranaki) rises well over 2,438 meters (8,000 feet). The narrow northern peninsular section of the North Island is mostly low-lying, though its surface is broken and irregular in many places.


New Zealand lies in the South Pacific Ocean to the southeast of Australia, across the Tasman Sea. At the Tamaki Isthmus on the North Island, these two bodies of water are separated by only 2 to 3 kilometers (1 to 2 miles) of land.

Sea Inlets and Straits

The North and South Islands are separated by the Cook Strait, which is 26 to 145 kilometers (16 to 90 miles) wide. The Foveaux Strait lies between the South Island and Stewart Island to the southeast. The North Island's bays include North and South Taranaki Bights to the west, Palliser Bay to the south, the wide Hawke Bay to the east, and the even wider Bay of Plenty to the northeast. The South Island's major bays include Golden Bay and Tasman Bay in the north, Karamea Bight at the northern end of the west coast, and Canterbury Bight and Pegasus Bay to the east.

Islands and Archipelagos

New Zealand's largest island, aside from its two primary landmasses, is Stewart Island to the southeast, which covers an area of 1,746 square kilometers (674 square miles). Other islands include the Chatham Islands (963 square kilometers/372 square miles) to the east and several other mostly uninhabited outlying islands, including the Auckland Islands (567 square kilometers/219 square miles).

Coastal Features

North Island has a more heavily indented coastline than South Island. The long arm of land that juts out to the northwest has so deep an indentation at its midsection that the land mass narrows to a width of only 2 or 3 kilometers (1 or 2 miles) at Auckland. The east coast and northern tip of Northland have multiple bays and harbors, while the west coast is almost completely smooth. The northern and southern ends of the South Island have numerous indentations, while the long eastern and western coastlines are smoother. In the east, the Banks Peninsula juts out somewhat less than halfway down the coast. The coast of Fiordland to the southeast is broken up into numerous sounds and inlets. The northernmost part of North Island has many sand dunes.


New Zealand has many lakes. Those in the South Island are particularly noted for their magnificent scenery. The country's largest natural lake is Lake Taupo on the North Island, followed by Lakes Te Anau and Wakatipu on the South Island.


The rivers are shallow and swift, and only a few are navigable. The longest river is the Waikato (425 kilometers/264 miles), which flows north-westward across the North Island and empties into the Tasman Sea, as do the Wanganui and Rangitikei. Rivers that flow into the Pacific from the South Island include the Clutha, the Taieri, and the Clarence; the Mataura, Wairau, and Oreti flow from the South Island into the Foveaux Strait. The Clutha is the South Island's longest river, and its volume is the greatest of any river in the country.


There are no deserts in New Zealand.


Much of the land surrounding the mountain ranges and the Volcanic Plateau on North Island is hilly. North of Hawke Bay in the east, deeply corrugated embankments flank the mountain ranges. On the South Island, broken mounds dot the central section of the narrow coastal strip.


New Zealand has several species of flightless birds, of which the most famous is the kiwi, the national emblem. These birds were able to evolve and survive on the islands because the environment lacked predators.

The Canterbury Plains on the east coast of South Island are New Zealand's largest plains area, stretching 320 kilometers (200 miles) in length and reaching widths of 64 kilometers (40 miles). The North Island has coastal plains bordering the Bay of Plenty and Hawke Bay in the Taranaki region to the west, the Manawatu-Wanganui area south of the Volcanic Plateau, and the Waikato, Auckland, and Northland regions to the north.

The terrain of Northland, the northern-most part of the North Island, includes peat bogs and swamplands.


Three-fourths of New Zealand is mountainous. Of the two main islands, South Island is by far the most rugged. A massive mountain chain called the Southern Alps runs the entire length of the islandsome 483 kilometers (300 miles)and outlying ranges extend to the north and the southwest. This range includes New Zealand's highest peak, Mount Cook (3,764 meters/12,349 feet), as well as about 350 glaciers, the largest of which is the Tasman Glacier (29 kilometers/18 miles long). There are at least 223 named peaks that are higher than 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) on the South Island. In contrast, the highest peak on the North Island, Ruapehu, reaches an elevation of only 2,797 meters (9,177 feet). The southernmost section of the South Island mountain system is Fiordland, at the island's southwestern edge. It is named for its deep, canyon-like valleys that are watered at the coast by saltwater fjords and inland by freshwater lakes.

The mountains of the North Island are a continuation of the South Island system. The Tararua, Ruahine, Kaimanawa, and Huiarau ranges extend across the island on the same southwest-to-northeast axis as the higher mountains to the south. The landscape to the west is dominated by the extinct volcano of Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont), at an elevation of 2,518 meters (8,260 feet).


At 40,600 meters (133,209 feet) long, the Bulmer Caverns in Mount Owen on South Island are among the longest in the world. Their average depth is 749 meters (2,457 feet).


The wide Volcanic Plateau, with its terrain of lava, pumice stone, and volcanic ash, lies north and west of the Kaimanawa range on the North Island. Hill country with short but steep slopes occupies most of its rim. The elevation of the plateau decreases and its slopes become gentler toward the western coast.


Lake Benmore is New Zealand's largest artificial lake. The 8,879-meter (29,132-foot) Kaimai Tunnel at Apata is New Zealand's longest railroad tunnel, as well as the longest in the Southern Hemisphere.



Hanbury-Tenison, Robin. Fragile Eden: A Ride Through New Zealand. Topsfield, MA: Salem House, 1989.

New Zealand. Eyewitness Travel Guides. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2001.

Sinclair, Keith, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Web Sites

New Zealand Official Tourism Site. (accessed April 17, 2003).

Lonely Planet World Guide. (accessed April 17, 2003).

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New Zealand

New Zealand

In 1991 the American scholar Mary Gordon observed, in her comprehensive historiographical review published in Children in Comparative and Historical Perspective, that much work remained to be done on the history of childhood in Australia and New Zealand. Some significant advances have been made since then. Educational and welfare scholars have explored the impact of past social policy on children's lives, while contemporary concerns over child health, abuse, and poverty are fostering research in these areas, particularly in the field of children's rights. Yet there is still no local equivalent to the history of Australian childhood written by Jan Kociumbas. Nor, despite the obvious potential for comparison, are there New Zealand works that parallel such Canadian and U.S. childhood studies as those produced by Neil Sutherland, Elliott West, and Harvey Graff. The challenge for any substantial history of New Zealand childhood is that it should be a worthwhile contribution to the international literature while at the same time providing New Zealand readersyoung adults especiallywith some youth-centered perspectives on their country's past.

Early History

Childhood experience in New Zealand falls loosely into four distinctive phases. Firstcomers covers the period from c. 1200 through the 1700s, during which the first migrants from Hawaiiki (eastern Polynesia) established, and their descendants developed, the communities from which contemporary Maori trace their tribal origins. That tamariki, or indigenous children, were loved, instructed, disciplined, and mourned is apparent from traditional proverbs, songs, and prayers. Mobility, adaptability, and intertribal conflict were commonplace. Life expectancy was short; living was a labor-intensive process. There was no prolonged period of dependency.

Newcomers characterizes a second period, from the 1770s through the 1850s, when the arrival of European explorers, adventurers, evangelists, and settlers initiated the experience of cultural encounter for youngsters in both societies. Tamariki were exposed to new smells and sounds, commodities and valuesand diseases against which they and their kin had no immunity. Where Maori and Pakeha, or non-Maori, lived in close proximity, as in shore-based whaling settlements or mission stations, the children of each culture could grow up with some knowledge of the other's language and customs. From the 1840s, as the patterns that had evolved over centuries changed within the lifetime of a single generation, Maori became a steadily diminishing minority within their own land. Relatively few of the immigrants' children had meaningful contact with Maori. It would be tamariki, not Pakeha youth, who developed a bicultural awareness.

The Colonial Period

Young colonials reflects a period marked by conflict, internal and external, from the 1860s through the 1940s. These were years of prosperity and development, but with periods of disruption, dispossession, and depression. The varying effects of these periods on the colony's children crossed cultural, regional, and class divides. The New Zealand Wars of the 1860s were a conflict of sovereignty, not race; the legislative consequences of confiscation and land alienation were devastating for the tribal communities involved. The wars reflected both Maori resistance to the insatiable immigrant demand for land and the failure of the Crown to uphold guarantees of indigenous sovereignty as agreed in the colony's founding charter, the Treaty of Waitangi, signed between the Crown's representatives and Maori chiefs in 1840. The subsequent unfair confiscation of land from tribes deemed to have been rebellious, together with the continuing land alienation through the legislative process of a Native Land Court, impoverished the tribal communities involved and severely affected the diet, health, and living conditions of their children.

The well-being of Pakeha youngsters was also affected during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Gold rushes during the 1860s prompted state legislation to provide for neglected children, particularly those whose fathers failed to provide for their maintenance, while a colony-wide recession in the 1880s put additional pressure on many migrant families, especially on those for whom the dream of owning a small farm was largely dependent on child labor. And whereas Maori children were raised within extended whanau, or family networks on which they could depend for support, immigrants had to create such connections. At times the bonds proved too fragile and death or desertion led to children becoming dependent on institutional care. The lives of the colonial-born of both societies were also being shaped by a wider constitutional context as colonial politicians fashioned a new Britain of the south, and in so doing gave legislative expression to the dominant cultural values.

State education and health and welfare measures applied to all children, regardless of ethnicity: legalized apartheid has never been part of the New Zealand childhood experience. Yet legislation promoting economic development continued to undermine the communal principles of tribal life and failed to redress impoverishment. Maori children developed a clear understanding of the negative impacts of colonial rule upon their lives; Pakeha youngsters remained largely ignorant of the circumstances, culture, or language of the people whose assistance and cooperation, through food supplies, labor, and initial land sales, for example, had been so fundamental to the colony's establishment. They grew up knowing themselves to be British. The cultural differences of the small enclaves of other European migrants were scarcely acknowledged except when the xenophobia of 1914 through 1918 made ethnicity an issue. Both Maori and Pakeha fought in World War I; the injury and death rates were high and the legacies long term as youth absorbed without question the stories of heroism and sacrifice. There was also no initial shortage of volunteers for World War II.

Recent History

Emergent New Zealanders highlights the issues of identity that characterized much public discussion during the second half of the twentieth century, from the 1950s through 2000. Britain's entry into the Common Market, coupled with high rates of Maori urbanization and Polynesian immigration, challenged Pakeha to acknowledge and reconsider their monoculturalism. Globalization, television, the Internet, and the pervasive influence of American culture have all contributed to changing lifestyles for young New Zealanders, but the greater transformation has been internal. Multicultural immigration policies and the consequences of economic restructuring during the 1980s that diminished the role of the state in favor of market-led competition have contributed to greater social inequality within the country. Children and youth are bearing the brunt of these changes. High levels of youth suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, single parenthood, alcohol and drug abuse, and criminal offending are matters of widespread public concern, as is the increasing awareness of violence against children.

Thousands of New Zealand youth still grow up healthy, happy, and emotionally secure, actively pursuing sporting and cultural interests and planning a future of worthwhile employment and travel overseas. But hundreds do not, and the correlation between poverty, ethnicity, ill health, low educational achievement, and abuse is increasingly obvious. New Zealanders have long cherished the belief that theirs is a great country in which to bring up children. More detailed research into both past and present childhood experience may suggest the need for some modification of that view.

See also: Comparative History of Childhood.


Dalley, Bronwyn. 1998. Family Matters: Child Welfare in Twentieth-Century New Zealand. Auckland, NZ: Auckland University Press in association with the Historical Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs.

Gordon, Mary. 1991. "Australia and New Zealand." In Children in Historical and Comparative Perspective: An International Handbook and Research Guide, ed. Joseph M. Hawes and N. Ray Hiner. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Graham, Jeanine. 1992. "My brother and I : Glimpses of Childhood in Our Colonial Past." Hocken Lecture, 1991. Dunedin, NZ: Hocken Library, University of Otago.

Ihimaera, Witi, ed. 1998. Growing Up Maori. Auckland, NZ: Tandem Press.

Metge, Joan. 1995. New Growth from Old: The Whanau in the Modern World. Wellington, NZ: Victoria University Press.

Simon, Judith, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith. 2001. A Civilising Mission? Perceptions and Representations of the New Zealand Native Schools System. Auckland, NZ: Auckland University Press.

Tennant, Margaret. 1994. Children's Health, the Nation's Wealth: A History of Children's Health Camps. Wellington, NZ: Bridget Williams Books.

Jeanine Graham

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New Zealand

New Zealand (zē´lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland.

Land and People

New Zealand comprises the North Island and the South Island (the two principal islands), Stewart Island, and the Chatham Islands. Small outlying islands belonging to New Zealand include the Auckland Islands, the Kermadec Islands, Campbell Island, the Antipodes, Three Kings Island, Bounty Island, the Snares Islands, and the Solander Islands. Dependencies are Tokelau and Ross Dependency. The Cook Islands and Niue, both internally self-governing, are in free association with New Zealand.

The North Island is known for its active volcanic mountains and its hot springs. The country's longest river (the Waikato) and largest lake (Taupo) are both on the North Island. On the South Island, the massive Southern Alps extend almost the length of the island, and in the southwest are beautiful fjords. The largest areas of virgin forest are in the southern and northern extremities of the South Island. Among the unusual animals native to New Zealand are the kiwi, certain species of parrot, the tuatara (survivor of a prehistoric order of reptiles), and various frogs and reptiles. New Zealand has no native land mammals other than bats. Large oyster beds are found in the Foveaux Strait between Stewart Island and the South Island. Extensive areas of New Zealand have been set aside as national parks, including the Fiordland, Mt. Aorangi-Cook, and Tongariro parks.

More than 85% of the population lives in urban areas. In addition to Wellington and Auckland, the principal cities are Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Hutt City, and Invercargill. People of European descent constitute about 74% of the population. The Maori, New Zealand's indigenous inhabitants, now make up about 15% of the population, with most living on the North Island. Some 12% of the population is of Asian descent, while Pacific Islanders make up over 7%, and an increasing portion of the population is born overseas (25% in 2013). (Intermarriage has resulted in mixed descent and overlap in the various ethnic groupings.) Both English and Maori are official languages. New Zealand has no established religion; the three largest faiths are Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian.


Agriculture has traditionally been the mainstay of the economy, although it now employs only 10% of the population, while services and industry make up a much greater percentage of the gross domestic product. The agricultural sector has diversified from a reliance on sheep raising to such additional enterprises as dairying, forestry, and horticulture. Wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, and vegetables are grown; wool, beef, lamb, mutton, and fish are additional agricultural products. The mining sector produces coal, gold, iron, and natural gas. There is extensive food processing and wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, and transportation equipment are manufactured. Banking, insurance, and tourism are also important. Beginning in the 1980s, New Zealand transformed its highly protected and regulated economy into one that was much more privatized, market oriented, and deregulated. The principal exports are dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, and machinery. Imports include machinery and equipment, vehicles, aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, and plastic. The main trading partners are Australia, the United States, Japan, and China.


New Zealand is governed under The Consitution Act of 1986, adopted in 1987, as well as other legal documents. The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by the governor-general, is the head of state. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the governor-general following legislative elections. Members of the 120-seat unicameral parliament (the House of Representatives) are elected by popular vote for three-year terms using a system of mixed constituency and proportional representation. Administratively, the country is divided into 16 regions and one territory (the Chatham Islands). New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.


New Zealand has been inhabited since at least AD 1000 by Polynesian Maoris. The first European to visit was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who stopped there during his voyage of 1642–43. New Zealand was charted by Capt. James Cook on his three voyages (1769–78). Between 1792 and 1840, sealing, whaling, and trading led to European settlement. In a series of intertribal wars between 1815 and 1840, tens of thousands of Maoris died.

In 1840 the first settlement was made at Wellington by a group sent by the New Zealand Company, founded by Edward Gibbon Wakefield. In that year the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed to the Maoris the full possession of their land in exchange for their recognition of British rule. But as European settlement increased, Maori opposition to land settlement resulted in continuing conflict from 1860 to 1872.

Originally part of New South Wales (Australia), New Zealand became a separate colony in 1840 and received a large measure of self-government after 1852. In 1907 it assumed complete self-government as the Dominion of New Zealand, but, preferring that Great Britain handle most of its foreign affairs, did not confirm the Statute of Westminster (1931) until 1947.

New Zealand has been a leader in progressive social legislation. It was the first country to grant (1893) women the right to vote. A comprehensive social security system was begun in 1898 with the enactment of an old age pension law.

During World War I and World War II, New Zealand fought on the side of the Allies, and it joined the UN forces in the Korean War. New Zealand also sent troops to aid U.S. forces in South Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1951, New Zealand joined in a mutual defense treaty with the United States and Australia. This pact was suspended in 1986 after David Lange's Labor government refused to let U.S. ships with nuclear arms enter its ports; although defense cooperation has resumed since then, the ban remains in effect. In the 1970s the government and the Maori tribes (iwi) began negotiations that subsequently led to the settling of many Maori claims and improved financial status for most tribes. In 1997, Jenny Shipley of the National party, which had been in power since 1990, became New Zealand's first woman prime minister.

The Labor party, led by Helen Clark, and its center-left coalition defeated the National party in the 1999 elections and formed a minority government. Clark's coalition retained power, again as a minority government, after the 2002 elections. After the court of appeals ruled in 2004 that Maoris could pursue land claims to New Zealand's beaches and seabed, the government passed legislation that nationalized the contested areas in an effort to prevent Maoris from gaining an exclusive legal title to them. The law alienated the government's Maori supporters and prompted the establishment of a Maori political party.

Parliamentary elections in Sept., 2005, resulted in a narrow victory for Labor, which secured a plurality of the seats. Clark formed a government with the support of three smaller parties, including the anti-immigration New Zealand First party. Clark and Labor lost the Nov., 2008, parliamentary elections to John Key, a wealthy former currency trader, and the National party, and Key became prime minister of a center-right coalition government. A strong earthquake in Sept., 2010, and a second one in Feb., 2011, caused widespread damage in Christchurch. Key and the National-led coalition remained in power after the Nov., 2011, elections. In the Sept., 2014, parliamentary elections, the National party won an outright majority.


See K. B. Cumberland and J. W. Fox, New Zealand: A Regional View (1964); A. H. McLintock, ed., An Encyclopedia of New Zealand (3 vol., 1966); G. R. Hawke, The Making of New Zealand (1985); G. McLauchlan, ed., Encyclopedia of New Zealand (52 vol., 1986–87); K. Sinclair, A History of New Zealand (4th rev. ed. 1991); G. W. Rice, ed., Oxford History of New Zealand (2d ed. 1992).

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New Zealand

New Zealand. The two main islands of New Zealand, lying more than 1,000 miles to the east of Australia, have a land area of nearly 104,000 square miles, and are larger than the United Kingdom (94,000). South Island is rather bigger than North Island, but contains only a quarter of the people. In the mid-1990s the population was 3½ million, most of them living in towns. The capital, Wellington, with 329,000 people, is in North Island: Auckland has nearly 1 million people, and Christchurch 318,000. Mount Cook in the Southern Alps rises to more than 12,000 feet and in North Island there are geysers and hot springs. The economy is still largely based on cattle- and sheep-rearing, with Australia, Japan, USA, and UK the main markets, but New Zealand wine flourishes, industry increases, and tourism expanded rapidly after the spread of fast air travel.

The first inhabitants were Polynesian people, ancestors of the Maoris, who settled by the 8th cent. Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer, sighted the west coast of South Island in December 1642, but four of his men were killed by the Maoris and he did not land. The Dutch named the land New Zealand but showed no further interest in it. The first encounter confirmed the warlike nature of the natives. Captain Cook, in the 18th cent., guessed that there were 100,000 of them, but he had no means of knowing and the figure was probably a substantial underestimate. They lived mainly in North Island, expectation of life was little more than thirty years, and cannibalism was practised.

Not until 1769 was Tasman's initiative followed up when, on his first voyage, Cook circumnavigated both islands. Again, his landing found a hostile reception and several Maoris were shot in skirmishes. He revisited the country on his second and third voyages, reporting that it would sustain an industrious people and that the natives would be too divided to offer much opposition. Thereafter contacts increased, with whalers and sealers calling in for supplies. In 1814 a small Christian mission was established, with little success at first, but progress by mid-century. For fifty years, the situation was close to a state of nature. Increased contact brought diseases to which the Maoris were extremely vulnerable and the acquisition of guns allowed them to try to exterminate each other. The native population declined sharply. By 1838 there were some 2,000 Europeans living and trading in New Zealand—the English, in Darwin's opinion, ‘the very refuse of society’. Disputes over land deals and violent clashes led many settlers to demand British protection. A New Zealand Association in 1837, supported by Lord Durham and E. G. Wakefield, was founded in London to encourage mass emigration. In 1839 an unenthusiastic British government sent Captain William Hobson to propose annexation to the Maoris to protect them from indiscriminate expropriation and in 1840 the treaty of Waitangi was signed, ceding sovereignty to the British in exchange for promises of security. The new colony was placed under New South Wales but in 1841 established in its own right.

The economic development of New Zealand was boosted by the discovery of gold in South Island in the 1850s, and, more enduringly, by the development of refrigeration in the 1880s, which enabled it to export cheese, butter, and meat to Britain. Constitutionally it progressed at remarkable speed, despite the protracted Maori wars which continued until 1872. As early as 1846 responsible government was granted, though suspended by the governor, Sir George Grey. A federal constitution was granted in 1852, with the country divided into six provinces, and was followed in 1856 by full representative government. The capital was moved from Auckland to Wellington in 1867. Though it took part in the negotiations, New Zealand did not join the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 and in 1907 became a self-governing dominion. New Zealand sent a high proportion of its men to fight in the First World War and was given Western Samoa, a former German colony, as a mandate under the League of Nations at the end of the war: it became an independent state in 1962.

The population of New Zealand rose undramatically at first. The Maori population in 1896 was put as low as 42,000 and extinction seemed a possibility: it increased throughout the 20th cent. and by the 1990s was more than 400,000. The total population of New Zealand in 1907 was still less than 1 million, grew slowly in the 1920s, partly as a result of high wartime casualties, and had risen to 1.7 million by 1945. After that it rose quickly, reaching more than 3 million by 1975, before flattening out. As in South Africa, sport has been a bond of the emerging nation—the All Blacks' attempts to terrify their opponents with the Maori haka, the prominence of Maoris in rugby teams, and the development of the Western Samoans as formidable opponents. The New Zealanders have, with some truth, been described as ‘genteel Aussies’.

J. A. Cannon

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New Zealand

New Zealand


270,990sq km (104,629sq mi)



capital (population):

Wellington (163,824)


Constitutional monarchy

ethnic groups:

New Zealand European 74%, New Zealand Maori 10%, Polynesian 4%


English and Maori (both official)


Christianity (Anglican 21%, Presbyterian 16%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 4%)


New Zealand dollar = 100 cents

State in the s Pacific. New Zealand consists of two mountainous main islands and several smaller ones, c.1600km (1000mi) se of Australia. Much of North Island is volcanic; Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are active volcanoes. It is noted for its hot springs and geysers. New Zealand's largest river (Waikato) and largest lake (Taupo) are both on North Island. Cities on North Island include the capital, Wellington, and the largest port, Auckland. The Southern Alps extend for almost the entire length of South Island, rising to Mount Cook at 3753m (12,313ft). South Island is famed for its glaciers and fjords. The major South Island cities are Christchurch and Dunedin. Territories include the Ross Dependency in Antarctica. Cook Islands and Niue are associated states.

Climate and Vegetation

The climate varies from n to s. Auckland has a warm, humid climate throughout the year. Wellington has cooler summers, while in Dunedin temperatures can dip below freezing in winter. Rainfall is heaviest on the w highlands. Only small areas of original kauri forests survive, mainly in the n and s extremities of South Island. Beech forests grow in the highlands, and large plantations are grown for timber. Abundant sunshine is ideal for vineyards on the e coast.

History and Politics

Maori settlers arrived in New Zealand more than 1000 years ago. The first European discovery was by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1642. British explorer James Cook landed in 1769. Trade in fur and whaling brought British settlers in the early 19th century. A series of intertribal wars (1815–40) killed tens of thousands of Maoris.

In 1840, the first British settlement was established at Wellington. The Treaty of Waitangi (1840) promised to honour Maori land rights in return for recognition of British sovereignty. In 1841, New Zealand became a separate colony. Increasing colonization led to the Maori Wars. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to extend the franchise to women.

In 1907, New Zealand became a self-governing dominion in the British Commonwealth. New Zealand troops fought on the side of the Allies in both World Wars. In 1973, Britain joined the European Community and New Zealand's exports to Britain shrank. In 1985, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was blown up in Auckland harbour, prompting the adoption of anti-nuclear policies. Maori rights and the preservation of Maori culture remain a political issue. A 1992 referendum voted in favour of the introduction of proportional representation. In 1996 elections, the National Party (NP) and New Zealand First (NZF) formed a coalition government. In 1997, Jenny Shipley became New Zealand's first woman prime minister. In 1998, the NZF withdrew from the coalition. Helen Clark formed a minority Labour government after the 1999 elections.


In the late 20th century, New Zealand shifted from a state-controlled economy, with a large welfare state, to a more market-oriented one (2000 GDP per capita, US$17,700). The financial crisis in se Asia badly affected the economy. It traditionally depended on agriculture, particularly sheep- and cattle-rearing, but manufacturing now employs twice as many people as agriculture. Tourism is the fastest growing sector.

Political map

Physical map


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New Zealand

New Zealand

Culture Name

New Zealander

Alternative Name



Identification. Originally discovered by Polynesians between 1200 and 1300 c.e., the country was settled by Maori ("the people") and areas were named after the iwi (tribes). In 1642, the Dutchman Abel Tasman named the land Staten Island. This was soon changed to Nieuw Zeeland, after Zeeland in Holland. Tasman was attacked and never landed, but in 1769, James Cook claimed sovereignty for George III of England.

Extensive European settlement did not begin until 1840, and New Zealand remained a Maori culture. Whalers from the United States and Britain frequently sailed New Zealand waters, married or had children with Maori women, and introduced trappings of Euro-American culture, especially muskets. Missionaries began their activities around 1814.

In the 1860s, gold was discovered, bringing Chinese miners from Australia as well as China and Hong Kong. The Chinese have remained, though they now are chiefly market gardeners and café owners and professionals. Business and banking were supported by a Jewish population. Other minorities who have retained much of their culture are Polish, Lebanese, Yugoslav, and Dutch.

Regional cultural distinctions tend to be between North Island and South Island, coinciding largely with population composition and size. Half a million Maori plus nearly two million Pakeha (Caucasians of Europeans descent) live in the north, and eight hundred thousand (mostly Pakeha) live in the south, culturally subdivided between English (Canterbury) and Scottish (Otago).

The emerging culture leans increasingly on Maori symbolism in art and literature. Maori culture (taonga ) is being reinvented, and parts of it are incorporated in ceremonies and other public events. Visiting dignitaries receive a Maori welcome, and the All Black Rugby Team (the national team) performs a haka (challenge) before games.

Location and Geography. New Zealand is in the southwest Pacific Ocean and has three main islandsNorth, South, and Stewartseparated by the Cook Strait and the Foveaux Strait. Several other islands are under New Zealand's jurisdiction.

The three main islands are 990 miles (1,600 kilometers) long and 280 miles (450 kilometers) wide and contain great topographic and climatic variation. The Southern Alps run the length of the western part of the South Island, with peaks over 9,840 feet (3,000 meters). North Island has three peaks over 6,560 feet (2,000 meters), and there are three active volcanoes. Moving glaciers, deep fjords, and large lakes are characteristic of South Island. The climate varies from subtropical in Northland to continental in Central Otago.

The country was two-thirds deforested by the time of the European settlement, and so the high country is largely tussock (South Island) and secondary bush (North Island) with extensive pine plantations.

Demography. In 1996, the population was 3,681,546, including 2,749,980 on the North Island and 931,566 on South Island. Eighty-five percent are urban dwellers, with Auckland, the largest city, approaching one million in population. Eighty percent of the population is of European origin, mainly from the United Kingdom, Holland, Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, Sweden, and Austria; 14.5 percent claim Maori descent; and the remainder are Pacific Islanders. Along with descendants of the Chinese, recent immigrants have come from southeast Asia. The original Maori population has been estimated at two hundred thousand. By 1900, their decline as a result of war and disease to just over forty thousand was viewed as the signal of a dying culture or race. The population has risen steadily since then. The success of the campaign for Maori pride has allowed people to identify themselves without regard to skin color. This demographic and social phenomenon has been assisted by the setting up of the Waitangi Tribunal to hear the claims of iwi requesting redress of wrongs resulting from their ceding of sovereignty to Britain.

Linguistic Affiliation. The official language is English, but all government institutions and some private ones use Maori as well. While 99 percent of Maori speak English, few Pakeha speak Maori. Preschool Maori children attend Kohanga-reo (language nests) to learn Maori. Universities have Maori studies departments. Maori is a Malayo-Polynesian language.

Symbolism. A national flag, coat of arms, and anthem are important symbols. Other symbols tend to be commercial or cultural and are of Maori origin. The national airline has a stylized Koru (fern leaf), all the national sports teams have a fern leaf, the feathered cloak of a Maori chief is used on ceremonial occasions, and haka is performed before international rugby matches. The kiwi, a flightless, nocturnal bird unique to New Zealand, is the symbol for everything from New Zealand.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Maori have a commemorative and oral history whose major instrument of record is the genealogy (whakapapa ), which is recorded in the structure of the marae (meeting house) and in the moko (tattoo) worn by many Maori. Maori history features ties with ancestors and with the land.

In 1819, east coast North Island tribes raided the west coast tribes. In 1820, the chief Hongi Hiki visited England, and secured muskets and ammunition. Upon his return, there began the "Musket Wars" on South Island. A state of tribal unrest and migration set in, and the 1820s was distinguished by the appearance of many Maori prophet-military leaders such as Te Rauparaha.

In 1823, Britons were extended protection by New South Wales (Australia), and ten years later, James Busby arrived as the first British resident. However, there were no plans for British settlement until 1839, when the New Zealand Company was ordered to establish British rule. The first settlers arrived in 1840, the year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The treaty has been a great source of disharmony between Maori and Pakeha. It was drawn up by a European whose Maori was not fluent and read to chiefs who were unfamiliar with instruments of diplomacy. The greatest ambiguities turned on ideas of sovereignty and ownership alien to the Maori. The British understood themselves to be offering protection in return for sovereignty and the right to use or buy land at nominal cost. In 1975, the Waitangi Tribunal was established to hear claims of abuse of the treaty. Many claims have resulted in return of land, cash compensation, restoration of rights to natural resources, and the handing over of businesses to Maori.

In the 1840s, there were fierce battles between Maori and Europeans. Although the British had an advantage in arms, Maori had an advantage in tactics, and their pa (fortresses) of earth and wooden palisades absorbed artillery shells. The British infantry had to get past the palisades and grapple hand to hand with Maori warriors.

In 1854, the first General Assembly opened and the first governor was appointed. In 1856, Henry Sewell became the first prime minister. Wars broke out again in the 1860s on North Island, but they were quickly suppressed. In 1865, the capital was transferred from Auckland to Wellington, which was considered more central.

Outbursts of Maori resistance were led by charismatic prophetsmilitary leaders such as Te Kooti. However, under the second term of Thomas Grey, a division of the country into provinces and districts and the formation of a parliament with four Maori seats created a stable and unified colony. The last British (Australian) troops left in 1870. That year a national university was established. Women were enfranchised in 1893.

Culturally, the ideals of Europe were adhered to. European craftsmen built mansions for newly enriched land holders, bankers, gold dealers, and politicians. The Mechanics Institute and lending libraries were established, and cities, such as Dunedin, were built.

National Identity. The ruling institutions were British in origin and conduct but were open to Maori, and scholar-politicians such as Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) and Apirana Ngata achieved pre-World War II preeminence internationally. Maori have had their own parliamentary party, are members of parliament, and have sought to introduce elements of Maori culture into debates.

National identity involves icons more than institutions. Sportspersons in general are iconic national identities, with Sir Edmund Hillary at the summit.

Ethnic Relations. Intermarriage between Europeans and Maori has been common since the first contact. New Zealand used to boast that it was completely without racial prejudice. However, "Maori radicals," often with university training, saw the differentials in school conditions and funding, knew about living conditions in low-income state-assisted housing, and voiced their concerns. There were protests, marches, and sit-ins. Maori are still relatively underprivileged, but they are being given access to opportunities for education and high-profile jobs in politics and business. Many outstanding artists are Maori, from Kiri Te Kanawa to Ralph Hotere.

Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand include Cook Islanders, Samoans, Tongans, Tokelauans, Fijians, and Nieueans. Basically, they see themselves as being in New Zealand temporarily to earn money to send their children to school, but many remain permanently. Pacific Islanders tend to be concentrated in and around Auckland and Wellington. They are ghettoized and cling to their Christian views and cultural waysPolynesian but not identical to each other or to Maori. Urban life, poverty, large families, and a large percentage of teenagers have led to ethnically based conflict in the cities. The recent high-profile immigration of Asians, many of them wealthy, has been accompanied by some ethnic tension.

Gang organization is a feature of the culture. The Mongrel Mob, Black Power, and the Nomads are the three prominent Maori gangs. Each gang, however, views each "chapter" as a family, or whanau. The White Knights is a Pakeha gang that tends toward machismo and racism. Leather jackets, patches, and motorcycles are the chief ritual objects.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Despite the rural image, 86 percent of the people live in the five main urban centers: Auckland (one million people), Wellington (nearly 360,000), Christchurch (332,000), Hamilton (160,000), and Dunedin (112,000).

Vernacular architecture has involved the colonial villa verandah style: single-story, wooden, with a central hallway, but with the principal bedroom often in the front of the house. State housing provided a standardized bungalow-style house often made of brick and rented to low-income families. These houses have been privatized.

The only distinctive style of architecture is the Maori marae. Its elaborately carved timbers represent origin myths and genealogies. There, a communal sleeping area, and a strict etiquette of greeting, precedence, speechmaking, and farewell is preserved.

New Zealanders like close contact. People who go to pubs or cafés where a band is playing maintain close bodily contact, and open spaces, such as parks and gardens have benches placed opposite to each other or in pairs.

As Europeans have become fifth-generation descendants, it has become increasingly important to them to represent their ancestors. Both Maori and Pakeha households are not complete without pictures of significant ancestors. Contemporary marae architecture derives from the elaborately carved storehouses and chiefs' houses of earlier times.

New Zealanders are inveterate trampers and campers. Countless tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation or by local enthusiasts. The geometry of the landscape and the sense that it is very different from the city has been the most powerful influence on a unique style of painting.

New Zealanders try to have a hideaway cabin by the lake, the sea, or the stream. In North Island, this is known as a bach; in the South Island, as a crib. There is usually no running water or electricity.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Before 1975, the diet was based on meat, potatoes, temperate climate vegetables in season (cabbage, peas, beans, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli), bread, fruits in season, dairy products, and fish. Chicken was a restaurant delicacy, and the favorite fast food was the meat pie. Beverages were tea and beer. Since 1975, the cuisine has opened up to include a range of tropical and subtropical fruits, vegetables, and spices. It has taken advantage of its Mediterranean climate to produce wine. Food items are readily available in supermarkets. There are ubiquitous fast-food restaurants. However, there is no New Zealand cuisine. Christmas features the presentation of the turkey or ham, followed by the Christmas pudding. The Sunday roast is still served in the British tradition.

The Maori cuisine is based on seafood, mutton birds (young petrels), wild pork or fowl, fat lamb, and kumara. The method of cooking is the earth oven (hangi ) in which stones are heated by fire, the fire is extinguished so that the stones steam, and a large sealed basket containing the food is buried over the stones and left to cook for several hours. When Maori gather for meetings on the marae, men and women jointly help prepare the food; men dig the hole, place the stones, and bury and remove the food.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. In the Burns Clubs, the Ceremony of Piping in the Haggis is observed. Otherwise, there is the availability of hot cross buns at Easter.

Basic Economy. New Zealand is an exporter of dairy, meat, fish, and fruit products, which now include processed foods such as wine, deer velvet, venison, smoked and pickled seafood, cheeses, and yogurt. Multinational food companies are moving their processing plants to Australia so that New Zealand-grown food often finds its way back via that country. Logging of plantation pine forests is a major industry, but relatively little processing is carried out. Thus, the food supply is in surplus, and imports are largely luxury items or processed items from Australia or "fresh" fruits and vegetables out of season. Reforms in the 1980s encouraged a reduction in the farming sector because of the weakening of the European and British markets for primary produce. It was proposed to industrialize New Zealand. Apart from oil and natural gas finds and one aluminum smelter, heavy industry is not viable. Manufacturing, assembly, and processing have been encouraged, but since they rely on imported machinery and services, this has not been successful. Motor car assembly and light engineering (especially electrical and electronic appliances) are the basis of the industrial sector.

The fastest growing sector of the economy is service: trade, hospitality, tourism, finance, consultancy, computer software, advertising and film, business services, and insurance.

Almost every household gardens and produces some fresh food for itself. Gardening is a universal hobby.

Land Tenure and Property. Under a clause in the Treaty of Waitangi, the Crown had the exclusive right to extinguish Maori title in land. Under these terms, the Crown had a monopoly over land purchases while bestowing title to land valid in English common law. The Crown became the largest landowner.

In Maori land tenure, tribal boundaries were defined by the putative area settled and utilized by the ancestors, modified by wars and invasions. An individual may claim the use of and the right to burial in the ancestral lands of either parent. The purchase of Maori land by the government created further fragmentation, and the Waitangi Tribunal has been set up to hear claims for compensation. Since the treaty was signed in 1840 and purchases were made until recently, and since Maori have become urbanized, the legitimacy of land claims is complex. Nevertheless, the sense of belonging to one area, the region of the ancestors, still is strong and is finding echoes among the Pakeha. Having reached a fifth generation of settlement, many families see themselves centered in the areas where they first arrived; as Maori have tribal hui (gatherings), Europeans have family reunions.

Other land can be bought and sold. Inheritance by individuals is entirely discretionary among both Maori and Pakeha, and all ownership follows the pattern of English common law. Crown land is managed by the relevant agencies (departments of conservation, forestry, agriculture, and fisheries); iwi lands are managed by elders (kaumatua ), increasingly on a commercial basis.

Commercial Activities. New Zealand is a primary producer and exporter of meat, dairy products, wool, hides, fish and aquatic invertebrates, wood, fruit, aluminum, and fuels. Tourism is a growing industry.

Major Industries. Processing goods to a second stage or final stage occurs in the dairy industry. Alumina is processed to ingots for export. Cattle is processed for meat for export or for pet food. Wood converted to wood chips is exported for newsprint. Imported parts are assembled as automobiles and electrical and electronic goods. Chemicals are processed for fertilizers.

Trade. The primary export markets are the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, Australia, Taiwan, and China. Markets are being developed in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) and Southeastern Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia).

Division of Labor. The formerly powerful trade unions are now toothless. New Zealand is a monetarist economy that is "restructuring" industries and businesses through the increased use of electronic information and communications procedures and American-inspired management techniques. Jobs are increasingly specialized, requiring certification or on-the-job training. An emphasis on strategy in marketing, stock keeping, accounting, and management rather than on-the-floor production has emphasized and rewarded the managerial class. Computer skills are virtually mandatory.

In 1997, unemployment was 6.7 percent, overall; Maori 16.9 percent; Pacific Islander, 15.3 percent; and Pakeha, 4.7 percent.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. New Zealand no longer is considered a welfare state in which all are equal. Ethnic (Maori, Pacific Islander) poverty is evident in slum areas of the large cities, but there are also poor Pakeha.

New Zealand has a well-established class society based on income. Cities have developed a "first settler" elite of "old" families claiming prestige and status and occupying the inner ring of the city. Not all are wealthy. Maori maintain a status structure based on mana (inherited or earned) and respect (of older for younger, female for male), though this has largely broken down in the cities.

Symbols of Social Stratification. There are ostentatious houses and expensive cars in some areas. The Maori chiefly class (rangatira ) and chiefs (ariki ) wear a feathered cloak (as do honored Pakeha) on special marae occasions. Cultural performances of Maori dances include the traditional kilt (male) and apron (female).

Political Life

Government. New Zealand is a member of the British Commonwealth, and the sovereign is represented by a governor general. Within the Commonwealth, New Zealand is autonomous and is governed by a house of representatives with one hundred twenty elected members of parliament from six political parties. The present government is the first to be elected under a system of proportional representation. A clear majority under this system is unlikely, and the government usually is a coalition.

Leadership and Political Officials. The national government is divided between executive (elected) and administrative officers. It is headed by a prime minister, twenty cabinet ministers, and several ministers outside the cabinet. Below these are regional government bodies divided into cities and districts led by mayors and councillors. Government departments are run on a day-to-day basis by chief executives recommended by the state services commissioner.

Social Problems and Control. The Privy Council in London is the final court of appeal but may deliver only an opinion, not a judgment. The New Zealand Court of Appeal is the highest national appeals court. Its findings must be observed by the High Court. The High Court holds hearings in the main centers. There are district courts (local), employment courts, family courts, youth courts, Maori land courts, and environment courts. There are also over one hundred tribunals dealing with small claims and complaints.

Community law centers, originally set up by law students, give legal advice to those who cannot afford lawyers. There are also victim support groups. The most notable effort at informal social control has been the attempt by Maori to be allowed to exercise whanau (family) authority over accused and accuser in the context of the marae, where the whanau confront each other and elders seek a settlement.

The country is divided into four police region, and there are about 6,500 full-time officers. There are seventeen armed offenders squads that are called out when firearms are involved. There is also a search and rescue service. Other than the armed offenders squad, police do not carry firearms.

Accusations of "racial bias" by police toward Maori and Polynesians have become more frequent, but attitudes toward the police vary with the social and economic circumstances of a person's life. Drug and alcohol abuse seems to be a common ingredient in a large proportion of public and domestic violence and crime.

Military Activity. The armed forces are small and participate in peacekeeping exercises under United Nations or other multinational auspices or independently, including regional training search and rescue operations, fisheries protection, Antarctic support, hydrographic survey, and disaster relief.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

New Zealand has a noncontributory income support scheme for the unemployed, disabled, and sick, for domestic purposes (low income/sole parent), and for retired persons. Numerous social services are government-funded but also rely on volunteers. The numerous services (school, church, club, victim support, etc.), are coordinated as the New Zealand Council of Social Services, which lobbies for changes in government welfare programs and agencies. It stresses biculturalism. There is a no-fault Accident Compensation Corporation funded by employer and employee levies.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Numerous charitable trusts supported by individual donations or corporate profits fund community activities from bagpiping to creche care. There are neighborhood watch organizations. School boards serve voluntarily. There are chapters of worldwide associations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul, Returned Services Association (veterans), and numerous charitable societies for the blind, the deaf, and the disabled.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. The stereotype of women in the home and men in the workplace is slowly disappearing. There has been an increase in the number of de facto partnerships and a resulting lack of commitment of men financially and emotionally to children and domestic responsibility.

The Ministry of Women's Affairs seeks to enforce equal opportunity legislation. Shearing gangs are traditionally mixed (male shearers/female sorters), and trades and occupations are becoming less gender-based. There is one female bishop (Anglican), though congregations are overwhelmingly female. In 1996 there were forty women members of parliament, and in 1997 the first woman prime minister took office.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. New Zealand was shocked by the power of gender difference among Maori as shown in the movie Once Were Warriors. Many would argue that although those portrayed were Maori, the degree of domestic sexual abuse and violence is a feature of New Zealand society. Under law there is no gender discriminations. Though almost as many women as men graduate with doctorates, in 1997 there were 402 male professors and 46 female ones. All seven university vice-chancellors were male. Women have been most successful in business at the upper middle range of the executive level or as national magazine editors or heading their own niche companies. Some sports teams are mixed.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Except in Muslim, Hindu and a few Chinese groups, marriages are entered into by mutual choice. Marriage may be conducted by a celebrant, a Church priest, or a vicar. Parental consent is required if a partner is under 20 years of age. De facto relationships are officially recognized for inheritance and benefit purposes. In 1996, 43 percent of males and 41 percent of females over 15 years were married. The only ground for divorce is irreconcilable breakdown, signaled by the two parties living separately for two years. Traditional weddings are still in evidence, but more people plan their own, and minorities hew to their traditional forms.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family predominates though there is an increasing number of single-parent homes. Among Maori the extended family (whanau ) live as neighbors or as a mixed and changing household of relatives. Job availability tends to determine the choice of a living place.

Inheritance. If there is a legally drawn up will, property is bequeathed by the estate holder. Maori inherit rights to ancestral land, tattoos, and burial places.

Kin Groups. Maori have revived their traditional social organization into whanau (extended family), hapu (lineage), and iwi (tribe) in an effort to reclaim their identity and negotiate under the Treaty of Waitangi. Quasi-tribes descended from a known ancestor as well as iwi celebrate periodic gatherings (hui ). That pattern is also followed by Pakeha with family reunions based on genealogical research.


Infant Care. Pakeha use playpens and place an infant in a separate crib, often in a separate room. Maori, especially in low-income and rural areas, have all children sleep together. Children, including infants, may spend as much time at an "aunty's" house as at the house of the natural mother. An "aunty" is any close female relative or friend who may provide full- or part-time infant and child care. Babies are usually put into prams, though commercial baby carriers also are used. Calming and stimulating are matters of individual philosophy.

Child Rearing and Education. New Zealand has a fully comprehensive education system. The Maori "renaissance" has resulted in special Maori education from preschools to middle schools. The Maori language is increasingly an option at all levels, and one aim is for a total education in Maori. Alternative schooling such as Montessori, Rudolph Steiner, home schooling, and state-run correspondence school is available and government-approved. Primary, intermediate, and high school are based on a British model, with uniforms from the intermediate level on and a prefect system with a head boy responsible for discipline. There are co-ed and single-sex schools. Obedience and being able to "take it" are still prized male values.

Higher Education. There are seven universities with 214,228 students and twenty-five polytechnics.


The sacred feature of the Maori is the head and so touching it is avoided. In the marae, the hongi (touching of noses) is the accepted greeting. Otherwise the handshake, the hug, and the cheek kiss are used, depending on the degree of intimacy. Verbal greetings includes "Hello," "How are you?" "Gidday," and, especially, in North Island, Kia Ora ("Good health," "Are you well?"). Men enjoy "mateship," which involves close contact, but otherwise contact distance is arm's length. Behavior in public places is orderly, and good humor is expected. Depending on how recently they have arrived in the country, immigrants and refugees maintain their own customs but gradually adapt, especially in school.


Religious Beliefs. Sixteen religious sects are representedwith the Anglican Church (18.4 percent) the largest, followed by Catholic (13.8 percent) and Presbyterian (13.4 percent). Twenty-six percent of the people have no religious affiliation. The Pentecostal, Buddhist, and Muslim religions have had the greatest degree of increase.

Religious Practitioners. Archbishops, bishops, priests, presbyters, rabbis, imams, mullahs, elders, and pastors are office holders in New Zealand branches of worldwide churches. There is one Maori church (Ratana), and Maoridom makes wide use of the sacred-secular healing and counseling powers of the tohunga, a specialist in medicine and spirit belief.

Rituals and Holy Places. Rites of the Christian calendar are observed. Cathedrals are present in every major city, and many rural areas maintain small wooden parish churches. Cemeteries are controlled by local bodies, except for Maori burial grounds. Statues of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Pakeha public figures and war memorials are universal. Their disfigurement has become a sign of Maori protest. Waitangi has become a national memorial, as has One Tree Hill in Auckland, both marking significant events in the evolution of early MaoriEuropean relations. Birthdays, anniversaries, and deaths may be privately or publicly commemorated.

Death and the Afterlife. If embalming is not to take place, burial occurs within a day or two of death. Otherwise, funeral parlors embalm and show the body. Funeral services may be held in churches or funeral parlors. A Maori funeral (tangi ) takes place in the marae and is a mixture of festivity and grief. Christians believe in a heaven for the afterlife (and a hell if Fundamentalist). Maori ancestors dwell after death in the ancestral lands and are the reference point for political and economic as well as spiritual life.

Medicine and Health Care

The former welfare state established a wide network of hospitals, clinics, visiting professionals, free medicine, and free treatment funded from taxes. Political reform led to a mixed system of care based on subsidization, along with legislation allowing for medical insurance and private hospitals. These reforms have generated considerable political debate.

Traditional medicine practiced by tohungas has always been resorted to by Maori, while some Pakeha utilize alternative medical system. All forms of medical practice emphasize a close interaction between the physical and the nonphysical. "Natural" medicines are widely available in health shops, and pharmaceutical medicines are available in licensed pharmacies.

Secular Celebrations

New Year's Day, Waitangi Day, a special assembly at Waitangi of public dignitaries, the queen's birthday, and the anniversary of a province are celebrated.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Profits from the state-run lottery are used by Creative New Zealand to provide funds for the arts. Individual and corporate trusts also support both arts and sport.

Literature. The art of oratory is highly prized among the Maori, who speak extemporaneously but use traditional formulas and references. The Montana Book Awards are a national competition for all categories of writing. Many authors have international reputations and have been winners of overseas competitions. There is a large collection in the national and city libraries of rare European manuscripts as well as private collections. Early missionary influence was the most influential force for Maori and Pakeha literacy.

Graphic Arts. Cities such as Dunedin have state-of-the-art public art galleries. All forms of graphic arts are practiced, and a national style has emerged, blending Maori and European elements. Training in traditional Maori carving has been widely taken up.

Performance Arts. There is a National Symphony Orchestra and at least two first-class city symphony orchestras. The National Youth Orchestra meets once a year. The Royal New Zealand Ballet tours the country. Other national arts organizations are the New Zealand Drama School, Chamber Music New Zealand, New Zealand Choral Foundation, and the New Zealand Film Commission. Local operatic, choral, drama, and orchestral groups are numerous, and New Zealanders perform in a large number of bands. European opera and classical music are the staple fare at one end, with New Zealand composers receiving regular performances, while pop music is locally generated. European drama and ballet prevail, but New Zealand producers and choreographers produce their own versions, and there are many dramatists. Traditional Maori dancing and singing (waiata ) are presented widely. Most television programming is imported, but New Zealand produces a soap opera and nature documentaries.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

All universities have state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, as do the larger research hospitals. There are also Crown Research Institutes and private research institutes. There is a Ministry of Science and Technology. Much government-funded research is linked to agriculture and geology. Medical research is prominent. New Zealand has proved adept at computer software innovation, small electronic devices, and sporting innovations. Polytechnics train mechanics and tradespeople.

All universities and some polytechnics teach the social sciences. Social scientists are increasingly employed by government and private agencies and firms dealing with or employing multicultural districts and workforces. Private consultants carry out "social impact" studies of new industrial, agricultural, and developmental projects. Economists have a direct input into economic policy.


Belich, James. Making Peoples: A History of New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century, 1996.

Duff, Alan. Once Were Warriors, 1993.

Kawharu, Hugh. Maori Land Tenure: Studies of a Changing Institution, 1977.

New Zealand Official Year Book 1998, 1998.

Salmond, Anne. Between Worlds: Early Exchanges between Maori and Europeans 17731815, 1997.

Peter J. Wilson

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New Zealand

New Zealand


The people of New Zealand are called New Zealanders. About 80 percent of the population is classified as European; the majority are of British descent. Almost 15 percent of the population report Maori (native) ancestry. The Maori are a Polynesian group with a distinctive culture and a well-ordered social system. The non-Maori Polynesian population is about 4 percent. Chinese and Indians total almost 1 percent of the population.

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"New Zealand." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . 17 Aug. 2018 <>.

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