Today we will talk about New Zealand. This topic is of great importance today and has generated great interest in society. New Zealand has had an impact in different areas, from politics to popular culture. It is crucial to understand its influence in order to understand the complexity of our current reality. In this article we will explore different aspects related to New Zealand, from its origin to its future implications. We hope that this reading is informative and provokes reflection on New Zealand and its impact on our world.
This was written as Nu Tireni in the Māori language (spelled Nu Tirani in Te Tiriti o Waitangi). In 1834 a document written in Māori and entitled "He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni" was translated into English and became the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand. It was prepared by Te W(h)akaminenga o Nga Rangatiratanga o Nga Hapu o Nu Tireni, the United Tribes of New Zealand, and a copy was sent to King William IV who had already acknowledged the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and who recognised the declaration in a letter from Lord Glenelg.
Aotearoa (pronounced [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa] in Māori and /ˌaʊtɛəˈroʊ.ə/ in English; often translated as 'land of the long white cloud') is the current Māori name for New Zealand. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans; Aotearoa originally referred to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui ("the fish of Māui") for the North Island and Te Waipounamu ("the waters of greenstone") or Te Waka o Aoraki ("the canoe of Aoraki") for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North (North Island), Middle (South Island), and South (Stewart Island / Rakiura). In 1830, mapmakers began to use "North" and "South" on their maps to distinguish the two largest islands, and by 1907, this was the accepted norm. The New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, and names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used, or both can be used together. Similarly the Māori and English names for the whole country are sometimes used together (Aotearoa New Zealand); however, this has no official recognition.
In Moriori, the indigenous language of the Chatham Islands, the words Aote and Aotea are terms thought to refer to mainland New Zealand.
New Zealand was the last major landmass settled by humans. The story of Kupe as the first human to set foot on the New Zealand archipelago, accredited to by most Māori iwi, is considered credible by historians; he is generally believed to have existed historically. Most histories claim that this occurred approximately 40 generations ago (between 900 and 1200 AD). The more specific reasons for Kupe's semi-legendary journey, and the migration of Māori in general, are contested. It is thought by some historians that Hawaiki and other Polynesian islands were experiencing considerable internal conflict at that time, which is thought to have caused an exodus from them. Some historians contend that this was because of the fallout from the 1257 Samalas eruption, which caused crop devastation globally and possibly helped trigger the Little Ice Age.
Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest that Eastern Polynesians first settled the New Zealand archipelago between 1250 and 1300, although newer archaeological and genetic research points to a date no earlier than about 1280, with at least the main settlement period between about 1320 and 1350, consistent with evidence based on genealogical traditions. This represented a culmination in a long series of voyages through the Pacific islands. It is the broad consensus of historians that the settlement of New Zealand by Eastern Polynesians was planned and deliberate. Over the centuries that followed, the Polynesian settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population formed different iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) which would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point, a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture. The Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 in the Moriori genocide, largely because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases also contributed. In 1862, only 101 survived, and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.
In a hostile 1642 encounter between Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri and Dutch explorer Abel Tasman's crew, four of Tasman's crew members were killed, and at least one Māori was hit by canister shot. 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 Americanwhaling, sealing, and trading ships. They traded European food, metal tools, weapons, and other goods for timber, Māori food, artefacts, and water. The introduction of the potato and the musket transformed Māori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, which enabled longer and more sustained military campaigns. The resulting intertribal Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000–40,000 Māori. From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population. The Māori population declined to around 40% of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.
The British Government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832. His duties, given to him by Governor Bourke in Sydney, were to protect settlers and traders "of good standing", prevent "outrages" against Māori, and apprehend escaped convicts. In 1835, following an announcement of impending French settlement by Charles de Thierry, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent a Declaration of Independence to King William IV of the United Kingdom asking for protection. Ongoing unrest, the proposed settlement of New Zealand by the New Zealand Company (which had already sent its first ship of surveyors to buy land from Māori) and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the United Kingdom and negotiate a treaty with the Māori. The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. In response to the New Zealand Company's attempts to establish an independent settlement in Wellington, Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the treaty were still circulating throughout the country for Māori to sign. With the signing of the treaty and declaration of sovereignty, the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.
The colony gained a representative government in 1852, and the first Parliament met in 1854. In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsibility over all domestic matters (except native policy, which was granted in the mid-1860s). Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution to transfer the capital from Auckland to a locality near Cook Strait. Wellington was chosen for its central location, with Parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865.
In 1886, New Zealand annexed the volcanic Kermadec Islands, about 1,000 km (620 mi) northeast of Auckland. Since 1937, the islands are uninhabited except for about six people at Raoul Island station. These islands put the northern border of New Zealand at 29 degrees South latitude. After the 1982 UNCLOS, the islands contributed significantly to New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.
A parliamentary general election must be called no later than three years after the previous election. Almost all general elections between 1853 and 1993 were held under the first-past-the-post voting system. Since the 1996 election, a form of proportional representation called mixed-member proportional (MMP) has been used. Under the MMP system, each person has two votes; one is for a candidate standing in the voter's electorate, and the other is for a party. Based on the 2018 census data, there are 72 electorates (which include seven Māori electorates in which only Māori can optionally vote), and the remaining 48 of the 120 seats are assigned so that representation in Parliament reflects the party vote, with the threshold that a party must win at least one electorate or 5% of the total party vote before it is eligible for a seat. Elections since the 1930s have been dominated by two political parties, National and Labour. More parties have been represented in Parliament since the introduction of MMP.
New Zealand's judiciary, headed by the chief justice, includes the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court, and subordinate courts. Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure to help maintain judicial independence. This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on the legislation enacted by Parliament without other influences on their decisions.
New Zealand is identified as one of the world's most stable and well-governed states. As of 2017, the country was ranked fourth in the strength of its democratic institutions, and first in government transparency and lack of corruption.LGBT rights in the nation are also recognised as among the most tolerant in Oceania. New Zealand ranks highly for civic participation in the political process, with 82% voter turnout during recent general elections, compared to an OECD average of 69%. However, this is untrue for local council elections; a historically low 36% of eligible New Zealanders voted in the 2022 local elections, compared with an already low 42% turnout in 2019. A 2017 human rights report by the United States Department of State noted that the New Zealand government generally respected the rights of individuals, but voiced concerns regarding the social status of the Māori population. In terms of structural discrimination, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has asserted that there is strong, consistent evidence that it is a real and ongoing socioeconomic issue. One example of structural inequality in New Zealand can be seen in the criminal justice system. According to the Ministry of Justice, Māori are overrepresented, comprising 45% of New Zealanders convicted of crimes and 53% of those imprisoned, while only being 16.5% of the population.
During the period of the New Zealand colony, Britain was responsible for external trade and foreign relations. The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate its own political treaties, and the first commercial treaty was ratified in 1928 with Japan. On 3 September 1939, New Zealand allied itself with Britain and declared war on Germany with Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage 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 security treaty. The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the Vietnam War, the refusal of the United States to admonish France after the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues, and New Zealand's nuclear-free policy. Despite the United States'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 and travel arrangements that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries without restrictions. In 2013 there were about 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which is equivalent to 15% of the population of New Zealand.
The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces, which had a degree of autonomy. Because of financial pressures and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales, and other policies, government was centralised and the provinces were abolished in 1876. 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 and territorial authorities. 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 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.
New Zealand is long and narrow—over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its north-north-east axis with a maximum width of 400 kilometres (250 mi)—with about 15,000 km (9,300 mi) of coastline and a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). Because of its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Its exclusive economic zone is one of the largest in the world, covering more than 15 times its land area.
New Zealand, together with Australia, is part of a region known as Australasia. It also forms the southwestern extremity of the geographic and ethnographic region called Polynesia.Oceania is a wider region encompassing the Australian continent, New Zealand, and various island countries in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model.
New Zealand's climate is predominantly temperate maritime (Köppen: Cfb), with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.32 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Ranfurly, Otago. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 618 millimetres (24.3 in) of rain per year and Wellington the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average of more than 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and southwestern parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and northeastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours. The general snow season is early June until early October, though cold snaps can occur outside this season. Snowfall is common in the eastern and southern parts of the South Island and mountain areas across the country.
Average daily temperatures and rainfall for selected towns and cities of New Zealand
New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years and island biogeography has influenced evolution of the country's species of animals, fungi and plants. Physical isolation has caused biological isolation, resulting in a dynamic evolutionary ecology with examples of distinctive plants and animals as well as populations of widespread species. The flora and fauna of New Zealand were originally thought to have originated from New Zealand's fragmentation off from Gondwana, however more recent evidence postulates species resulted from dispersal. About 82% of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera. The number of fungi recorded from New Zealand, including lichen-forming species, is not known, nor is the proportion of those fungi which are endemic, but one estimate suggests there are about 2,300 species of lichen-forming fungi in New Zealand and 40% of these are endemic. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock.
Before the arrival of humans, an estimated 80% of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees. Massive deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23% of the land.
Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuatara, skinks and geckos), frogs, such as the protected endangered Hamilton's Frog, spiders, insects (wētā), and snails. Some, such as the tuatara, are so unique that they have been called living fossils. Three species of bats (one since extinct) were the only sign of native land mammals in New 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, with 13 of the world's 18 penguin species.
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, 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 and other protected areas.
Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focusing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber. The first shipment of refrigerated meat on the Dunedin in 1882 led to the establishment of meat and dairy exports 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 Economic Community and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crises, led to a severe economic depression. 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. In the mid-1980s New Zealand deregulated its agricultural sector by phasing out subsidies over a three-year period. Since 1984, successive governments engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring (known first as Rogernomics and then Ruthanasia), rapidly transforming New Zealand from a protectionist and highly regulated economy to a liberalised free-trade economy.
Unemployment peaked just above 10% in 1991 and 1992, following the 1987 share market crash, but eventually fell to a record low (since 1986) of 3.7% in 2007 (ranking third from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations). However, the global financial crisis that followed had a major effect 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. Unemployment rates for different age groups follow similar trends but are consistently higher among youth. In the December 2014 quarter, the general unemployment rate was around 5.8%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 15.6%. New Zealand has experienced a series of "brain drains" since the 1970s that still continue today. Nearly one-quarter of highly skilled workers live overseas, mostly in Australia and Britain, which is the largest proportion from any developed nation. In recent decades, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and less developed countries. Today New Zealand's economy benefits from a high level of innovation.
Poverty in New Zealand is characterised by growing income inequality; wealth in New Zealand is highly concentrated, with the top 1% of the population owning 16% of the country's wealth, and the richest 5% owning 38%, leaving a stark contrast where half the population, including state beneficiaries and pensioners, receive less than $24,000. Moreover, child poverty in New Zealand has been identified by the Government as a major societal issue; the country has 12.0% of children living in low-income households that had less than 50 percent of the median equivalised disposable household income as of June 2022. Poverty has a disproportionately high effect in ethnic-minority households, with a quarter (23.3%) of Māori children and almost a third (28.6%) of Pacific Islander children living in poverty as of 2020.
New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for 24% of its output, making New Zealand vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns. Food products made up 55% of the value of all the country's exports in 2014; wood was the second largest earner (7%). New Zealand's main trading partners, as at June 2018, are China (NZ$27.8b), Australia ($26.2b), the European Union ($22.9b), the United States ($17.6b), and Japan ($8.4b). On 7 April 2008, New Zealand and China signed the New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement, the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country. In July 2023, New Zealand and the European Union entered into the EU–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement which eliminated tariffs on several goods traded between the two regions. This free trade agreement expanded on the pre-existing free trade agreement and saw a reduction in tariffs on meat and dairy in response to feedback from the affected industries.
The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction.Tourism plays a significant role in the economy, contributing $12.9 billion (or 5.6%) to New Zealand's total GDP and supporting 7.5% of the total workforce in 2016. In 2017, international visitor arrivals were expected to increase at a rate of 5.4% annually up to 2022.
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 2018, dairy products accounted for 17.7% ($14.1 billion) of total exports, and the country's largest company, Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade. Other exports in 2017–18 were meat (8.8%), wood and wood products (6.2%), fruit (3.6%), machinery (2.2%) and wine (2.1%).New Zealand's wine 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.
The provision of water supply and sanitation is generally of good quality. Regional authorities provide water abstraction, treatment and distribution infrastructure to most developed areas.
New Zealand's transport network comprises 94,000 kilometres (58,410 mi) of roads, including 199 kilometres (124 mi) of motorways, and 4,128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport. The railways were privatised in 1993 but were re-nationalised by the government in stages between 2004 and 2008. The state-owned enterprise KiwiRail now operates the railways, with the exception of commuter services in Auckland and Wellington, which are operated by Auckland One Rail and Transdev Wellington respectively. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers. The road and rail networks in the two main islands are linked by roll-on/roll-off ferries between Wellington and Picton, operated by Interislander (part of KiwiRail) and Bluebridge. Most international visitors arrive via air. New Zealand has four international airports: Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington; however, only Auckland and Christchurch offer non-stop flights to countries other than Australia or Fiji.
Early indigenous contribution to science in New Zealand was by Māori tohunga accumulating knowledge of agricultural practice and the effects of herbal remedies in the treatment of illness and disease.Cook's voyages in the 1700s and Darwin's in 1835 had important scientific botanical and zoological objectives. The establishment of universities in the 19th century fostered scientific discoveries by notable New Zealanders including Ernest Rutherford for splitting the atom, William Pickering for rocket science, Maurice Wilkins for helping discover DNA, Beatrice Tinsley for galaxy formation, Archibald McIndoe for plastic surgery, and Alan MacDiarmid for conducting polymers.
Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) were formed in 1992 from existing government-owned research organisations. Their role is to research and develop new science, knowledge, products and services across the economic, environmental, social and cultural spectrum for the benefit of New Zealand. The total gross expenditure on research and development (R&D) as a proportion of GDP rose to 1.37% in 2018, up from 1.23% in 2015. New Zealand ranks 21st in the OECD for its gross R&D spending as a percentage of GDP. New Zealand was ranked 27th in the Global Innovation Index in 2023.
The New Zealand Space Agency was created by the government in 2016 for space policy, regulation and sector development. Rocket Lab was the notable first commercial rocket launcher in the country.
The 2018 New Zealand census enumerated a resident population of 4,699,755, an increase of 10.8% over the 2013 census figure. As of December 2023, the total population has risen to an estimated 5,258,550. New Zealand's population increased at a rate of 1.9% per year in the seven years ended June 2020. In September 2020 Statistics New Zealand reported that the population had climbed above 5 million people in September 2019, according to population estimates based on the 2018 census.[n 8]
New Zealand's population today is concentrated to the north of the country, with around 76.5% of the population living in the North Island and 23.5% in the South Island as of June 2023. During the 20th century, New Zealand's population drifted north. In 1921, the country's median centre of population was located in the Tasman Sea west of Levin in Manawatū-Whanganui; by 2017, it had moved 280 km (170 mi) north to near Kawhia in Waikato.
New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 84.2% of the population living in urban areas, and 50.6% of the population living in the seven cities with populations exceeding 100,000.Auckland, with over 1.4 million residents, is by far the largest city. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2016, Auckland was ranked the world's third most liveable city and Wellington the twelfth by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
The median age of the New Zealand population at the 2018 census was 37.4 years, with life expectancy in 2017–2019 being 80.0 years for males and 83.5 years for females. While New Zealand is experiencing sub-replacement fertility, with a total fertility rate of 1.6 in 2020, the fertility rate is above the OECD average. By 2050, the median age is projected to rise to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18% to 29%. In 2016 the leading cause of death was cancer at 30.3%, followed by ischaemic heart disease (14.9%) and cerebrovascular disease (7.4%). As of 2016, total expenditure on health care (including private sector spending) is 9.2% of GDP.
In the 2018 census, 71.8% of New Zealand residents identified ethnically as European, and 16.5% as Māori. Other major ethnic groups include Asian (15.3%) and Pacific peoples (9.0%), two-thirds of whom live in the Auckland Region.[n 3] The population has become more multicultural and diverse in recent decades: in 1961, the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92% European and 7% Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1%.
While the demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "Kiwi" is commonly used both internationally and by locals. The Māori loanword Pākehā has been used to refer to New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this name. The word today is increasingly used 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 because of restrictive policies similar to the White Australia policy. There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatian,German, and Italian immigration, together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa. Net migration increased after the Second World War; in the 1970s and 1980s policies on immigration were relaxed, and immigration from Asia was promoted. 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. In the 2018 census, 27.4% of people counted were not born in New Zealand, up from 25.2% in the 2013 census. Over half (52.4%) of New Zealand's overseas-born population lives in the Auckland Region. The United Kingdom remains the largest source of New Zealand's immigrant population, with around a quarter of all overseas-born New Zealanders born there; other major sources of New Zealand's overseas-born population are China, India, Australia, South Africa, Fiji and Samoa. The number of fee-paying international students increased sharply in the late 1990s, with more than 20,000 studying in public tertiary institutions in 2002.
English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 95.4% of the population.New Zealand English is a variety of the language with a distinctive accent and lexicon. It is similar to Australian English, and many speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accents apart. The most prominent differences between the New Zealand English dialect and other English dialects are the shifts in the short front vowels: the short-i sound (as in kit) has centralised towards the schwa sound (the a in comma and about); the short-e sound (as in dress) has moved towards the short-i sound; and the short-a sound (as in trap) has moved to the short-e sound.
After the Second World War, Māori were discouraged or forced 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. The Native Schools Act 1867 required instruction in English in all schools, and while there was no official policy banning children from speaking Māori, many suffered from physical abuse if they did so. The Māori language has recently undergone a process of revitalisation, being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987, and is spoken by 4.0% of the population.[n 9] There are now Māori language-immersion schools and two television channels that broadcast predominantly in Māori.Many places have both their Māori and English names officially recognised.
As recorded in the 2018 census,Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.2%), followed by "Northern Chinese" (including Mandarin, 2.0%), Hindi (1.5%), and French (1.2%). New Zealand Sign Language was reported to be understood by 22,986 people (0.5%); it became one of New Zealand's official languages in 2006.
Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its society is among the most secular in the world. In the 2018 census, 44.7% of respondents identified with one or more religions, including 37.0% identifying as Christians. Another 48.5% indicated that they had no religion.[n 10] Of those who affiliate with a particular Christian denomination, the main responses are Anglicanism (6.7%),[n 11]Roman Catholicism (6.3%), and Presbyterianism (4.7%). The Māori-based Ringatū and Rātana religions (1.2%) are also Christian in origin. Immigration and demographic change in recent decades have contributed to the growth of minority religions, such as Hinduism (2.6%), Islam (1.3%), Buddhism (1.1%), and Sikhism (0.9%). The Auckland Region exhibited the greatest religious diversity.
Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority of children attending from the age of 5. There are 13 school years and attending state (public) schools is free to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents from a person's 5th birthday to the end of the calendar year following their 19th birthday. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99%, 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, in addition to private training establishments. In 2021, in the population aged 25–64; 13% had no formal qualification, 21% had a school qualification, 28% had a tertiary certificate or diploma, and 35% have a bachelor's degree or higher. The OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment ranks New Zealand as the 28th best in the OECD for maths, 13th best for science, and 11th best for reading.
Late 20th-century house-post depicting the navigator Kupe fighting two sea creatures
Early Māori adapted the tropically based east Polynesian culture 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 (whānau), subtribes (hapū) 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, and Māori kinship roles resemble those of other Polynesian peoples. More recently, American, Australian, Asian and other European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand. Non-Māori Polynesian cultures are also apparent, with Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.
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", 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 tertiary education became more available, and cities expanded urban culture began to dominate. However, rural imagery and themes are common in New Zealand's art, literature and media.
New Zealand's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Māori sources. The silver fern is an emblem appearing on army insignia and sporting team uniforms. Certain items of popular culture thought to be unique to New Zealand are called "Kiwiana".
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) 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) 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 an ideal race untainted by civilisation. The country's isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to develop their own distinctive style of regionalism. During the 1960s and 1970s, 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 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, 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.
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) 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 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. Dunedin is a UNESCO City of Literature.
New Zealand music 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 Southeast 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 bands and choral music being popular, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s.Pipe bands 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 United States. Some artists release Māori language songs, and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka (song and dance) has made a resurgence. The New Zealand Music Awards are held annually by Recorded Music NZ; the awards were first held in 1965 by Reckitt & Colman as the Loxene Golden Disc awards. Recorded Music NZ also publishes the country's official weekly record charts.
Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have British origins.Rugby union is considered the national sport and attracts the most spectators.Golf, netball, tennis and cricket have the highest rates of adult participation, while netball, rugby union and football (soccer) are particularly popular among young people.Horse racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in New Zealand and was part of the "rugby, racing, and beer" subculture during the 1960s. Around 54% of New Zealand adolescents participate in sports for their school. Victorious rugby tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the late 1880s and the early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity. Māori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby, and the country's team performs a haka, a traditional Māori challenge, before international matches. New Zealand is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism and strong mountaineering tradition, as seen in the success of notable New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary. Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, fishing, swimming, running, tramping, canoeing, hunting, snowsports, surfing and sailing are also popular. New Zealand has seen regular sailing success in the America's Cup regatta since 1995. The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing has experienced a resurgence of interest in New Zealand since the 1980s.
The national cuisine has been described as Pacific Rim, incorporating the native Māori cuisine and diverse culinary traditions introduced by settlers and immigrants from Europe, Polynesia, and Asia. New Zealand yields produce from land and sea—most crops and livestock, such as maize, potatoes and pigs, were gradually introduced by the early European settlers. Distinctive ingredients or dishes include lamb, salmon, kōura (crayfish),Bluff oysters, whitebait, pāua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipi and tuatua (types of New Zealand shellfish),kūmara (sweet potato), kiwifruit, tamarillo, and pavlova (considered a national dessert). A hāngī is a traditional Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven; still used for large groups on special occasions, such as tangihanga.
^"God Save the King" is officially a national anthem but is generally used only on regal and viceregal occasions.
^English is a de facto official language due to its widespread use.
^ abEthnicity figures add to more than 100% as people could choose more than one ethnic group.
^The proportion of New Zealand's area (excluding estuaries) covered by rivers, lakes and ponds, based on figures from the New Zealand Land Cover Database, is (357526 + 81936) / (26821559 – 92499–26033 – 19216)=1.6%. If estuarine open water, mangroves, and herbaceous saline vegetation are included, the figure is 2.2%.
^Clocks are advanced by an hour from the last Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April. Daylight saving time is also observed in the Chatham Islands, 45 minutes ahead of NZDT.
^A person born on or after 1 January 2006 acquires New Zealand citizenship at birth only if at least one parent is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. All persons born on or before 31 December 2005 acquired citizenship at birth (jus soli).
^A provisional estimate initially indicated the milestone was reached six months later in March 2020, before population estimates were rebased from the 2013 census to the 2018 census.
^In 2015, 55% of Māori adults (aged 15 years and over) reported knowledge of te reo Māori. Of these speakers, 64% use Māori at home and 50,000 can speak the language "very well" or "well".
^Religion percentages may not add to 100% as people could claim multiple religions or object to answering the question.
^This is a percentage of total respondents to the census, not a percentage of Christians.
^International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Fifth Periodic Report of the Government of New Zealand(PDF) (Report). New Zealand Government. 21 December 2007. p. 89. Archived from the original(PDF) on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015. In addition to the Māori language, New Zealand Sign Language is also an official language of New Zealand. The New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 permits the use of NZSL in legal proceedings, facilitates competency standards for its interpretation and guides government departments in its promotion and use. English, the medium for teaching and learning in most schools, is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use. For these reasons, these three languages have special mention in the New Zealand Curriculum.
^ ab"Population clock". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 15 May 2021. The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at 00:00 UTC and is based on data obtained from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.
^Hillstrom, Kevin; Collier Hillstrom, Laurie (2003). Australia, Oceania, and Antarctica: A Continental Overview of Environmental Issues. Vol. 3. ABC-Clio. p. 25. ISBN9781576076941. ... defined here as the continent nation of Australia, New Zealand, and twenty-two other island countries and territories sprinkled over more than 40 million square kilometres of the South Pacific.
^Evans, N. R. (January 1994). "Up from Down Under: After a Century of Socialism, Australia and New Zealand are Cutting Back Government and Freeing Their Economies". National Review. Vol. 46, no. 16. pp. 47–51.
^Trade, Food Security, and Human Rights: The Rules for International Trade in Agricultural Products and the Evolving World Food Crisis. Routledge. 2016. p. 125. ISBN9781317008521.
^Arnold, Wayne (2 August 2007). "Surviving Without Subsidies". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2015. ... ever since a liberal but free-market government swept to power in 1984 and essentially canceled handouts to farmers .... They went cold turkey and in the process it was very rough on their farming economy
^Winkelmann, Rainer (2000). "The labour market performance of European immigrants in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s". The International Migration Review. The Center for Migration Studies of New York. 33 (1): 33–58. doi:10.2307/2676011. JSTOR2676011. Journal subscription required
^Ranford, Jodie. "'Pakeha', Its Origin and Meaning". Māori News. Retrieved 20 February 2008. Originally the Pakeha were the early European settlers, however, today 'Pakeha' is used to describe any peoples of non-Maori or non-Polynesian heritage. Pakeha is not an ethnicity but rather a way to differentiate between the historical origins of our settlers, the Polynesians and the Europeans, the Maori and the other.
Kennedy, Jeffrey (2007). "Leadership and Culture in New Zealand". In Chhokar, Jagdeep; Brodbeck, Felix; House, Robert (eds.). Culture and Leadership Across the World: The Globe Book of In-depth Studies of 25 Societies. Psychology Press. ISBN978-0-8058-5997-3.