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New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 comprising two main landmasses (the North Island
North Island
The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island is in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island...

 and the South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

) and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some 1500 kilometre east of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 across the Tasman Sea
Tasman Sea
The Tasman Sea is the large body of water between Australia and New Zealand, approximately across. It extends 2,800 km from north to south. It is a south-western segment of the South Pacific Ocean. The sea was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, the first recorded European...

, and roughly 1000 kilometre south of the Pacific island nations
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

 of New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

, Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, and Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

. Due to its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna
Biodiversity of New Zealand
The biodiversity of New Zealand, a large Pacific archipelago, is one of the most unusual on Earth, due to its long isolation from other continental landmasses. Its affinities are derived from Gondwana, from which it separated 82 million years ago, New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island, both of which...

 dominated by birds
Birds of New Zealand
Being an island nation with a history of long isolation and having no land mammals apart from bats, the birds of New Zealand have evolved to include a large number of unique species. Over the 65 million year isolation from any other land mass New Zealand became a land of birds and when Captain...

, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals
Invasive species in New Zealand
A number of introduced species, some of which have become invasive species, have been added to New Zealand's native flora and fauna.Both deliberate and accidental introductions have been made from the time of the first human settlement with several waves of Polynesian people at some time before the...

. With a mild maritime climate, the land was mostly covered in forest. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the uplift
Tectonic uplift
Tectonic uplift is a geological process most often caused by plate tectonics which increases elevation. The opposite of uplift is subsidence, which results in a decrease in elevation. Uplift may be orogenic or isostatic.-Orogenic uplift:...

 of land and volcanic eruptions caused by the Pacific
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 and Indo-Australian Plate
Indo-Australian Plate
The Indo-Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate that includes the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean, and extends northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters...

s clashing underfoot.

Polynesians
Polynesians
The Polynesian peoples is a grouping of various ethnic groups that speak Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages within the Austronesian languages, and inhabit Polynesia. They number approximately 1,500,000 people...

 settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 AD and developed a distinctive Māori culture
Maori culture
Māori culture is the culture of the Māori of New Zealand, an Eastern Polynesian people, and forms a distinctive part of New Zealand culture. Within the Māori community, and to a lesser extent throughout New Zealand as a whole, the word Māoritanga is often used as an approximate synonym for Māori...

, and Europeans first made contact in 1642 AD. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Māori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars
Musket Wars
The Musket Wars were a series of five hundred or more battles mainly fought between various hapū , sometimes alliances of pan-hapū groups and less often larger iwi of Māori between 1807 and 1842, in New Zealand.Northern tribes such as the rivals Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whātua were the first to obtain...

. In 1840 the British and Māori signed a treaty
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

 making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in much Māori land being confiscated
New Zealand land confiscations
The New Zealand land confiscations took place during the 1860s to punish the Kingitanga movement for attempting to set up an alternative, Māori, form of government that forbade the selling of land. The confiscation law targeted Kingitanga Māori against whom the government had waged war to restore...

 in the mid North Island. Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote
Women's suffrage in New Zealand
Women's suffrage in New Zealand was an important political issue in the late 19th century. Of countries presently independent, New Zealand was the first to give women the vote in modern times....

 during the 1890s, and a welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 being established from the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS
ANZUS
The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks...

 security treaty, although the United States later suspended the treaty after New Zealand banned nuclear weapons
New Zealand's nuclear-free zone
In 1984, Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters. Under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, territorial sea, land and airspace of New Zealand became nuclear-free zones...

. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but the 1970s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

. The country underwent major economic changes
Rogernomics
The term Rogernomics, a portmanteau of "Roger" and "economics", was coined by journalists at the New Zealand Listener by analogy with Reaganomics to describe the economic policies followed by Roger Douglas after his appointment in 1984 as Minister of Finance in the Fourth Labour Government...

 during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. Markets for New Zealand's agricultural exports have diversified greatly since the 1970s, with once-dominant exports of wool being overtaken by dairy products, meat, and recently wine.

The majority of New Zealand's population
New Zealanders
New Zealanders, colloquially known as Kiwis, are citizens of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multiethnic society, and home to people of many different national origins...

 is of European descent
New Zealand European
The term New Zealand European refers to New Zealanders of European descent who identify as New Zealand Europeans rather than some other ethnic group...

; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. Māori and New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL is the main language of the Deaf community in New Zealand. It became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006, alongside Te Reo Māori....

 are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand's culture
Culture of New Zealand
The culture of New Zealand is largely inherited from British and European custom, interwoven with Maori and Polynesian tradition. An isolated Pacific Island nation, New Zealand was comparatively recently settled by humans...

 is derived from Māori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent portraits of Māori. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving
Whakairo
Toi Whakairo or just whakairo is a Māori traditional art of carving. in wood, stone or bone. Wood was formed into houses, fencepoles, containers, taiaha and tool-handles. Stone, preferably the very-hard pounamu was the chief material for tools of many kinds. Bone was used for fish hooks, needles...

, weaving and tattoo
Ta moko
Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by rather than punctured...

ing become more mainstream. Many artists now combine Māori and Western techniques to create unique art forms. The country's culture has also been broadened by globalisation and increased immigration
Immigration to New Zealand
Immigration to New Zealand began with Polynesian settlement in New Zealand, then uninhabited, in the tenth century . The role of Moriori settlement is currently disputed, with some suggesting that the Moriori arrived in New Zealand before the Maori, and were distinct from Maori, & others favouring...

 from the Pacific Islands and Asia. New Zealand's diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils
Regions of New Zealand
The region is the top tier of local government in New Zealand. There are 16 regions of New Zealand. Eleven are governed by an elected regional council, while five are governed by territorial authorities which also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities...

 and 67 territorial authorities
Territorial authorities of New Zealand
Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. There are 67 territorial authorities: 13 city councils, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council...

 for local government purposes; these have less autonomy than the country's long defunct provinces
Provinces of New Zealand
The Provinces of New Zealand existed from 1841 until 1876 as a form of sub-national government. They were replaced by counties, which were themselves replaced by districts.Following abolition, the provinces became known as provincial districts...

 did. Nationally, executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealand's head of government consequent on being the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand...

. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and is represented by a Governor-General
Governor-General of New Zealand
The Governor-General of New Zealand is the representative of the monarch of New Zealand . The Governor-General acts as the Queen's vice-regal representative in New Zealand and is often viewed as the de facto head of state....

. The Queen's Realm of New Zealand
Realm of New Zealand
The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area in which the Queen in right of New Zealand is head of state. The Realm comprises New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica, and is defined by a 1983 Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General of New...

 also includes Tokelau
Tokelau
Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 km2 and a population of approximately 1,400...

 (a dependent territory
Dependent territory
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a State, and remains politically outside of the controlling state's integral area....

); the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 and Niue
Niue
Niue , is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and inhabitants of the island call it "the Rock" for short. Niue is northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest, and the Cook Islands to...

 (self-governing but in free association
Associated state
An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted...

); and the Ross Dependency
Ross Dependency
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south...

, New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

, Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

, Pacific Islands Forum
Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum...

, and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

Etymology


Aotearoa
Aotearoa
Aotearoa is the most widely known and accepted Māori name for New Zealand. It is used by both Māori and non-Māori, and is becoming increasingly widespread in the bilingual names of national organisations, such as the National Library of New Zealand / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.-Translation:The...

(often translated as "land of the long white cloud") is the current Māori name for New Zealand, and is also used in New Zealand English
New Zealand English
New Zealand English is the dialect of the English language used in New Zealand.The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of "the newest native-speaker variet[ies] of the English language in existence, a variety which has developed and...

. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa originally referring to just the North Island
North Island
The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island is in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island...

. Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman
Abel Janszoon Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the VOC . His was the first known European expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands...

 sighted New Zealand in 1642 and called it Staten Landt, supposing it was connected to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America. In 1645 Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

 of Zeeland
Zeeland
Zeeland , also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about...

. British explorer James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.

Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui
Te Ika-a-Maui
Te Ika-a-Māui is the Māori name for the North Island of New Zealand. It is translated to "the fish of Maui", from the story of when Māui hauled up the North Island on his waka ....

(the fish of Māui
Maui (Maori mythology)
In Māori mythology, Māui is a culture hero famous for his exploits and his trickery.-Māui's birth:The offspring of Tū increased and multiplied and did not know death until the generation of Māui-tikitiki . Māui is the son of Taranga, the wife of Makeatutara...

) for the North Island and Te Wai Pounamu
Te Wai Pounamu
Te Wai Pounamu is a Māori name for New Zealand's South Island which is also sometimes referred to as Te Waka a Maui , from mythology....

(the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki) for the South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

. Early European maps labelled the islands North (North Island), Middle (South Island) and South (Stewart Island / Rakiura). In 1830 maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm. The New Zealand Geographic Board
New Zealand Geographic Board
The New Zealand Geographic Board is constituted under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2008, formerly under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946. Although an independent institution, it is responsible to the Minister for Land Information...

 discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, but there are now plans to do so. The board is also considering suitable Māori names, with Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Wai Pounamu the most likely choices according to the chairman of the Māori Language Commission
Maori Language Commission
New Zealand's Māori Language Commission is an autonomous crown entity set up under the Māori Language Act 1987 with the following functions:...

.

History


New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

, evidence of deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 and mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 variability within Māori
Māori
The Māori are the native or indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand . They arrived in New Zealand from eastern Polynesia in several waves at some time before 1300 CE. Over several centuries in isolation, the Māori developed a unique culture with their own language, a rich mythology,...

 populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians
Polynesians
The Polynesian peoples is a grouping of various ethnic groups that speak Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages within the Austronesian languages, and inhabit Polynesia. They number approximately 1,500,000 people...

 between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands. Over the centuries that followed these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi
Iwi
In New Zealand society, iwi form the largest everyday social units in Māori culture. The word iwi means "'peoples' or 'nations'. In "the work of European writers which treat iwi and hapū as parts of a hierarchical structure", it has been used to mean "tribe" , or confederation of tribes,...

(tribes) and hapū
Hapu
A hapū is sometimes described as "the basic political unit within Maori society".A named division of a Māori iwi , membership is determined by genealogical descent; a hapū is made up of a number of whānau groups. Generally hapū range in size from 150-200 although there is no upper limit...

(subtribes) which would cooperate, compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands
Chatham Islands
The Chatham Islands are an archipelago and New Zealand territory in the Pacific Ocean consisting of about ten islands within a radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island. Their name in the indigenous language, Moriori, means Misty Sun...

 (which they named Rēkohu) where they developed their distinct Moriori
Moriori
Moriori are the indigenous people of the Chatham Islands , east of the New Zealand archipelago in the Pacific Ocean...

 culture. The Moriori population was decimated between 1835 and 1862, largely due to Māori invasion and enslavement, although European diseases also contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.

The first European
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

s known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642. In a hostile encounter, four crew members were killed and at least one Māori was hit by canister shot
Canister shot
Canister shot is a kind of anti-personnel ammunition used in cannons. It was similar to the naval grapeshot, but fired smaller and more numerous balls, which did not have to punch through the wooden hull of a ship...

. Europeans did not revisit New Zealand until 1769 when British explorer James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling
History of whaling
The history of whaling is very extensive, stretching back for millennia. This article discusses the history of whaling up to the commencement of the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986....

, sealing
Seal hunting
Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. The hunt is currently practiced in five countries: Canada, where most of the world's seal hunting takes place, Namibia, the Danish region of Greenland, Norway and Russia...

 and trading ships. They traded food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, food, artefacts, water, and on occasion sex. The introduction of the potato and the musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

 transformed Māori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, which enabled longer and more sustained military campaigns. The resulting inter-tribal Musket Wars
Musket Wars
The Musket Wars were a series of five hundred or more battles mainly fought between various hapū , sometimes alliances of pan-hapū groups and less often larger iwi of Māori between 1807 and 1842, in New Zealand.Northern tribes such as the rivals Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whātua were the first to obtain...

 encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing between 30,000–40,000 Māori. From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 most of the Māori population. The Māori population declined to around 40 percent of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.

The British government appointed James Busby
James Busby
James Busby is widely regarded as the "father" of the Australian wine industry, as he took the first collection of vine stock from Spain and France to Australia. Later he become a British Resident who traveled to New Zealand, involved in the drafting of the Declaration of the Independence of New...

 as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832 and in 1835, following an announcement of impending French sovereignty, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand
United Tribes of New Zealand
The United Tribes of New Zealand was a loose confederation of Māori tribes based in the north of the North Island.- History :The confederation was convened in 1834 by British Resident James Busby...

 sent a Declaration of the Independence
Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand
In New Zealand political and social history, the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand , was signed by a number of Māori chiefs in 1835, proclaimed the sovereign independence of New Zealand prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840....

 to King William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV of the United Kingdom
William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

 asking for protection. Ongoing unrest and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office
Colonial Office
Colonial Office is the government agency which serves to oversee and supervise their colony* Colonial Office - The British Government department* Office of Insular Affairs - the American government agency* Reichskolonialamt - the German Colonial Office...

 to send Captain William Hobson
William Hobson
Captain William Hobson RN was the first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi.-Early life:...

 to claim sovereignty for the British Crown and negotiate a treaty with the Māori. The Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

 was first signed in the Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is an area in the Northland Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Located 60 km north-west of Whangarei, it is close to the northern tip of the country....

 on 6 February 1840. In response to the commercially run New Zealand Company
New Zealand Company
The New Zealand Company originated in London in 1837 as the New Zealand Association with the aim of promoting the "systematic" colonisation of New Zealand. The association, and later the company, intended to follow the colonising principles of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who envisaged the creation of...

's attempts to establish an independent settlement in Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 and French settlers "purchasing" land in Akaroa
Akaroa
Akaroa is a village on Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand, situated within a harbour of the same name—the name Akaroa is Kāi Tahu Māori for 'Long Harbour'.- Overview :...

, Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the Treaty were still circulating. With the signing of the Treaty and declaration of sovereignty the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.

New Zealand, originally part of the colony of New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, became a separate Crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 in 1841. The colony gained a representative government in 1852
New Zealand Constitution Act 1852
The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that granted self-government to the colony of New Zealand...

 and the 1st New Zealand Parliament
1st New Zealand Parliament
The 1st New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. It opened on 24 May 1854, following New Zealand's first general election . It was dissolved on 15 September 1855 in preparation for that year's election...

 met in 1854. In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsibility over all domestic matters other than native policy. (Control over native policy was granted in the mid-1860s.) Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier Alfred Domett
Alfred Domett
Alfred Domett, CMG was an English colonial statesman and poet. He was New Zealand's fourth Premier.-Early life:He was born at Camberwell, Surrey; his father was a ship-owner...

 moved a resolution to transfer the capital from Auckland to a locality near the Cook Strait
Cook Strait
Cook Strait is the strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the west with the South Pacific Ocean on the east....

. Wellington was chosen due to its harbour and central location, with parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land. In 1893 the country became the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote
Women's suffrage in New Zealand
Women's suffrage in New Zealand was an important political issue in the late 19th century. Of countries presently independent, New Zealand was the first to give women the vote in modern times....

 and in 1894 pioneered the adoption of compulsory arbitration between employers and unions
Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894
The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894 was a piece of industrial relations legislation passed by the Parliament of New Zealand in 1894. Enacted by the First Liberal Government of New Zealand, it was the world's first compulsory system of state arbitration...

.

In 1907 New Zealand declared itself a Dominion within the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and in 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947
The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 was a constitutional Act of the New Zealand Parliament that formally accepted the full external autonomy offered by the British Parliament...

, making New Zealand a Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

. New Zealand was involved in world affairs, fighting alongside the British Empire in the first and second World Wars
Military history of New Zealand during World War II
thumb|A 1940 poster, signed by Michael Joseph Savage, calling on New Zealanders to support the war effort.New Zealand entered the Second World War by declaring war on Nazi Germany with Britain...

 and suffering through the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. The depression led to the election of the first Labour government
First Labour Government of New Zealand
The First Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 1935 to 1949. It set the tone of New Zealand's economic and welfare policies until the 1980s, establishing a welfare state, a system of Keynesian economic management, and high levels of state intervention...

 and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 and a protectionist economy. New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II and Māori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. A Māori protest movement
Maori protest movement
The Māori protest movement is a broad indigenous rights movement in New Zealand. While this movement has existed since Europeans first colonised New Zealand its modern form emerged in the early 1970s and has focused on issues such as the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori land rights, the Māori language and...

 developed, which criticised Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture...

 and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture
Maori culture
Māori culture is the culture of the Māori of New Zealand, an Eastern Polynesian people, and forms a distinctive part of New Zealand culture. Within the Māori community, and to a lesser extent throughout New Zealand as a whole, the word Māoritanga is often used as an approximate synonym for Māori...

 and the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1975, a Waitangi Tribunal
Waitangi Tribunal
The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand permanent commission of inquiry established under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975...

 was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1985. The government has negotiated settlements of these grievances
Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements
Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements have been a significant feature of New Zealand race relations and politics since 1975. Over the last 30 years, New Zealand governments have increasingly provided formal legal and political opportunity for Māori to seek redress for breaches by the Crown of...

 with many iwi, although Māori claims to the foreshore and seabed have proved controversial
New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy
The New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy is a debate in the politics of New Zealand. It concerns the ownership of the country's foreshore and seabed, with many Māori groups claiming that Māori have a rightful claim to title. These claims are based around historical possession and the Treaty...

 in the 2000s.

Politics



Government



New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 with a parliamentary democracy, although its constitution
New Zealand constitution
The constitution of New Zealand consists of a collection of statutes , Treaties, Orders in Council, letters patent, decisions of the Courts and unwritten constitutional conventions...

 is not codified. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand
Monarchy in New Zealand
The monarchy of New Zealand also referred to as The Crown in Right of New Zealand, Her Majesty in Right of New Zealand, or The Queen in Right of New Zealand is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of the Realm of New Zealand,...

 and the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General
Governor-General of New Zealand
The Governor-General of New Zealand is the representative of the monarch of New Zealand . The Governor-General acts as the Queen's vice-regal representative in New Zealand and is often viewed as the de facto head of state....

, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealand's head of government consequent on being the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand...

. The Governor-General can exercise the Crown's prerogative powers (such as reviewing cases of injustice and making appointments of Cabinet ministers, ambassadors and other key public officials) and in rare situations, the reserve powers (the power to dismiss a Prime Minister, dissolve Parliament or refuse the Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 of a bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 into law). The powers of the Queen and the Governor-General are limited by constitutional constraints and they cannot normally be exercised without the advice of Cabinet
New Zealand Cabinet
The Cabinet of New Zealand functions as the policy and decision-making body of the executive branch within the New Zealand government system...

.
The Parliament of New Zealand
Parliament of New Zealand
The Parliament of New Zealand consists of the Queen of New Zealand and the New Zealand House of Representatives and, until 1951, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The House of Representatives is often referred to as "Parliament".The House of Representatives usually consists of 120 Members of...

 holds legislative power and consists of the Sovereign (represented by the Governor-General) and the House of Representatives
New Zealand House of Representatives
The New Zealand House of Representatives is the sole chamber of the legislature of New Zealand. The House and the Queen of New Zealand form the New Zealand Parliament....

. It also included an upper house, the Legislative Council
New Zealand Legislative Council
The Legislative Council of New Zealand was the upper house of the New Zealand Parliament from 1853 until 1951. Unlike the lower house, the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Legislative Council was appointed.-Role:...

, until this was abolished in 1950. The supremacy of the House over the Sovereign was established in England by the Bill of Rights 1689
Bill of Rights 1689
The Bill of Rights or the Bill of Rights 1688 is an Act of the Parliament of England.The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament on 16 December 1689. It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689 ,...

 and has been ratified as law in New Zealand. The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a Government is formed from the party or coalition
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 with the majority of seats. If no majority is formed a minority government
Minority government
A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

 can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply
Confidence and supply
In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

 votes is assured. The Governor-General appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention the Parliamentary leader
Parliamentary leader
A parliamentary leader is political title given in various countries to lead a caucus in a legislative body, whether it be the countries respective parliaments or provincial legislature...

 of the governing party or coalition. Cabinet, formed by ministers and led by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy-making body in government and responsible for deciding significant government actions. By convention
Convention (norm)
A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms or criteria, often taking the form of a custom....

, members of cabinet are bound by collective responsibility
Cabinet collective responsibility
Cabinet collective responsibility is constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that members of the Cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. This support includes voting for the government in...

 to decisions made by cabinet.

Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure
Tenure
Tenure commonly refers to life tenure in a job and specifically to a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.-19th century:...

 to help maintain constitutional independence from the government. This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on the legislation enacted by Parliament without other influences on their decisions. The Privy Council
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. Established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King in Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is one of the highest courts in the United...

 in London was the country's final court of appeal until 2004, when it was replaced with the newly established Supreme Court of New Zealand
Supreme Court of New Zealand
The Supreme Court of New Zealand is the highest court and the court of last resort in New Zealand, having formally come into existence on 1 January 2004. The court sat for the first time on 1 July 2004. It replaced the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, based in London...

. The judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice
Chief Justice of New Zealand
The Chief Justice of New Zealand is the head of the New Zealand judiciary, and presides over the Supreme Court of New Zealand. Before the establishment of the latter court in 2004 the Chief Justice was the presiding judge in the High Court of New Zealand and was also ex officio a member of the...

, includes the Court of Appeal, the High Court
High Court of New Zealand
The High Court of New Zealand is a superior court of New Zealand. It was established in 1841 and known as the Supreme Court of New Zealand until 1980....

, and subordinate courts.


Almost all parliamentary general elections between 1853 and 1996 were held under the first past the post voting system. The elections since 1930 have been dominated by two political parties, National
New Zealand National Party
The New Zealand National Party is the largest party in the New Zealand House of Representatives and in November 2008 formed a minority government with support from three minor parties.-Policies:...

 and Labour
New Zealand Labour Party
The New Zealand Labour Party is a New Zealand political party. It describes itself as centre-left and socially progressive and has been one of the two primary parties of New Zealand politics since 1935....

. Since 1996, a form of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used. Under the MMP system each person has two votes; one is for the 65 electoral seats (including seven reserved for Māori), and the other is for a party. The remaining 55 seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electoral seat or 5 percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats. Between March 2005 and August 2006 New Zealand became the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land (Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
In New Zealand the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the individual who chairs the country's legislative body, the New Zealand House of Representatives...

 and Chief Justice) were occupied simultaneously by women.

Foreign relations and the military



Early colonial New Zealand allowed the British Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy. The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate their own political treaties
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

, with the first successful commercial treaty being with Japan in 1928. Despite this independence New Zealand readily followed Britain in declaring war
Declaration of war
A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.The legality of who is competent to declare war varies...

 on Germany on 3 September 1939 with then Prime Minister Michael Savage
Michael Joseph Savage
Michael Joseph Savage was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand.- Early life :Born in Tatong, Victoria, Australia, Savage first became involved in politics while working in that state. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1907. There he worked in a variety of jobs, as a miner, flax-cutter and...

 proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand."
In 1951 the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests, while New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS
ANZUS
The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks...

 security treaty. The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, the failure of the United States to admonish France after the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior
Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was an operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure , carried out on July 10, 1985...

, disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy
New Zealand's nuclear-free zone
In 1984, Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters. Under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, territorial sea, land and airspace of New Zealand became nuclear-free zones...

. Despite the USA's suspension of ANZUS obligations the treaty remained in effect between New Zealand and Australia, whose foreign policy has followed a similar historical trend. Close political contact is maintained between the two countries, with free trade agreements
Closer Economic Relations
Closer Economic Relations is a free trade agreement between the governments of New Zealand and Australia. It is also known as the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement and sometimes shortened to...

 and travel arrangements
Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement
The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement is an informal agreement between Australia and New Zealand to allow for the free movement of citizens of one nation to the other.- Treaty history :...

 that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries without restrictions. Currently over 500,000 New Zealanders live in Australia and 65,000 Australians live in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zealand's aid goes to these countries and many Pacific people migrate to New Zealand for employment. Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category, which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year. A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it. New Zealand is involved in the Pacific Islands Forum
Pacific Islands Forum
The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum...

, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN rarely ), is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has...

 Regional Forum (including the East Asia Summit
East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit is a forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian region. Membership will expand to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings...

). New Zealand is also a member of the United Nations
New Zealand and the United Nations
New Zealand is a founding member of the United Nations, having taken part in 1945 in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco.Since its formation, New Zealand has been actively engaged in the organisation...

, the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 and the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.

The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
The Royal New Zealand Navy is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

, the New Zealand Army
New Zealand Army
The New Zealand Army , is the land component of the New Zealand Defence Force and comprises around 4,500 Regular Force personnel, 2,000 Territorial Force personnel and 500 civilians. Formerly the New Zealand Military Forces, the current name was adopted around 1946...

 and the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

. New Zealand's national defence
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 needs are modest due to the unlikelihood of direct attack, although it does have a global presence. The country fought in both world wars, with notable campaigns in Gallipoli, Crete
Battle of Crete
The Battle of Crete was a battle during World War II on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion of Crete under the code-name Unternehmen Merkur...

, El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 and Cassino
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

. The Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering New Zealand's national identity
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

 and strengthened the ANZAC tradition it shares with Australia. According to Mary Edmond-Paul, "World War I had left scars on New Zealand society, with nearly 18,500 in total dying as a result of the war, more than 41,000 wounded, and others affected emotionally, out of an overseas fighting force of about 103,000 and a population of just over a million." New Zealand also played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

 and the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 air campaign. During World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand.

In addition to Vietnam and the two world wars, New Zealand fought in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

, the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

, the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and the Afghanistan War
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

, the Sinai
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, Angola
Angolan Civil War
The Angolan Civil War was a major civil conflict in the Southern African state of Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with some interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. Prior to this, a decolonisation conflict had taken...

, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor
Operation Astute
Operation Astute is an Australian-led military deployment to East Timor to quell unrest and return stability in the 2006 East Timor crisis. It is currently headed by Brigadier Bill Sowry, and commenced on 25 May 2006 under the command of Brigadier Michael Slater...

, and the Solomon Islands. New Zealand also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War.

Local government and external territories


The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces
Provinces of New Zealand
The Provinces of New Zealand existed from 1841 until 1876 as a form of sub-national government. They were replaced by counties, which were themselves replaced by districts.Following abolition, the provinces became known as provincial districts...

, which had a degree of autonomy. Due to financial pressures and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales and other policies, government was centralised and the provinces were abolished in 1876. As a result, New Zealand now has no separately represented subnational entities. The provinces are remembered in regional public holidays and sporting rivalries.

Since 1876, various councils have administered local areas under legislation determined by the central government. In 1989, the government reorganised local government into the current two-tier structure of regional councils
Regions of New Zealand
The region is the top tier of local government in New Zealand. There are 16 regions of New Zealand. Eleven are governed by an elected regional council, while five are governed by territorial authorities which also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities...

 and territorial authorities
Territorial authorities of New Zealand
Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. There are 67 territorial authorities: 13 city councils, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council...

. The 249 municipalities that existed in 1975 have now been consolidated into 67 territorial authorities and 11 regional councils. The regional councils' role is to regulate "the natural environment with particular emphasis on resource management", while territorial authorities are responsible for sewage, water, local roads, building consents and other local matters. Five of the territorial councils are unitary authorities
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

 and also act as regional councils. The territorial authorities consist of 13 city councils, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council. While officially the Chatham Islands Council is not a unitary authority, it undertakes many functions of a regional council.

The Realm of New Zealand is one of 16 realms within the commonwealth
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

 and comprises New Zealand, Tokelau
Tokelau
Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls with a combined land area of 10 km2 and a population of approximately 1,400...

, the Ross Dependency
Ross Dependency
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south...

, the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

 and Niue
Niue
Niue , is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and inhabitants of the island call it "the Rock" for short. Niue is northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest, and the Cook Islands to...

. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand. The New Zealand Parliament cannot pass legislation for these countries, but with their consent can act on behalf of them in foreign affairs and defence. Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

 that uses the New Zealand flag and anthem, but is administered by a council of three elders (one from each Tokelauan atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

). The Ross Dependency
Ross Dependency
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south...

 is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica, where it operates the Scott Base
Scott Base
Scott Base is a research facility located in Antarctica and is operated by New Zealand. It was named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Royal Navy, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica...

 research facility. New Zealand citizenship law treats all parts of the realm equally, so most people born in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency before 2006 are New Zealand citizens. Further conditions apply for those born from 2006 onwards.

Geography


See also: Atlas of New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is an online repository of free-use images, sound and other media files. It is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation....



New Zealand is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller islands, located near the centre of the water hemisphere
Water hemisphere
The water hemisphere, sometimes capitalised as the Water Hemisphere, is the hemisphere on the Earth containing the largest area of water possible for an exact part of the Earth's surface. It is centered on , near New Zealand's Bounty Islands...

. The main North and South Islands are separated by the Cook Strait
Cook Strait
Cook Strait is the strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the west with the South Pacific Ocean on the east....

, 22 kilometres (13.7 mi) wide at its narrowest point. Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island is a large island of New Zealand, situated to the north-east of central Auckland in the outer Hauraki Gulf. With an area of it is the fourth-largest island of New Zealand's main chain of islands, with its highest point, Mount Hobson, rising...

 (in the Hauraki Gulf
Hauraki Gulf
The Hauraki Gulf is a coastal feature of the North Island of New Zealand. It has a total area of 4000 km², and lies between the Auckland Region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island...

), d'Urville Island
D'Urville Island, New Zealand
D'Urville Island is an island in the Marlborough Sounds along the northern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It was named after the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville. With an area of approximately , it is the eighth-largest island of New Zealand, and has around 52 permanent...

 (in the Marlborough Sounds
Marlborough Sounds
The Marlborough Sounds are an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys created by a combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels at the north of the South Island of New Zealand...

) and Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is an island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, located about from Auckland.The island is the second-largest in the Hauraki Gulf after Great Barrier Island. It is the most populated, with nearly 8,000 permanent residents plus another estimated 3,400 who have second or holiday homes...

 (about 22 km (14 mi) from central Auckland). The country's islands lie between latitudes 29°
29th parallel south
The 29th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 29 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

 and 53°S
53rd parallel south
The 53rd parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 53 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and South America....

, and longitudes 165°
165th meridian east
The meridian 165° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 176°E
176th meridian east
The meridian 176° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

New Zealand is long (over 1600 kilometres (994.2 mi) along its north-north-east axis) and narrow (a maximum width of 400 kilometres (248.5 mi)), with approximately 15134 km (9,404 mi) of coastline and a total land area of 268021 square kilometres (103,483.5 sq mi) Due to its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Its Exclusive Economic Zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

, one of the largest in the world, covers more than 15 times its land area.

The South Island is the largest land mass
Landmass
A landmass is a contiguous area of land surrounded by ocean. Although it may be most often written as one word to distinguish it from the usage "land mass"—the measure of land area—it is also used as two words.Landmasses include:*supercontinents...

 of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps
Southern Alps
The Southern Alps is a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the island's western side...

. There are 18 peaks over 3000 metres (9,842.5 ft), the highest of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook
Aoraki/Mount Cook
Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching .It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers...

 at 3754 metres (12,316.3 ft). Fiordland
Fiordland
Fiordland is a geographic region of New Zealand that is situated on the south-western corner of the South Island, comprising the western-most third of Southland. Most of Fiordland is dominated by the steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps, deep lakes and its ocean-flooded, steep western valleys...

's steep mountains and deep fiords record the extensive ice age glaciation of this south-western corner of the South Island. The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism. The highly active Taupo volcanic zone
Taupo Volcanic Zone
The Taupo Volcanic Zone is a highly active volcanic V shaped area in the North Island of New Zealand that is spreading east -west at the rate of about 8mm per year...

 has formed a large volcanic plateau
North Island Volcanic Plateau
The North Island Volcanic Plateau is a volcanic plateau covering much of central North Island of New Zealand with volcanoes, lava plateaus, and crater lakes....

, punctuated by the North Island's highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu
Mount Ruapehu
Mount Ruapehu, or just Ruapehu, is an active stratovolcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand. It is 23 kilometres northeast of Ohakune and 40 kilometres southwest of the southern shore of Lake Taupo, within Tongariro National Park...

 (2797 metres (9,176.5 ft)). The plateau also hosts the country's largest lake, Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo is a lake situated in the North Island of New Zealand. With a surface area of , it is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand, and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area in geopolitical Oceania after Lake Murray ....

, nestled in the caldera
Caldera
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters...

 of one of the world's most active supervolcano
Supervolcano
A supervolcano is a volcano capable of producing a volcanic eruption with an ejecta volume greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers . This is thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions. Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is...

es.
The country owes its varied topography, and perhaps even its emergence above the waves, to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 and Indo-Australian Plate
Indo-Australian Plate
The Indo-Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate that includes the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean, and extends northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters...

s. New Zealand is part of Zealandia
Zealandia (continent)
Zealandia , also known as Tasmantis or the New Zealand continent, is a nearly submerged continental fragment that sank after breaking away from Australia 60–85 million years ago, having separated from Antarctica between 85 and 130 million years ago...

, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwana
Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

n supercontinent. About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to contort and crumple
Kaikoura Orogeny
The Kaikoura Orogeny is a New Zealand orogeny that has given birth to the Southern Alps. It began 25 million years ago along the Alpine Fault.In this orogeny the Southern alps are being formed because the Pacific Plate is being pushed up over the Australian Plate...

 the region. This is now most evident in the Southern Alps, formed by compression of the crust
Continental collision
Continental collision is a phenomenon of the plate tectonics of Earth that occurs at convergent boundaries. Continental collision is a variation on the fundamental process of subduction, whereby the subduction zone is destroyed, mountains produced, and two continents sutured together...

 beside the Alpine Fault
Alpine Fault
The Alpine Fault is a geological fault, more specifically known as a right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island. It forms a transform boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. Earthquakes along the fault, and the...

. Elsewhere the plate boundary involves the subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 of one plate under the other, producing the Puysegur Trench
Puysegur trench
The deep Puysegur Trench is a deep cleft in the floor of the south Tasman Sea formed by the subduction of the Indo-Australian Plate under the Pacific Plate to the south of New Zealand. Immediately to its east lies a ridge, a northern extension of the Macquarie Ridge, which separates the Puysegur...

 to the south, the Hikurangi Trench
Hikurangi Trench
The Hikurangi Trench is a linear deep in the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, lying between the southern end of the Cook Strait and the Chatham Rise. Though much shallower, it is the southward continuation of the Kermadec Trench and forms part of the...

 east of the North Island, and the Kermadec
Kermadec Trench
The Kermadec trench is one of Earth's deepest oceanic trenches, reaching a depth of . Formed by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Indo-Australian Plate, it runs over a thousand kilometres parallel with and to the east of the Kermadec Ridge and island arc, from near the northeastern tip...

 and Tonga Trench
Tonga Trench
The Tonga Trench is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is deep at its deepest point, known as the Horizon Deep.The Tonga Trench is a convergent plate boundary. The trench lies at the northern end of the Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone, an active subduction zone where the Pacific Plate is being...

es further north.

Climate


New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 climate with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Historical maxima and minima
Maxima and minima
In mathematics, the maximum and minimum of a function, known collectively as extrema , are the largest and smallest value that the function takes at a point either within a given neighborhood or on the function domain in its entirety .More generally, the...

 are 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Ranfurly
Ranfurly, New Zealand
Ranfurly is the largest settlement in the Maniototo district of Otago, New Zealand. Located 110 kilometres north of Dunedin, it lies in dry rough country at a moderately high altitude close to a small tributary of the Taieri River. It is a service town for the local farming community...

, Otago
Otago
Otago is a region of New Zealand in the south of the South Island. The region covers an area of approximately making it the country's second largest region. The population of Otago is...

. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

 to almost semi-arid in Central Otago
Central Otago
Central Otago is the inland part of the New Zealand region of Otago in the South Island. The area commonly known as Central Otago includes both the Central Otago District and the Queenstown-Lakes District to the west....

 and the Mackenzie Basin
Mackenzie Basin
The Mackenzie Basin , is an elliptical intermontane basin, located in the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts, near the centre of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest such basin in New Zealand...

 of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland
North Auckland Peninsula
The North Auckland Peninsula, frequently referred to simply as the Northland Peninsula, is located in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. The peninsula is easily confused with, though not the same as Northland Region, which occupies the top 80% of the peninsula...

. Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch
Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

 is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25.2 in) of rain per year and Auckland the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive approximately 2,400–2,500 hours.

Biodiversity


New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years and island biogeography
Biogeography
Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species , organisms, and ecosystems in space and through geological time. Organisms and biological communities vary in a highly regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude, elevation, isolation and habitat area...

 is responsible for the country's unique species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

. They have either evolved
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 from Gondwana
Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

n wildlife or the few organisms that have managed to reach
Biological dispersal
Biological dispersal refers to species movement away from an existing population or away from the parent organism. Through simply moving from one habitat patch to another, the dispersal of an individual has consequences not only for individual fitness, but also for population dynamics, population...

 the shores flying, swimming or being carried across the sea
Rafting event
Oceanic dispersal is a type of biological dispersal that occurs when organisms transfer from one land mass to another by way of a sea crossing on large clumps of floating vegetation. Such matted clumps of vegetation are often seen floating down major rivers in the tropics and washing out to sea,...

. About 82 percent of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 and includes a single family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech
Nothofagus
Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 35 species of trees and shrubs native to the temperate oceanic to tropical Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and Australasia...

 in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.

Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80 percent of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees. Massive deforestation
Deforestation in New Zealand
Deforestation in New Zealand has been a contentious environmental issue in the past, but native forests, colloquially called "the bush", now have legal protection.-Pre-human forest cover:...

 occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23 percent of the land.

The forests were dominated by birds, and the lack of mammalian predators led to some like the kiwi
Kiwi
Kiwi are flightless birds endemic to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae.At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world...

, kakapo
Kakapo
The Kakapo , Strigops habroptila , also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightless nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand...

 and takahē
Takahe
The Takahē or South Island Takahē, Porphyrio hochstetteri is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belonging to the rail family. It was thought to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898...

 evolving flightlessness
Flightless bird
Flightless birds are birds which lack the ability to fly, relying instead on their ability to run or swim. They are thought to have evolved from flying ancestors. There are about forty species in existence today, the best known being the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, kiwi, and penguin...

. The arrival of humans, associated changes to habitat, and the introduction of rats
Polynesian Rat
The Polynesian Rat, or Pacific Rat , known to the Māori as kiore, is the third most widespread species of rat in the world behind the Brown Rat and Black Rat. The Polynesian Rat originates in Southeast Asia but, like its cousins, has become well travelled – infiltrating Fiji and most Polynesian...

, ferrets and other mammals led to the extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 of many bird species, including large birds
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

 like the moa
Moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

 and Haast's eagle
Haast's Eagle
Haast's Eagle was a species of massive eagles that once lived on the South Island of New Zealand. The species was the largest eagle known to have existed. Its prey consisted mainly of gigantic flightless birds that were unable to defend themselves from the striking force and speed of these eagles,...

.
Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuatara
Tuatara
The tuatara is a reptile endemic to New Zealand which, though it resembles most lizards, is actually part of a distinct lineage, order Sphenodontia. The two species of tuatara are the only surviving members of its order, which flourished around 200 million years ago. Their most recent common...

s, skink
Skink
Skinks are lizards belonging to the family Scincidae. Together with several other lizard families, including Lacertidae , they comprise the superfamily or infraorder Scincomorpha...

s and gecko
Gecko
Geckos are lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota, found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from 1.6 cm to 60 cm....

s), frogs
Leiopelmatidae
Leiopelmatidae, or New Zealand and North American primitive frogs, is a family belonging to the suborder Archaeobatrachia. Their relatively primitive form indicates that they have an ancient lineage...

, spiders (katipo
Katipo
Latrodectus katipo, the katipo, is an endangered species of spider native to New Zealand. A member of the genus Latrodectus, it is related to the Australian redback spider, and the North American black widow spiders. The species is venomous to humans, capable of delivering a comparatively dangerous...

), insects (weta
Weta
Weta is the name given to about 70 insect species endemic to New Zealand. There are many similar species around the world, though most are in the southern hemisphere. The name comes from the Māori word 'wētā' and is the same in the plural...

) and snails. Some, such as the wrens
New Zealand wren
The New Zealand wrens, Acanthisittidae, are a family of tiny passerines endemic to New Zealand. They were represented by six known species in four or five genera, although only two species survive in two genera today...

 and tuatara, are so unique that they have been called living fossil
Living fossil
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species which appears similar to a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives, or a group of organisms which have long fossil records...

s. Three species of bats (one
New Zealand greater short-tailed bat
The New Zealand Greater Short-tailed Bat was one of two species of New Zealand short-tailed bats, a family unique to New Zealand. It lived on the North and South Islands in prehistoric times and historically lived on small islands near Stewart Island/Rakiura. Short-tailed bats were as adept at...

 since extinct) were the only sign of native land mammals in New Zealand until the 2006 discovery of bones from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal at least 16 million years old. Marine mammals however are abundant, with almost half the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters. Many seabirds breed in New Zealand, a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.

Since human arrival almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plant species, and one bat. Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced. However New Zealand conservationists have pioneered several methods to help threatened wildlife recover, including island sanctuaries, pest control, wildlife translocation, fostering, and ecological restoration of islands
Island restoration
The ecological restoration of islands, or island restoration, is the application of the principles of ecological restoration to islands and island groups. Islands, due to their isolation, are home to many of the world's endemic species, as well as important breeding grounds for seabirds and some...

 and other selected areas
Ecological island
An ecological island is not necessarily an island surrounded by water, but is an area of land, isolated by natural or artificial means from the surrounding land, where a natural micro-habitat exists amidst a larger differing ecosystem....

.

Economy


New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 (PPP) per capita of roughly US$28,250. The currency is the New Zealand dollar
New Zealand dollar
The New Zealand dollar is the currency of New Zealand. It also circulates in the Cook Islands , Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. It is divided into 100 cents....

, informally known as the "Kiwi dollar"; it also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar
Cook Islands dollar
The dollar is the currency of the Cook Islands. The dollar is subdivided into 100 cents, although some 50 cent coins carry the denomination as "50 tene".-History:...

), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
The Pitcairn Islands , officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, form a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. The islands are a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the Pacific...

. New Zealand was ranked the 3rd "most developed" country in 2010 according to the United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

's Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

, 4th in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom
Index of Economic Freedom
The Index of Economic Freedom is a series of 10 economic measurements created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Its stated objective is to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations....

 published by The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

.

Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focussing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber. With the development of refrigerated shipping
Dunedin (ship)
The Dunedin was the first ship to complete a truly successful transport of refrigerated meat. In its capacity, it helped set the stage for New Zealand's success as a major provider of agricultural exports, notwithstanding its extreme remoteness from most markets.-Ship origins:The 1,320-ton, ...

 in the 1880s meat and dairy products were exported to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand. High demand for agricultural products from the United Kingdom and the United States helped New Zealanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1973 New Zealand's export market was reduced when the United Kingdom joined the European Community and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 and 1979 energy crisis
1979 energy crisis
The 1979 oil crisis in the United States occurred in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Amid massive protests, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country in early 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini soon became the new leader of Iran. Protests severely disrupted the Iranian oil...

, led to a severe economic depression
Depression (economics)
In economics, a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe downturn than a recession, which is seen by some economists as part of the modern business cycle....

. Living standards in New Zealand fell behind those of Australia and Western Europe, and by 1982 New Zealand had the lowest per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by the World Bank
World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries.The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary...

. Since 1984, successive governments engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring (known first as Rogernomics
Rogernomics
The term Rogernomics, a portmanteau of "Roger" and "economics", was coined by journalists at the New Zealand Listener by analogy with Reaganomics to describe the economic policies followed by Roger Douglas after his appointment in 1984 as Minister of Finance in the Fourth Labour Government...

 and then Ruthanasia
Ruthanasia
Ruthanasia, a portmanteau of "Ruth" and "euthanasia", is the pejorative name given to the period of free-market economic reform conducted during the first term of the fourth National government in New Zealand, from 1990 to 1993...

), rapidly transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist
Protectionism
Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow "fair competition" between imports and goods and services produced domestically.This...

 economy to a liberalised free-trade economy.

Unemployment peaked above 10 percent in 1991 and 1992, following the 1987 share market crash
Black Monday (1987)
In finance, Black Monday refers to Monday October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short time. The crash began in Hong Kong and spread west to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already declined by a significant margin...

, but eventually fell a record low of 3.4 percent in 2007 (ranking fifth from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations). The global financial crisis that followed however had a major impact on New Zealand with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years, and unemployment rising back to 7% in late 2009. The unemployment rate for youth was 17.4% in the June 2011 quarter. New Zealand has experienced a series of "brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

s" since the 1970s that still continue today. Nearly one quarter of highly-skilled workers live overseas, most in Australia and Britain, the most from any developed nation. In recent years, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.

Trade


New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural
Agriculture in New Zealand
Agriculture in New Zealand is the largest sector of the tradeable economy, contributing about two-thirds of exported goods in 2006-7. For the year ended March 2002, agricultural exports were valued at over $14.8 billion...

 products. Exports account for a high 24 percent of its output, making New Zealand vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing
Fishing industry in New Zealand
As with other countries, New Zealand’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone gives its fishing industry special fishing rights. It covers 4.1 million square kilometres. This is the sixth largest zone in the world, and is fourteen times the land area of New Zealand itself.The zone has a rich and...

, forestry and mining, which make up about half of the country's exports. Its major export partners are Australia, United States, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom. On 7 April 2008, New Zealand and China signed the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement
New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement
The New Zealand – China Free Trade Agreement is a bilateral free trade agreement signed between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand in April 2008. It is the first free trade agreement that China has signed with any developed country, and New Zealand's largest trade deal since the...

, the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country. The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction. Tourism
Tourism in New Zealand
Tourism is an important industry in New Zealand, contributing NZ$15 billion of the country's gross domestic product in 2010. It is also New Zealand's largest export industry, with about 2.4 million international tourists visiting per year , providing 18% of the country's export earnings...

 plays a significant role in New Zealand's economy, contributing $15.0 billion to New Zealand’s total GDP and supporting 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010. International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1 percent in the year to October 2010 and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually up to 2015.

Wool was New Zealand’s major agricultural export during the late 19th century. Even as late as the 1960s it made up over a third of all export revenues, but since then its price has steadily dropped relative to other commodities and wool is no longer profitable for many farmers. In contrast dairy farming increased, with the number of dairy cows doubling between 1990 and 2007, to become New Zealand's largest export earner. In the year to June 2009, dairy products accounted for 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports, and the country's largest company, Fonterra
Fonterra
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited is a New Zealand multinational dairy co-operative owned by almost 10,500 New Zealand farmers. The company is responsible for approximately 30% of the world's dairy exports and with revenue exceeding NZ$19.87 billion, is New Zealand's largest company.- History :In...

, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade. Other agricultural exports in 2009 were meat 13.2 percent, wool 6.3 percent, fruit 3.5 percent and fishing 3.3 percent. New Zealand's wine
New Zealand wine
New Zealand wine is largely produced in ten major wine growing regions spanning latitudes 36° to 45° South and extending . They are, from north to south Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara and Central...

 industry has followed a similar trend to dairy, the number of vineyards doubling over the same period, overtaking wool exports for the first time in 2007.

Infrastructure


In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated approximately 69 percent of New Zealand's gross energy
Energy in New Zealand
Despite a comparatively small population and abundant natural resources, New Zealand is a net importer of energy, in the form of oil products. Approximately 35% of primary energy is from renewable sources. Energy consumption is 4.53 TOE per capita, just less than the OECD average of 4.67...

 supply and 31% was generated from renewable energy
Renewable energy in New Zealand
Renewable energy in New Zealand is primarily from hydropower. In 2010, 74% of the electricity generated in New Zealand came from renewable sources, a ratio that has been falling for decades while load growth has been met primarily by natural gas-fired power stations...

, primarily hydroelectric power
Hydroelectric power in New Zealand
Hydroelectric power in New Zealand is the largest source of electricity generation in New Zealand.-History:Reefton was the first town with a reticulated public electricity supply from a significant hydroelectric plant after the commissioning of the Reefton Power Station in 1888.During the next...

 and geothermal power
Geothermal power in New Zealand
Geothermal power in New Zealand is a small but significant part of the energy generation capacity of the country, providing approximately 10% of the country's electricity with installed capacity of over 700 MW...

. New Zealand's transport
Transport in New Zealand
Transport in New Zealand, with its mountainous topography and a relatively small population mostly located near its long coastline, has always faced many challenges. Before Europeans arrived, Māori either walked or used watercraft on rivers or along the coasts...

 network includes 93805 kilometres (58,288 mi) of roads, worth 23 billion dollars, and 4128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport. The railways
Rail transport in New Zealand
Rail transport in New Zealand consists of a network of gauge railway lines in both the North and South Islands. Rail services are focused primarily on freight, particularly bulk freight, with limited passenger services on some lines...

 were privatised in 1993, then re-purchased by the government in 2004 and vested into a state owned enterprise. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers. Most international visitors arrive via air and New Zealand has seven international airports, although only the Auckland
Auckland International Airport
Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand with over 13 million passengers a year, expected to more than double by 2025...

 and Christchurch airports
Christchurch International Airport
-Facts & figures:As the gateway for Christchurch and the South Island, Christchurch International Airport is New Zealand’s second largest airport.5,908,077 passengers travelled in and out of Christchurch International Airport from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009...

 connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji. The New Zealand Post Office
New Zealand Post Office
The New Zealand Post Office was a New Zealand government department.As a Government Department, the New Zealand Post Office or N.Z.P.O., previously the Post and Telegraph Department or P & T, had as the political head the Postmaster General who was a member of Cabinet, and, when it was a separate...

 had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1989 when Telecom New Zealand
Telecom New Zealand
Telecom New Zealand is a New Zealand-wide communications service provider , providing fixed line telephone services, a mobile network, an internet service provider , a major ICT provider to NZ businesses , and a wholesale network infrastructure provider to other NZ CSPs...

 was formed, initially as a state-owned enterprise and then privatised in 1990. Telecom still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased.

Demography


The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.4 million. New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53 percent living in the four largest cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton
Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton is the centre of New Zealand's fourth largest urban area, and Hamilton City is the country's fourth largest territorial authority. Hamilton is in the Waikato Region of the North Island, approximately south of Auckland...

. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2010 Auckland was ranked the world's 4th most liveable city
World's Most Livable Cities
The world's most liveable cities is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on a reputable annual survey of living conditions. Two examples are the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and The Economists World's Most Livable Cities .Liveability rankings are designed for use by...

 and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer
Mercer (consulting firm)
Mercer is a human resource and related financial services consulting firm, headquartered in New York City. The firm operates internationally in more than 40 countries, with more than 19,000 employees, and is the world's largest human resource consulting firm....

 Quality of Life Survey

The life expectancy of a New Zealand child born in 2008 was 82.4 years for females, and 78.4 years for males. Life expectancy at birth is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050 and infant mortality is expected to decline. In 2050 the population is forecast to reach 5.3 million, the median age to rise from 36 years to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18 percent to 29 percent.

Ethnicity and immigration


In the 2006 census, 67.6 percent identified ethnically as European and 14.6 percent as Māori. Other major ethnic groups include Asian (9.2 percent) and Pacific peoples (6.9 percent), while 11.1 percent identified themselves simply as a "New Zealander" (or similar) and 1 percent identified with other ethnicities. This contrasts with 1961, when the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92 percent European and 7 percent Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1 percent. While the demonym
Demonym
A demonym , also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality. A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality; thus, the demonym for the people of England is English, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet, in english, the one...

 for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "Kiwi
Kiwi (people)
Kiwi is the nickname used internationally for people from New Zealand, as well as being a relatively common self-reference. The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird, which is native to, and the national symbol of, New Zealand...

" is commonly used both internationally and by locals. The Māori loanword Pākehā
Pakeha
Pākehā is a Māori language word for New Zealanders who are "of European descent". They are mostly descended from British and to a lesser extent Irish settlers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, although some Pākehā have Dutch, Scandinavian, German, Yugoslav or other ancestry...

 usually refers to New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this appellation, and some Māori use it to refer to all non-Polynesian New Zealanders.
The Māori were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early European settlers. Following colonisation, immigrants were predominantly from Britain, Ireland and Australia due to restrictive policies similar to the white Australian policies
White Australia policy
The White Australia policy comprises various historical policies that intentionally restricted "non-white" immigration to Australia. From origins at Federation in 1901, the polices were progressively dismantled between 1949-1973....

. There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

n, Italian, and German immigration together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa. Following the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 policies were relaxed and migrant diversity increased. In 2009–10, an annual target of 45,000–50,000 permanent residence approvals was set by the New Zealand Immigration Service—more than one new migrant for every 100 New Zealand residents. Twenty-three percent of New Zealand's population were born overseas, most of whom live in the Auckland region. While most have still come from the United Kingdom and Ireland (29 percent), immigration from East Asia (mostly mainland China, but with substantial numbers also from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong) is rapidly increasing the number of people from those countries.For further detail within East Asia: The number of fee-paying international student
International student
According to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development , international students are those who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of tertiary study. Despite that, the definition of international students varies in each country in accordance to their own national...

s increased sharply in the late 1990s, with more than 20,000 studying in public tertiary institutions
Tertiary education
Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, university-preparatory school...

 in 2002.

Language


English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 98 percent of the population. New Zealand English
New Zealand English
New Zealand English is the dialect of the English language used in New Zealand.The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of "the newest native-speaker variet[ies] of the English language in existence, a variety which has developed and...

 is similar to Australian English
Australian English
Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

 and many speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accents
Accent (linguistics)
In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside , the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class, their first language In...

 apart. After the Second World War, Māori were discouraged from speaking their own language (te reo Māori) in schools and workplaces and it existed as a community language only in a few remote areas. It has recently undergone a process of revitalisation, being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987, and is spoken by 4.1 percent of the population. There are now Māori language immersion schools and two Māori Television
Maori Television
Māori Television is a New Zealand TV station broadcasting programmes that make a significant contribution to the revitalisation of the Māori language and culture . Funded by the New Zealand Government, the station started broadcasting on 28 March 2004 from a base in Newmarket.Te Reo is the...

 channels, the only nationwide television channels to have the majority of their prime-time content delivered in Māori. Many places have officially been given dual Maori and English names in recent years. Samoan is one of the most widely spoken languages in New Zealand (2.3 percent), followed by French, Hindi, Yue and Northern Chinese. New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL is the main language of the Deaf community in New Zealand. It became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006, alongside Te Reo Māori....

 is used by approximately 28,000 people and was made New Zealand's second official language in 2006.


Education and religion


Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority attending from the age of 5. There are 13 school years and attending public schools is free. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99 percent, and over half of the population aged 15 to 29 hold a tertiary qualification. There are five types of government-owned tertiary institutions: universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, specialist colleges, and wānanga
Wananga
In the education system of New Zealand, a wānanga is a publicly-owned tertiary institution that provides education in a Māori cultural context. Section 162 of the Education Act 1989 specifies that wānanga resemble mainstream universities in many ways...

, and also private training establishments. In the adult population 14.2 percent have a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 or higher, 30.4 percent have some form of secondary qualification as their highest qualification and 22.4 percent have no formal qualification.

Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand. In the 2006 Census, 55.6 percent of the population identified themselves as Christians, while another 34.7 percent indicated that they had no religion (up from 29.6 percent in 2001) and around 4 percent affiliated with other religions. The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is a church of the Anglican Communion serving New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands...

, Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
The Catholic Church in New Zealand is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, which, inspired by the life, death and teachings of Jesus Christ, and under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Roman curia in Vatican City is the largest Christian church in the world.Catholic settlers first arrived...

, Presbyterianism
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand is the main Presbyterian church in New Zealand.-History:The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was formed in October 1901 with the amalgamation of churches in Synod of Otago and Southland with those north of the Waitaki River.Presbyterians had by and...

 and Methodism
Methodist Church of New Zealand
The Methodist Church of New Zealand — Te Hahi Weteriana O Aotearoa is a Methodist denomination headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is a member of the World Council of Churches.-External links:*...

. There are also significant numbers of Christians who identify themselves with Pentecostal, Baptist
Baptist Union of New Zealand
The Baptist Union of New Zealand is an association of Baptist churches in the country of New Zealand.Several Baptists settled in New Zealand in the 1840s, but the first Baptist minister, Decimus Dolamore from Yorkshire, England, did not arrive until May 1851...

, and Latter-day Saint churches and the New Zealand-based Ratana
Ratana
The Rātana movement is a Māori religion and pan-tribal political movement founded by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana in early 20th century New Zealand...

 church has adherents among Māori. According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, and Islam
Islam in New Zealand
Islam in New Zealand began with the arrival of Muslim Chinese gold prospectors in the 1870s. Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from India and eastern Europe settled from the early 1900s until the 1960s. Large-scale Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in...

.

Culture


Early Māori adapted the tropically-based east Polynesian culture
Polynesian culture
Polynesian culture refers to the indigenous peoples' culture of Polynesia who share common traits in language, customs and society. Chronologically, the development of Polynesian culture can be divided into four different historical eras:...

 in line with the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually developing their own distinctive culture. Social organisation was largely communal with families (whanau), sub-tribes (hapu) and tribes (iwi) ruled by a chief (rangatira) whose position was subject to the community's approval. The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced Māori culture, particularly with the introduction of Christianity. However, Māori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups as a vital part of their identity
Identity (social science)
Identity is a term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations . The term is used more specifically in psychology and sociology, and is given a great deal of attention in social psychology...

, and Māori kinship roles resemble those of other Polynesian peoples
Hawaiian kinship
Hawaiian kinship is a kinship system used to define family. Identified by Louis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Hawaiian system is one of the six major kinship systems .-Kinship system:Within common typologies, the...

. More recently American
Culture of the United States
The Culture of the United States is a Western culture originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore...

, Australian
Culture of Australia
The culture of Australia is essentially a Western culture influenced by the unique geography of the Australian continent and by the diverse input of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and various waves of multi-ethnic migration which followed the British colonisation of Australia...

, Asian
Culture of Asia
The culture of Asia is human civilization in Asia. It features different kinds of cultural heritage of many nationalities, societies, and ethnic groups in the region, traditionally called a continent from a Western-centric perspective, of Asia...

 and other European cultures
Culture of Europe
The culture of Europe might better be described as a series of overlapping cultures. Whether it is a question of North as opposed to South; West as opposed to East; Orthodoxism as opposed to Protestantism as opposed to Catholicism as opposed to Secularism; many have claimed to identify cultural...

 have exerted influence on New Zealand. Non-Māori Polynesian cultures are also apparent, with Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.
The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers. Modesty was expected and enforced through the "tall poppy syndrome
Tall poppy syndrome
Tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above...

", where high achievers received harsh criticism. At the time New Zealand was not known as an intellectual country. From the early 20th century until the late 1960s Māori culture was suppressed by the attempted assimilation of Māori into British New Zealanders. In the 1960s, as higher education became more available and cities expanded
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 urban culture began to dominate. Even though the majority of the population now lives in cities, much of New Zealand's art, literature, film and humour has rural themes.

Art


As part of the resurgence of Māori culture, the traditional crafts of carving and weaving are now more widely practised and Māori artists are increasing in number and influence. Most Māori carvings feature human figures, generally with three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesque head. Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scales decorate most carvings. The pre-eminent Māori architecture consisted of carved meeting houses (wharenui
Wharenui
A wharenui is a communal house of the Māori people of New Zealand, generally situated as the focal point of a marae. Wharenui are usually called 'meeting houses' in New Zealand English.-Wharenui:...

) decorated with symbolic carvings and illustrations. These buildings were originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs.

Māori decorated the white wood of buildings, canoes and cenotaphs using red (a mixture of red ochre and shark fat) and black (made from soot) paint and painted pictures of birds, reptiles and other designs on cave walls. Māori tattoos (moko
Ta moko
Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by rather than punctured...

) consisting of coloured soot mixed with gum were cut into the flesh with a bone chisel. Since European arrival paintings and photographs have been dominated by landscapes, originally not as works of art but as factual portrayals of New Zealand. Portraits of Māori were also common, with early painters often portraying them as "noble savage
Noble savage
The term noble savage , expresses the concept an idealized indigene, outsider , and refers to the literary stock character of the same...

s", exotic beauties or friendly natives. The country's isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to developed their own distinctive style of regionalism
Regionalism (art)
Regionalism is an American realist modern art movement that was popular during the 1930s. The artistic focus was from artists who shunned city life, and rapidly developing technological advances, to create scenes of rural life...

. During the 1960s and 70s many artists combined traditional Māori and Western techniques, creating unique art forms. New Zealand art and craft has gradually achieved an international audience, with exhibitions in the Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

 in 2001 and the "Paradise Now" exhibition in New York in 2004.

Māori cloaks are made of fine flax fibre and patterned with black, red and white triangles, diamonds and other geometric shapes. Greenstone was fashioned into earrings and necklaces, with the most well-known design being the hei-tiki
Hei-tiki
The hei-tiki is an ornamental pendant of the Māori which is worn around the neck. Hei-tiki are usually made of pounamu which is greenstone, and are considered a taonga . They are commonly referred to as tiki, a term that actually refers to large human figures carved in wood, and, also, the small...

, a distorted human figure sitting cross-legged with its head tilted to the side. Europeans brought English fashion etiquette to New Zealand, and until the 1950s most people dressed up for social occasions. Standards have since relaxed and New Zealand fashion has received a reputation for being casual, practical and lacklustre. However, the local fashion industry has grown significantly since 2000, doubling exports and increasing from a handful to about 50 established labels, with some labels gaining international recognition.

Literature



Māori quickly adopted writing as a means of sharing ideas, and many of their oral stories and poems were converted to the written form. Most early English literature was obtained from Britain and it was not until the 1950s when local publishing outlets increased that New Zealand literature started to become widely known. Although still largely influenced by global trends (modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

) and events (the Great Depression), writers in the 1930s began to develop stories increasingly focused on their experiences in New Zealand. During this period literature changed from a journalistic
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 activity to a more academic pursuit. Participation in the world wars gave some New Zealand writers a new perspective on New Zealand culture and with the post-war expansion of universities local literature flourished.

Entertainment


New Zealand music
Music of New Zealand
The music of New Zealand is the expression of the culture of New Zealand. New Zealand's music is influenced by the culture of the indigenous Māori and immigrants from the Pacific region, though its musical origins lie predominantly in British colonial history, with contributions from Europe and...

 has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation. Māori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound. Flutes and trumpets were used as musical instruments or as signalling devices during war or special occasions. Early settlers brought over their ethnic music, with brass band
Brass band
A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands , but are usually more correctly termed military bands, concert...

s and choral music being popular, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s. Pipe band
Pipe band
A pipe band is a musical ensemble consisting of pipers and drummers. The term used by military pipe bands, pipes and drums, is also common....

s became widespread during the early 20th century. The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the USA. Some artists release Māori language songs and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka
Kapa haka
The term Kapa haka is commonly known in Aotearoa as 'Maori Performing Arts' or the 'cultural dance' of Maori people...

(song and dance) has made a resurgence.

Radio first arrived in New Zealand in 1922 and television in 1960, while the number of New Zealand films
Cinema of New Zealand
New Zealand cinema, can refer to films made by New Zealand-based production companies in New Zealand. However, it may also refer to films made about New Zealand by filmmakers from other countries...

 significantly increased during the 1970s. In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission
New Zealand Film Commission
The New Zealand Film Commission is a New Zealand government agency formed to assist with creating and promoting New Zealand films...

 started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement. Deregulation in the 1980s saw a sudden increase in the numbers of radio and television stations. New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming, along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country's diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives, have encouraged some producers
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

 to film big budget movies in New Zealand. The New Zealand media industry is dominated by a small number of companies, most of which are foreign-owned, although the state retains ownership of some television and radio stations. Between 2003 and 2008, Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 consistently ranked New Zealand's press freedom in the top twenty.

Sports


Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have English origins. Golf, netball, tennis and cricket are the four top participatory sports, soccer is the most popular among young people and rugby union attracts the most spectators. Victorious rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

 tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the late 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity, although the sport's influence has since declined. Horse racing was also a popular spectator sport
Spectator sport
A spectator sport is a sport that is characterized by the presence of spectators, or watchers, at its matches. For instance, Tennis, Rugby, F-1, baseball, basketball, cricket, football , and ice hockey are spectator sports, while hunting or underwater hockey typically are not...

 and became part of the "Rugby, Racing and Beer" culture during the 1960s. Māori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby and the country's team performs a haka
Haka (sports)
The Haka is a traditional Maori war dance from New Zealand. There are thousands of Haka that are performed by various tribes and cultural groups throughout New Zealand. The best known Haka of them all is called "Ka Mate". It has been performed by countless New Zealand teams both locally and...

 (traditional Māori challenge) before international matches.

New Zealand has competitive international teams in rugby union, netball, cricket, rugby league
New Zealand national rugby league team
The New Zealand national rugby league team has represented New Zealand in rugby league football since intercontinental competition began for the sport in 1907. Administered by the New Zealand Rugby League, they are commonly known as the Kiwis, after the native bird of that name...

, and softball
Black Socks
The Black Socks are the New Zealand national men's softball team. They won the World Championships in 1976 , 1984, 1996, 2000 and 2004...

 and has traditionally done well in triathlons, rowing, yachting and cycling. The country has performed well on a medals-to-population ratio at Olympic Games
New Zealand at the Olympics
New Zealand first participated at the Olympic Games in 1908, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then. For their first two Games in 1908 and 1912, New Zealand competed with Australia in a combined Australasia team...

 and Commonwealth Games
New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games
Since the first in 1930, New Zealand has competed in all 19 editions of the Commonwealth Games and has won a total of 564 medals including 130 gold....

. New Zealand's national rugby union team is often regarded as the best in the world, and are the reigning World Cup holders. New Zealand are also the reigning rugby league world champions
Rugby League World Cup
The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league competition contested by members of the Rugby League International Federation . It has been held nearly once every 4 years on average since its inaugural tournament in France in 1954...

. New Zealand is known for its extreme sport
Extreme sport
An extreme sport is a popular term for certain activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger...

s, adventure tourism and strong mountaineering tradition. Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, fishing, swimming, running, tramping
Tramping in New Zealand
Tramping, known elsewhere as hiking or bushwalking, is a popular activity in New Zealand.Tramping is defined as a recreational activity involving walking over rough country carrying all the required food and equipment...

, canoeing, hunting, snowsports and surfing are also popular. The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing
Canoe racing
This article discusses canoe sprint and canoe marathon, competitive forms of canoeing and kayaking on more or less flat water. Both sports are governed by the International Canoe Federation ....

 has increased in popularity and is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.

See also


  • International rankings of New Zealand


Further reading


  • Statistics New Zealand. New Zealand Official Yearbook (annual). ISBN 1869537769 (2010).


External links


Government
Travel
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