The New Zealand Collections Exhibition

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The New Zealand Collections Exhibtion

Frame One :


In 1974, I have a friend from New Zealand from stamp circuit , she send me some beautiful cover from  Waikaia  river Southland  ,look the cover and map also the picture of the city, also old banknote below and the fishing at Newzealand Southland waikaia river (Dr Iwan S)


Sometimes you need to simply let loose and “fish rage”. In other words take some time out to just eat, sleep and fish without any other distractions in place. For me there is no where better to do it than South Otago.

Scott Fly rods, S4 vs S4s, New Zealand test rods, 905/4, 906/4, New Zealand Special, fast Action, Scott Distributor

The weapons of choice for a back country exploit, Scott S4s NZ Special 9′ #6, Scott S4 9′ #5 and #6

Simon Chu, Chris Dore, Hatch reels, Scott Rods, Oreti River,  otago, southland mataura, nymphing New Zealand South Island Brown trout

When your planning a big fishing trip, it helps to hit the right rivers. It’s even more important to bring along the right crew. This time I was joined by leading NZ guide Chris Dore (right with the smile) and Dunedin’s Simon Chu (left with fish).

Rene Vaz, Oreti River, Manic Tackle Project, testing Scott S4 rods, southland, Otago, South island trophy brown trout

I missed my first few opportunities (out of touch!!) but once I finally hooked into one of the big spooky browns in shallow water the hard work was quickly put into perspective.

Brwon trout, new zealand south island where to go , access, best rivers, oreti, southland, lumsden,

I wanted to prove a point here, this fish was taken in gale force winds on a Scott S4 #5 (with a #5 Ridge tactical) and was landed in under a minute….thanks also to Chris Dore for the skilled work with the net. You don’t need stiff rods to deal with wind, you need a rod that is easy to load, and when it comes to landing these fish, simply learn to bend the rod.

simon chu, sage fly fishing team, scott rods, oreti river, new zealand trophy brown trout, southland otago, dunedin,

Simon Chu shows us how it’s done by putting a deep working curve in the S4 9′ #5. Notice the rod is being bent smoothly from the butt and not just through the tip (which could cause a break).

Brown Trout in New Zealand trophy, fishing guides , where to stay and how to fish, what to bring

Taking fish like this out of clear water is the perfect reward of good preperation. Make sure your carrying a good fly selection covering every possibility you may come accross and that you’ve taken the time to hone your skills so you can make every chance count. (Simon Chu Photo)

Waikaia, Mataura, Brightwater, Silver Creek, Southland Athol, Stu's Fly Shop, fly fishing new zealand south island

If chasing Southland’s back country trophies isn’t enough to keep you going then try the countless number of lowland streams for stunning browns. Perfect water for the Scott G2 8’8 #5 and tidy cdc patterns.

Mike davis , trout flies, manic fly, brown trout, new zealand south island, rubber legs, stone fly. best fly nz

Mike Davis’s Back Country Stonefly pattern is a reliable fish catcher on any river……who said South Island browns don’t like rubber legs and flash-backs?

Chris Dore guiding, queenstown, new zealand, FFF casting instructor, trophy nz TROUT, browns, rainbows, waiau river, te anau

If you’re like me and fishing time is precious then make sure you invest in getting the right help, a guide like Chris Dore has the ability to set you up with mind blowing opportunities on days that you may struggle to even see fish. And once your trip is long gone Chris will have left you with enough tips and idea’s to keep you going until your next day on the water. Here Chris helps Simon Chu to land a chunky Southland rainbow.

Postal History

Chalon head, 1871

Postage stamps have been issued in New Zealand since around the 18th to 20th of July 1855 with the “Chalon head” stamps figuring Queen Victoria. The design was based on a full face portrait of the Queen in her state robes at the time of her coronation in 1837, by Alfred Edward Chalon. The stamps were initially hand cut from sheets

, but from 1862 on, these sheets started being fed through automatic perforation machines.



 The British Royal Profile on New Zealand Stamps

Universal one penny postage

Stamp marking Universal postage, 1901

On the 1st of January 1901, New Zealand introduced one penny universal postage from New Zealand to any country in the world willing to deliver them. Australia, the United States, France and Germany would not accept such letters, fearful of having to reduce their own postal charges to match. This also halved the cost of mailing letters within New Zealand.

While concern was expressed that Post Office revenues would fall, mail volumes increased sharply and by 1902 any losses had been recovered.


Health stamps are a long-running series of charity stamp issued by New Zealand which include a premium for charitable causes in addition to the charge for postal service.




The idea of issuing health stamps in New Zealand came from a 1926 request by Mr E Nielsen on behalf of his mother that special fundraising for deserving health projects, as were used in other countries such as Denmark. The first health stamp was approved by the Government in October 1929, and issued on 11 December of that year. The stamp was sold for twopence, with a standard one penny postage rate being supplemented by one penny for health, which — at the Health Department’s suggestion — was to be donated to Children’s Health Camps.

Health camps had been run in New Zealand since 1919, when Dr Elizabeth Gunn ran a three-week camp for children at Turakina near Wanganui. The camps provided holiday relief for children with nutritional and minor physical problems. [1] Children’s health camps have continued to be the recipient of money from New Zealand health stamps from this time on; the country’s seven children’s health camps (Te Puna Whaiora) are now managed by the New Zealand Foundation for Child and Family Health and Development.

The first health stamps with charitable surcharges were issued in 1929 and 1930, with similar designs featuring a nurse, inscribed “HELP STAMP OUT TUBERCULOSIS” and “HELP PROMOTE HEALTH” respectively.[2] Though not simply inscribed “Health”, these two issues are usually considered by collectors as being the first two health stamp issues, and are also considered as such by New Zealand Post.[1] The first New Zealand stamps inscribed simply ‘Health’ were issued on 31 October 1931 in values of a penny and twopence, each with a one penny charitable surcharge.[2]

Further health stamps were issued annually from 1931. The two 1931 stamps, known as the “Red boy” (1d) and “Blue boy” (2d) (or collectively as the “Laughing boy” stamps), sold poorly due to the hardships of the Great Depression, and as such are scarce and highly prized by New Zealand collectors.[3]

From 1932 one stamp (postage one penny, with a one penny surcharge) was issued annually until 1938; the 1939 issue featured two values, a 1d and a 2d. For several of these years, the health stamp was the only non-definitive stamp issued by the New Zealand Post Office. Two values were issued every year from 1939 until 1973, with the exception of 1955, 1956, 1969, and 1971 when there were three values. Owing to wartime strictures, in 1940 and 1941, similar issues to 1939 were used, issued in different colours (both years) and overprinted with the year (1941 only). To add to the confusion of the issues of these years, the 1939 stamps were only issued with an overprinted surcharge, as postage rates had increased shortly before the set was issued


From 1973, three values became the norm, often with two lower value stamps of the same value issued as a se-tenant pair, with a third higher value stamp. In 1990, the issue reverted to two values, and most years since that time have had two or three values (the exceptions being in 2000 and 2006, with sets of six stamps issued). The 2009 issue of three stamps carried images from earlier issues to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of New Zealand health stamps.

From 1957, miniature sheets have been issued annually of New Zealand’s health stamp issues. Initially these consisted of two separate sheets each containing six stamps of the same value, but since the 1970s one sheet has been issued annually containing the entire set of stamps. Self-adhesive stamps of the lowest value in each year’s set have been issued most years since 1996, often in different designs to the gummed-sheet issue. The current (2010)[update] charity surcharge on New Zealand health stamps is ten cents.

Collectable varieties

Several of New Zealand health stamps have notable varieties rcognize by the collectors

The New Zealand Landscape Stamps


 The 1957 set was issued with watermark either sideways or upright, and the 1960 set is found with two different gauges of perforation, one of which came from the miniature sheets. Stamps from the 1977 miniature sheet feature slight design differences, notably the lack of a white border around the design.[5]

The twopenny value of the 1949 health stamp features a notable, though not particularly rare, flaw, with some stamps issued with no dot below the “d” of the value. Far rarer is an incorrect design used for the 40 cent stamp in 1996, which featured a young child sitting in a car. This was withdrawn and replaced with a new design after it was noticed that the child was incorrectly restrained.[6] Some copies of the first design found their way to post offices, both in standard and self-adhesive form; these stamps — known to collectors as the “teddy bear” stamps because of the prominent soft toy in the design — are now among New Zealand’s rarest and most collectable stamps.[7]

First stamp vending machine

New Zealand was the first country in the world to prototype and install stamp vending machines; one was installed in the General Post Office, Wellington in 1905. [1]

 Postal stationery

The first items of postal stationery to be issued by New Zealand were postcards on 1 November 1876[2]. The next item of postal stationery to be issued were newspaper wrappers on 1 April 1878[2]. Lettercards were first issued on 1 January 1895, registered envelopes on 21 Jun 1898, envelopes on 4 June 1899 and air letter sheets or aerogrammes on 17 November 1941[2].


The postal system in New Zealand was deregulated on 1 April 1998, meaning several different independent mail companies now exist. But in practice the state owned New Zealand Post still delivers nearly all letters.

Other carriers

Independent New Zealand post companies which issue their own stamps include DX Mail, Fastway Post, New Zealand Mail and Petes Post.

Frame  Two: 

Travel Around New Zealand With Pictures Collections

1.Northern Area

1)Wellington capital city



4)Lake Onau painting

5)Northland city

6) Roratonga

2.Southern area


2)Christchurch city


4)Te Anau city

5)Wangarai City

6)Queensland city

7)Milfordsound city


 9)Steward Island

Frame Three:

 The New Zealand Historic Collections


1657 map showing western coastline of “Nova Zeelandia”

It is unknown whether the Māori had a name for New Zealand as a whole before the arrival of Europeans, although they referred to the North Island as Te Ika a Māui (the fish of Māui) and the South Island as Te Wai Pounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki).[9] Until the early 20th century, the North Island was also referred to as Aotearoa (colloquially translated “land of the long white cloud”);[10] in modern Māori usage, this name refers to the whole country. Aotearoa is also commonly used in this sense in New Zealand English, where it is sometimes used alone, and in some formal uses combined with the English name to express respect to the original inhabitants of the country, for example in the form of “[Organisation name] of Aotearoa New Zealand”.

The first European name for New Zealand was Staten Landt, the name given to it by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European to see the islands. Tasman assumed it was part of a southern continent connected with land discovered in 1615 off the southern tip of South America by Jacob Le Maire, which had been named Staten Landt, meaning “Land of the (Dutch) States-General”.[11][12]

The name New Zealand originated with Dutch cartographers, who called the islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland, which is also spelt “Zealand” in English and Zeelandic.[12] No one is certain exactly who first coined the term, but it first appeared in 1645 and may have been the choice of cartographer Johan Blaeu.[13] British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. The linguistic connection with the Danish island Zealand is purely coincidental.

Although the North and South Islands have been known by these names for many years, the New Zealand Geographic Board has stated that as of 2009, they have no official names. The board intends to make these their official names, along with alternative Māori names. Some early maps refer to what is currently known as the South Island as the Middle Island.[14] Although several Māori names have been used, Maori Language Commissioner Erima Henare sees Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Wai Pounamu respectively as the most likely choices.[15]


 Polynesian settlers

The Māori settled New Zealand from Eastern Polynesia, concluding a long chain of voyages

New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major landmasses. The first known settlers were Eastern Polynesians who, according to most researchers, arrived by canoe in about AD 1250–1300.[16] Some researchers have suggested an earlier wave of arrivals dating to as early as AD 50–150; these people then either died out or left the islands.[9][17][18] Over the following centuries these settlers developed into a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) which would cooperate, compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands where they developed their distinct Moriori culture.[19][20]

European explorers

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman and his crew in 1642.[21] Māori killed four of the crew and no Europeans returned to New Zealand until British explorer James Cook‘s voyage of 1768–71.[21] Cook reached New Zealand in 1769 and mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded European food and goods, especially metal tools and weapons, for Māori timber, food, artefacts and water. On occasion, Europeans traded goods for sex.[22]

The potato and the musket transformed Māori agriculture and warfare, beginning in the frequently visited north then spreading southwards. The resulting Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000-40,000 Māori,[23] although introduced diseases would play an even greater role in the Māori population’s decline to around 40% of its pre-contact level during the 19th century.[24] From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population, although their initial inroads were mainly among the more disaffected elements of society.[25]

Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Becoming aware of the lawless nature of European settlement and of increasing French interest in the territory, the British government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832. Busby failed to bring law and order to European settlement, but did oversee the introduction of the first national flag on 20 March 1834, after an unregistered New Zealand ship was seized in Australia. In October 1835, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand to King William IV of the United Kingdom, asking him for protection. Ongoing unrest and the legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson RN to New Zealand to claim sovereignty for the British Crown and negotiate a treaty with the Māori.[i] The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840.[26] The drafting was done hastily and confusion and disagreement continue to surround the translation. The Treaty however remains regarded as New Zealand’s foundation as a nation and is valued by Māori as a guarantee of their rights.

In response to New Zealand Company attempts to establish a separate colony in Wellington, and French claims in Akaroa, Hobson, now Lieutenant-Governor, declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840. The two proclamations published in the New Zealand Advertiser and Bay Of Islands Gazette issue of 19 June 1840 “assert[s] on the grounds of Discovery, the Sovereign Rights of Her Majesty over the Southern Islands of New Zealand, commonly called ‘The Middle Island’ (South Island) and ‘Stewart’s Island’ (Stewart Island/Rakiura); and the Island, commonly called ‘The Northern Island’, having been ceded Sovereignty to Her Majesty.” The second proclamation expanded on how sovereignty over the “Northern Island” had been ceded under the treaty signed that February.[27]

Under British rule, New Zealand had initially been part of the colony of New South Wales, but became a separate Crown colony in 1841.[26] Hobson initially selected Okiato as the capital in 1840, before moving the seat of government to Auckland in 1841. Increasing numbers of European settlers came to New Zealand particularly from the British Isles. The Māori were initially eager to trade with the ‘Pakeha’, as they called them, and many iwi became wealthy. As settler numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land.[28] The details of European settlement and the acquisition of land from Māori remain controversial.

Gustavus von Tempsky is shot during the land wars

Representative government for the colony was provided for in 1852 when the United Kingdom passed the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852. The 1st New Zealand Parliament met in 1854. In 1856 the colony became effectively self-governing with the grant of responsible government over all domestic matters other than native policy. Power in this respect would be transferred to the colonial administration in the 1860s.[26]

In 1863 Premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution that the capital transfer to a locality in Cook Strait, apparently due to concern that the South Island might form a separate colony. Commissioners from Australia (chosen for their neutral status) advised that Wellington was suitable because of its harbour and central location, and parliament officially sat there for the first time in 1865.[29] In 1893 the country became the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote.[26]

 20th and 21st centuries

In 1907 New Zealand declared itself a Dominion within the British Empire. In 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, making New Zealand a Commonwealth realm,[26] although in practice Britain had long since ceased to play a significant role in governing New Zealand. As the country became more politically independent, however, it became more dependent economically; in the 1890s, refrigerated shipping allowed the export of meat and dairy products to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand.[30]

Infantry from the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment in the Battle of the Somme, September 1916.

New Zealand was an enthusiastic member of the British Empire, fighting in the Boer War, World War I and World War II, especially in the Battle of Britain, and supporting Britain in the Suez Crisis. The country was very much a part of the world economy and suffered as others did in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The depression led to the election of the first Labour government, which established a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy.

New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II. However, some social problems were developing; Māori had begun to leave traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. A Māori protest movement eventually developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for more recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi, which they felt had not been fully honoured.

In 1975, a Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1985. In common with other developed countries, social developments accelerated in the 1970s and social and political mores changed.

Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community in 1973 drastically reduced access for New Zealand exporters to their previous largest market. In 1953 two-thirds of New Zealand’s exports went to Britain, by 2003 this figure had reduced to 4.65%.[31] This and the oil shocks of the 1970s led to significant economic and social changes during the 1980s under the 4th Labour government largely led by Finance Minister Roger Douglas, whose policies are commonly referred to as Rogernomics.



New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.[32] Although it has no codified constitution, the Constitution Act 1986 is the principal formal statement of New Zealand’s constitutional structure.[33] The constitution has been described as “largely unwritten” and a “mixture of statutes and constitutional convention.”[33] Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and is titled Queen of New Zealand under the Royal Titles Act 1974. She is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the exclusive advice of the Prime Minister.[34] The current Governor-General is Anand Satyanand.

The Governor-General exercises the Crown’s prerogative powers, such as the power to appoint and dismiss ministers and to dissolve Parliament, and in rare situations, the reserve powers. The Governor-General also chairs the Executive Council, which is a formal committee consisting of all ministers of the Crown. The main constitutional function of the governor-general is to “arrange for the leader of the majority political party to form a government”; by constitutional convention, the governor-general “acts on the advice of ministers who have majority support in parliament.”[33] Legislative power is held by the democratically elected Parliament of New Zealand, and the rest of the cabinet. The Queen and Governor-General cannot normally exercise any power without the advice of the Cabinet, except in circumstances where there is no cabinet or cabinet has lost the confidence of Parliament.[35]

Members of the Executive Council are required to be Members of Parliament, and most are also in cabinet. Cabinet is the most senior policy-making body and is led by the Prime Minister, who is also, by convention, the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition. This is the highest policymaking body in the government.[33]

The New Zealand Parliament consists of one chamber, the House of Representatives, which usually seats 120 members.[33]

Parliamentary general elections are held every three years under a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional. The Economist magazine explains:

Under MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) there is usually a 120-seat parliament; an extra seat can sometimes be added to ensure truly proportional representation. Of the total number of seats, 65 electorate (directly elected constituency) seats are contested on the old first-past-the-post basis, including seven seats reserved for the indigenous Māori people. The remaining 55 or so seats are allocated so that representation in parliament reflects overall support for each party (the party vote).Under the MMP system, a party has either to win a constituency seat or more than 5% of the total party vote in order to gain representation in parliament. The government can continue to rule only if it retains majority support in the House of Representatives, or can secure the support of other political parties to give it a majority to pass legislation and survive parliamentary confidence votes.

The 2008 general election created an ‘overhang‘ of two extra seats, occupied by the Māori Party, due to that party winning more seats in electorates than the number of seats its proportion of the party vote would have given it.[33]

From October 2005 until November 2008, the Labour-led government was in formal coalition with the Progressive Party, Jim Anderton being its only MP. In addition, New Zealand First and United Future provided confidence and supply in return for their leaders being ministers outside cabinet. An arrangement was also made with the Green Party, which gave a commitment not to vote against the government on confidence and supply.[36] In 2007 Labour also had the proxy vote of Taito Phillip Field, a former Labour MP. These arrangements assured the government of a majority of seven MPs on confidence votes.

Labour was defeated by the National Party in the general elections of 8 November 2008. Following the victory, National leader John Key moved quickly to form a government, negotiating coalition agreements with the conservative ACT party, led by Rodney Hide, the centrist United Future party, albeit with its single seat held by leader Peter Dunne, and the Māori Party, led by Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. Each of these leaders hold ministerial posts but remain outside of Cabinet.[37] There are three parties in Opposition: the Labour Party, led by Phil Goff; the Greens, co-led by Metiria Turei and Russel Norman and the Progressive Party, under Jim Anderton.

New Zealand government “Beehive” and the Parliament Buildings, in Wellington

The highest court in New Zealand is the Supreme Court of New Zealand, established in 2004 following the passage of the Supreme Court Act 2003. The act abolished the option to appeal to the Privy Council in London.[33] The current Chief Justice is Dame Sian Elias. New Zealand’s judiciary also includes the Court of Appeal; the High Court, which deals with serious criminal offences and civil matters at the trial level and with appeals from lower courts and tribunals; and subordinate courts.

While the Judiciary can sometimes place limits on acts of Parliament, and the 1990 New Zealand Bill of Rights enables some review by the Judiciary of executive action, there is no document ascertaining formal power of judicial review.[33] Its constitutional independence from Parliament is maintained by non-political appointments and strict rules regarding tenure in office.[33]

New Zealand is the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land have been occupied simultaneously by women: (Queen) Elizabeth II, (Governor-General) Dame Silvia Cartwright, (Prime Minister) Helen Clark, (Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives) Margaret Wilson and (Chief Justice) Dame Sian Elias were all in office between March 2005 and August 2006.[38] New Zealand’s then largest listed company, Telecom New Zealand, had a woman – Theresa Gattung – as its CEO at the time.

Foreign relations and the military

New Zealand maintains a strong profile on environmental protection, human rights and free trade, particularly in agriculture. New Zealand is a member of Commonwealth of Nations, OECD, Five Powers Defence Arrangements, APEC, East Asia Summit, and the United Nations. New Zealand is party to a number of free trade agreements, of which the most important are the New Zealand – China Free Trade Agreement and Closer Economic Relations with Australia.

2007 ANZAC Dawn Service in Wellington. From left to right, the flags of NZ, the UK and Australia.

For its first hundred years, New Zealand followed the United Kingdom’s lead on foreign policy. In declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Prime Minister Michael Savage proclaimed, “Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand.”[39]

The two world wars had a marked impact, with New Zealand losing many young men in places like Gallipoli (where the ANZAC tradition was formed with Australia), Crete, El Alamein and Cassino. New Zealand also played a key part with Britain in the two famous battles, the naval Battle of the River Plate and the Battle of Britain fought in the air. During the Pacific part of World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand to prepare for crucial battles such as Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo Jima.

After the war, the United States exerted an increased influence on culture and the New Zealand people gained a clearer sense of national identity. New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty in 1951, and later fought alongside the United States in both the Korean and the Vietnam Wars. In contrast, the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests following the Suez Crisis, and New Zealand was forced to develop new markets after the UK joined the EEC in 1973.[40]

New Zealand House, High Commission of New Zealand in London

New Zealand has traditionally worked closely with Australia, whose foreign policy followed a similar historical trend. This close bond was formed in Gallipoli and is part of the ANZAC spirit, which forms a cornerstone in both countries. In turn, many Pacific Islands such as Western Samoa have looked to New Zealand’s lead. The American influence on New Zealand was weakened by the disillusionment with the Vietnam War, the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by France (which Britain and the US failed to criticise), and by disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues and New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy.

While the ANZUS treaty was once fully mutual between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, this is no longer the case. In February 1985, New Zealand refused nuclear-powered or -armed ships access to its ports. New Zealand became a Nuclear-free zone in June 1987, the first Western-allied state to do so.[41][42][43] In 1986, the United States announced that it was suspending its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration of port access.

The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 prohibits the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of New Zealand and the entry into New Zealand waters of nuclear armed or propelled ships. This legislation remains a source of contention and the basis for the United States’ continued suspension of treaty obligations to New Zealand.

HMNZS Canterbury is a multi-role vessel (MRV) of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Within New Zealand, there have been various wars between iwi, and between the British settlers and iwi. New Zealand has fought in the Second Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency (and committed troops, fighters and bombers to the subsequent confrontation with Indonesia), the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War. It has also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War. As of October 2009, New Zealand forces were still active in Afghanistan.[44]

The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. New Zealand considers its own national defence needs to be modest; it dismantled its air combat capability in 2001. New Zealand has contributed forces to recent regional and global peacekeeping missions, including those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran/Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.[45]

Local government and external territories

Major cities and towns in New Zealand

The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces. These were abolished in 1876 so that government could be centralised, for financial reasons. As a result, New Zealand has no separately represented subnational entities such as provinces, states or territories, apart from local government. However the spirit of the provinces lives on, and there is fierce rivalry exhibited in sporting and cultural events. Since 1876, local government has administered the various regions of New Zealand.

In 1989, the government completely reorganised local government, implementing the current two-tier structure of regional councils and territorial authorities constituted under the Local Government Act 2002. The Resource Management Act 1991 replaced the Town and Country Planning Act as the main planning legislation for local government.

New Zealand has 12 regional councils for the administration of regional environmental and transport matters and 73 territorial authorities that administer roading, sewerage, building consents, and other local matters. The territorial authorities are 16 city councils, 57 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Council.

Five of the territorial councils (two cities and three districts) and the Chatham Islands Council also perform the functions of a regional council and are known as unitary authorities. Territorial authority districts are not subdivisions of regional council districts, and a few of them straddle regional council boundaries.

The regions are (asterisks denote unitary authorities): Northland, Auckland*, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne*, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Marlborough*, Tasman*, Nelson*, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Chatham Islands*.

As a major South Pacific nation, New Zealand has a close working relationship with many Pacific Island nations, and continues a political association with the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. New Zealand operates Scott Base in its Antarctic territory, the Ross Dependency. Other countries also use Christchurch to support their Antarctic bases and the city is sometimes known as the “Gateway to Antarctica”.

Administrative divisions of New Zealand
Supranational level Realm of New Zealand
National level New Zealand Tokelau Cook Islands Niue   Ross Dependency
Regions 11 non-unitary regions 5 unitary regions Chatham Islands   Kermadec Islands sub-Antarctic islands
Territorial authorities 13 cities and 53 districts
Notes Some districts lie in more than one region These combine the regional and the territorial authority levels in one Special territorial authority Areas outside regional authority; these, plus the Chatham Islands and the Solander Islands, form the New Zealand outlying islands State administered by New Zealand States in free association with New Zealand Claimed by New Zealand
List of cities in New Zealand
(June 2010 Statistics New Zealand Subnational Population Estimates)[46]
Rank City Name Region Pop Rank City Name Region Pop. Auckland
1 Auckland Auckland Region 1,354,900 7 Dunedin Otago Region 115,700
2 Christchurch Canterbury Region 390,300 8 Palmerston North Manawatu-Wanganui Region 80,700
3 Wellington Wellington Region 389,700 9 Nelson Nelson 59,200
4 Hamilton Waikato Region 168,800 10 Rotorua Bay of Plenty Region 55,600
5 Napier-Hastings Urban Area Hawke’s Bay Region 128,600 11 New Plymouth Taranaki Region 51,600
6 Tauranga Bay of Plenty Region 118,200 12 Whangarei Northland Region 51,400

 Geography and environment

Topography of New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand

New Zealand is made up of two main islands, the North and South Islands, Te Ika a Maui and Te Wai Pounamu respectively in Māori, and a number of smaller islands, located near the centre of the water hemisphere. The North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait, 20 kilometres wide at its narrowest point. The total land area, 268,021 square kilometres (103,483 sq mi),[47] is a little less than that of Italy or Japan, and a little more than the United Kingdom.

The country extends more than 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its main, north-north-east axis, with approximately 15,134 km (9,404 mi) of coastline.[48] The most significant of the smaller inhabited islands include Stewart Island/Rakiura; Waiheke Island, in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf; Great Barrier Island, east of the Hauraki Gulf; and the Chatham Islands, named Rēkohu by Moriori. The country has extensive marine resources, with the seventh-largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering over four million square kilometres (1.5 million square miles), more than 15 times its land area.[49]

The dramatic and varied landscape of New Zealand has made it a popular location for the production of television programmes and films, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Last Samurai. The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) the highest of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). The top of South Island contains areas of forest in the Kahurangi and other national parks. The south-western corner of South Island is Fiordland, an area of high mountains cut through with steep fjords.

The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism. The highly active Taupo volcanic zone has formed a large volcanic plateau, the North Island’s highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu 2,797 metres (9,177 ft), and a deep caldera filled by Lake Taupo, the country’s largest lake. The island’s north is a flatter area, once covered by huge kauri trees.

New Zealand from space. The snow-capped Southern Alps dominate the South Island, while the North Island’s Northland Peninsula stretches towards the subtropics.

The country owes its varied topography, and perhaps even its emergence above the waves, to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwanan supercontinent. About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to contort and crumple the region. This is now most evident in the Southern Alps, formed by compression of the crust beside the Alpine Fault. Elsewhere the plate boundary involves the subduction of one plate under the other, producing the Puysegur Trench to the south, the Hikurangi Trench east of the North Island, and the Kermadec and Tonga Trenches further north.

The latitude of New Zealand, from approximately 34 to 47° S, corresponds closely to that of Italy in the Northern Hemisphere. However, its isolation from continental influences and exposure to cold southerly winds and ocean currents give the climate a much milder character. The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with temperatures rarely falling below 0 °C (32 °F) or rising above 30 °C (86 °F) in populated areas. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −21.6 °C (−6.9 °F) in Ophir, Otago.[50]

Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year; Auckland, the wettest, receives almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 2000 hours of sunshine. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1400–1600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive approximately 2400–2500 hours.[51]


Pōhutukawa trees flower in early summer

Because of its long isolation from the rest of the world and its island biogeography, New Zealand has extraordinary flora and fauna, descended from Gondwanan wildlife or since arriving by flying, swimming or being carried across the sea.[52] About 80% of New Zealand’s flora is endemic, including 65 endemic genera.[53] The two main types of forest are those dominated by podocarps and/or the giant kauri, and in cooler climates the southern beech. The remaining vegetation types in New Zealand are grasslands of tussock and other grasses, usually in sub-alpine areas, and the low shrublands between grasslands and forests.

The endemic flightless kiwi is a national icon

Until the arrival of humans, 80% of the land was forested. A diverse range of megafauna inhabited the forests, including the flightless moas (now extinct), four species of kiwi, the kakapo and the takahē, all endangered by human actions. Unique birds capable of flight included the Haast’s eagle, which was the world’s largest bird of prey (now extinct), and the large kaka and kea parrots.

Reptiles present in New Zealand include skinks, geckos and the living fossil tuatara. There are four endemic species of primitive frogs. There are no snakes and there is only one venomous spider, the katipo, which is rare and restricted to coastal regions. There are many endemic species of insect, including the weta, one species of which may grow as large as a house mouse and is the heaviest insect in the world. It was long thought that New Zealand never had any non-marine native mammals, barring three species of bat (one now extinct). However in 2006 scientists discovered bones over 15 million years old from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal in the Otago region of the South Island.[54]

The giant Haast’s Eagle died out when humans hunted its main prey, the moa, to extinction

New Zealand’s native wildlife has suffered a high rate of extinctions, including around fifty bird species such as the moa, huia, laughing owl, adzebills, and flightless wrens (which occupied the roles elsewhere occupied by mice). This is due to human activities such as hunting, deforestation and pressure from introduced feral animals, such as Polynesian rats, weasels, stoats, cats, goats, deer and brushtailed possums. Five indigenous vascular plant species are now believed to be extinct, including Adam’s mistletoe and a species of forget-me-not.[53] Several species, such as the kakapo, the black robin and the takahe are the subject of intensive efforts to prevent their extinction.

New Zealand has led the world in island restoration projects, where offshore islands are cleared of introduced mammalian pests and native species are reintroduced. Several islands, including two of the Chatham Islands, are wildlife reserves where common pests such as possums and rodents have been eradicated to allow the reintroduction of endangered species to the islands. A more recent development is the analogous mainland ecological island. Active management has helped increase the population of certain species dramatically. For instance, only five Black Robins remained in 1980, including just one fertile female. There are now around 250, all descended from that one bird.


New Zealand has a modern, prosperous, developed economy with an estimated GDP (PPP) of US$119.549 billion (2010). The country has a relatively high standard of living with an estimated GDP per capita of US$31,067 in 2010, comparable to that of Southern Europe.[55] New Zealand is a market economy which is greatly dependent on global trade. Since 2000 New Zealand has made substantial gains in median household income. During the financial crisis of 2007–2010 GDP shrank for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years.[56][57]

New Zealanders have a high level of life satisfaction as measured by international surveys; this is despite GDP per capita levels lower than many other OECD countries.[58] The country was ranked 3rd on the 2010 Human Development Index and 15th in The Economist‘s 2005 worldwide quality-of-life index.[59] The country was ranked 1st in education and 5th in overall prosperity in the 2010 Legatum Institute prosperity index.[60] In addition, the 2010 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 4th place and Wellington 12th place in the world on its list.[61] Taxation in New Zealand is lighter than in other OECD countries. New Zealand has a relatively laissez-faire capitalist economy according to the Fraser Institute think tank.[62]

The service sector is the largest sector in the economy (68.8% of GDP), followed by manufacturing and construction (26.9% of GDP) and the farming/raw materials extraction (4.3% of GDP).[63]

New Zealand is heavily dependent on free trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for around 24% of its output,[63] which is a relatively high figure (it is around 50% for many smaller European countries).[ii] This makes New Zealand particularly vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing and forestry. These make up about half of the country’s exports. Its major export partners are Australia 20.5%, US 13.1%, Japan 10.3%, China 5.4%, UK 4.9% (2006).[63] Tourism plays a significant role in New Zealand’s economy. In 2010 the sector contributed $15.0 billion (or 9.1%) to New Zealand’s total GDP and supported 184,800 full-time equivalent jobs (9.6% of the total workforce in New Zealand).[64] International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1% in the year to October 2010[65] and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5% annually up to 2015.[64]

The New Zealand dollar is the currency of New Zealand. It also circulates in the Cook Islands (see also Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. It is sometimes informally known as the “Kiwi dollar”.

The Economist magazine’s outlook for New Zealand (2009) foresees the government’s fiscal position to remain tenuous because of “weak revenue growth and rising expenditure”. Government debt is expected to balloon from 25% (2008) to 40% (2013). GDP growth will contract in 2009 by 2.6%, then average 2.2% from 2010 to 2013 (although there are “downside risks” which may hamper this growth). Government will continue to pursue foreign trade. Inflation will be 1.4% in 2009, 1.3% in 2010 and average 2.3% from 2011 to 2013. The New Zealand dollar is expected to weaken against the dollar through 2010, but begin strengthening again beginning 2011 (but the report notes that exchange rates are volatile and hard to predict).[66]

Recent history

Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist destinations[67]

Historically, New Zealand enjoyed a high standard of living which relied on its strong relationship with the United Kingdom, and the resulting stable market for its commodity exports. New Zealand’s economy was also built upon on a narrow range of primary products, such as wool, meat and dairy products. High demand for these products created sustained periods of economic prosperity, such as the New Zealand wool boom of 1951. However, in 1973 the United Kingdom joined the European Community which effectively ended this particularly close economic relationship between the two countries. During the 1970s other factors such as the oil crises (1973 and 1979) undermined the viability of the New Zealand economy; which for periods before 1973 had achieved levels of living standards exceeding both Australia and Western Europe.[68] These events led to a protracted and very severe economic crisis, during which living standards in New Zealand fell behind those of Australia and Western Europe, and by 1982 New Zealand was the lowest in per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by the World Bank.[69]

Since 1984, successive governments have engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring, transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist and regulated economy to a liberalised free-trade economy. These changes are commonly known as Rogernomics and Ruthanasia after Finance Ministers Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson. A recession began after the 1987 share market crash and caused unemployment to reach 10% in the early 1990s. Subsequently the economy recovered and New Zealand’s unemployment rate reached a record low of 3.4% in the December 2007 quarter, ranking fifth from twenty-seven OECD nations with comparable data.[70] In 2009, New Zealand’s economy ranked as the fifth freest in the world according the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.[71]

The current government’s economic objectives are centred on pursuing free-trade agreements and building a “knowledge economy“. 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.[72] Ongoing economic challenges for New Zealand include a current account deficit of 2.9% of GDP,[73] slow development of non-commodity exports and tepid growth of labour productivity. New Zealand has experienced a series of “brain drains” since the 1970s,[74] as well as educated youth leaving permanently for Australia, Britain or the United States. “Kiwi lifestyle” and family/whanau factors motivates some of the expatriates to return, while career, culture, and economic factors tend to be predominantly ‘push’ components, keeping these people overseas.[75] In recent years, however, a brain gain brought in educated professionals from poor countries, as well as Europe, as permanent settlers.[76][77]

In 2003 New Zealand decriminalised the sex trade, a move which has attracted international attention.[78]

Since 2000, New Zealand’s fashion industry has grown significantly, doubling exports within a ten year period, according to The Economist magazine. The nation now has “a vibrant and steadily expanding fashion industry, with some 50 established labels, up from a handful ten years ago, half of which sell abroad.”[79] Much of this activity is based in Auckland. Clothing exports in 2007 were $315 million, up from $194 million ten years earlier.[79] This is a remarkable turnabout for a nation which has had a reputation for lackluster fashion – “Visiting diplomats have remarked upon the penchant among New Zealand women for short haircuts, backpacks and sensible shoes … One ambassador accused them of dressing like soldiers; another said they looked as though they were going to a funeral.”[79]


New Zealand Primary Energy Supply 2009. Source: Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand

Main article: Energy in New Zealand

In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated approximately sixty-nine percent of New Zealand’s gross energy supply and thirty-one per cent was generated from renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power and geothermal power.[80]


A Romney ewe with her two lambs.

Agriculture has been and continues to be the main export industry in New Zealand. In the year to June 2009, dairy products accounted for 21% ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports,[81] and the largest company of the country, Fonterra, a dairy cooperative, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade.[82] Other agricultural items were meat 13.2%, wool 6.3%, fruit 3.5% and fishing 3.3%. New Zealand also has a thriving wine industry, which had a bumper year in 2007; wine became New Zealand’s “12th most valuable export” in that year, overtaking wool exports.[83]

Cows and sheep are rarely housed, but are sometimes fed supplements such as hay and silage, particularly in winter. Pigs are usually kept indoors, either in gestation crates, farrowing crates, fattening pens, or group housing.[84]

In 1984, the New Zealand Labour Party ended all farm subsidies.[85]


Ethnicity and immigration

New Zealand’s historical population (black) and projected growth (red).

The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.3 million,[iv] of which approximately 78% identify with European ethnic groups. The term Pākehā usually refers to New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this appellation, and some Māori use it to refer to all non-Māori and non-Polynesian New Zealanders.[86] Most European New Zealanders are of British and Irish ancestry, although there has been significant Dutch, Dalmatian,[87] Italian, and German immigration together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa.[88]

According to the 2006 census projections, by 2026 European children will make up 64% of all New Zealand children, compared with 73% in 2006. Māori children will make up 29%, from 24% in 2006, and Asian and Pacific children will make up about 18% each, compared with 9% and 12% in 2006, respectively.[89] The fertility rate as of March 2009 was 2.2 per woman, compared to approximately 2 for the previous 30 years, with the total number of births higher than at any point since 1961. A second fertility estimate was 2.02 children per woman.[90] The fertility rate is expected to decline over the next forty years, according to one estimate.[90]

The life expectancy of a child born in 2008 was 82.4 years for a girl, and 78.4 years for a boy.[91] Life expectancy at birth (males and females) is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050.[90] Further, infant mortality is expected to decline substantially from 2009 to 2050.[90] While the overall population is expected to grow to 5,349,000 in 2050, the median age (half younger, half older) will rise from 36 years in 2009 to 43 years in 2050 and the percentage of people sixty years of age and older will rise from 18% (2009) to 29% (2050).[90]

Fertility, life expectancy, infant mortality projections
  2005–2010 2010–2015 2015–2020 2020–2025 2045–2050
Fertility (children per woman) &00000000000000020200002.02 &00000000000000020200002.02 &00000000000000019500001.95 &00000000000000018799991.88 &00000000000000018500001.85
Life expectancy at birth (years) &000000000000008000000080 &000000000000008100000081 &000000000000008200000082 &000000000000008200000082 &000000000000008500000085
Infant deaths per 1000 live births &00000000000000045999994.6 &00000000000000042000004.2 &00000000000000038999993.9 &00000000000000037000003.7 &00000000000000027000002.7

Note: Years rounded to whole number. Source: United Nations.[90]

New Zealand’s fastest growing ethnic groups are Asian. Here, lion dancers perform at the Auckland Lantern Festival.

Indigenous Māori people are the largest non-European ethnic group, accounting for 14.6% of the population in the 2006 census. While people could select more than one ethnic group, slightly more than half (53%) of all Māori residents identified solely as Māori.[92] People identifying with Asian ethnic groups account for 9.2% of the population, increasing from 6.6% in the 2001 census, while 6.9% of people are of Pacific Island origin.[93] (These percentages add to more than 100% because people can identify with more than one ethnic group.) Based on the census of 1961, the population of New Zealand comprised 92% European and 7% Maori, with the latter required to show at least half “Maori blood”. Asian and Pacific minorities shared the remaining 1%.[94]

New Zealand immigration policy is relatively open; its government is committed to increasing its population by about 1% annually. In 2008–09, a target of 45,000 was set by the New Zealand immigration Service (plus a 5,000 tolerance).[95] Twenty-three percent of the population was born overseas, one of the highest rates in the world. At present, immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland constitute the largest single group, accounting for 29% of those born overseas but immigrants are drawn from many nations, and increasingly from East Asia (mostly mainland China, but with substantial numbers also from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong).[96]

While the demonym is New Zealander, New Zealanders informally call themselves Kiwis.


Until 1987, English was New Zealand’s only official language, and remains predominant in most settings; Māori became an official language under the 1987 Māori Language Act and New Zealand Sign Language under the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006.[97] The two official spoken languages are also the most widely used; English is spoken by 98% of the population and Māori by 4.1%.[6] Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.3%),[v] followed by French, Hindi, Yue and Northern Chinese.[6][98]

New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99%,[63] and 14.2% of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.[99] For 30.4% of the population, some form of secondary qualification is their highest, while 22.4% of New Zealanders have no formal qualification.[99]


A Ratana church

Change in religious beliefs since 1991

According to the 2006 census, Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, held by 55.6% of the population, a decrease from 60.6% at the 2001 census. Another 34.7% indicated that they had no religion, up from 29.6% in 2001, and around 4% affiliated with other religions. The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Presbyterianism and Methodism. There are also significant numbers who identify themselves with Pentecostal and Baptist churches and with the LDS (Mormon) church. The New Zealand-based Ratana church has adherents among Māori. According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.[98][100]

 Other statistics

In a survey of the OECD amongst 30 democratic nations, New Zealand ranked an above-average 8th place in terms of the happiness of its populace (defined by the averaged responses to questions about personal contentment and positive feelings experienced recently) even though the country was noted as ranking relatively low amongst the surveyed nations in personal wealth (defined by averaged personal income).[101]

New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72% of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53% living in the four largest cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton.[102]


Late twentieth-century house-post depicting the navigator Kupe fighting two sea creatures

Twilight bagpipe band practice, Napier

Main articles: Culture of New Zealand, New Zealand art, and Music of New Zealand


While New Zealand is culturally and linguistically part of Polynesia, forming the south-western anchor of the Polynesian Triangle, much of contemporary New Zealand culture is derived from British roots. It also includes significant influences from American, Australian and Māori cultures, along with those of other European cultures and – more recently – non-Māori Polynesian and Asian cultures. Large festivals in celebration of Diwali and Chinese New Year are held in several of the larger centres. The world’s largest Polynesian festival, Pasifika, is an annual event in Auckland.

Cultural links between New Zealand and the United Kingdom are maintained by a common language, sustained migration from the United Kingdom, and many young New Zealanders spending time in the United Kingdom on their “overseas experience” (OE). The music and cuisine of New Zealand are similar to that of Australia, Canada, UK, and the US, although both have distinct New Zealand and Pacific qualities.

Cook Islands dancers at Auckland’s Pasifika festival

Māori culture has undergone considerable change since the arrival of Europeans; in particular the introduction of Christianity in the early 19th century brought about fundamental change in everyday life. Nonetheless the perception that most Māori now live similar lifestyles to their Pākehā neighbours is a superficial one. In fact, Māori culture has significant differences, for instance the important role which the marae and the extended family continue to play in communal and family life.

As in traditional times, Māori habitually perform karakia to ensure the favourable outcome of important undertakings, but today the prayers used are generally Christian. Māori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups as a vital part of personal identity, and Māori kinship roles resemble those of other Polynesian peoples.

As part of the resurgence of Māori culture that came to the fore in the late 20th century, the tradition-based arts of kapa haka (song and dance), carving and weaving are now more widely practiced, and the architecture of the marae maintains strong links to traditional forms. Māori also value their connections to Polynesia, as attested by the increasing popularity of waka ama (outrigger canoe racing), which is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.

Te reo Māori

Performers in traditional Māori clothing.

Use of the Māori language (te reo Māori) as a living, community language remained only in a few remote areas in the post-war years, but is currently undergoing a process of revitalisation,[103] thanks in part to Māori language immersion schools and two Māori Television channels.[104] These are the only nationwide television channels to have the majority of its prime-time content delivered in Māori, primarily because only 4% of the population speak the language.[6] However, partly in recognition of the importance of Māori culture to New Zealand, the language was declared one of New Zealand’s official languages in 1987.[103]

 Film industry

Although films have been made in New Zealand since the 1920s, it was only from the 1970s that New Zealand films began to be produced in significant numbers. Films such as Sleeping Dogs and Goodbye Pork Pie achieved local success and launched the careers of actors and directors including Sam Neill, Geoff Murphy and Roger Donaldson. In the early 1990s, New Zealand films such as Jane Campion‘s Academy Award-winning film The Piano, Lee Tamahori‘s Once Were Warriors and Peter Jackson‘s Heavenly Creatures began to garner international acclaim.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in New Zealand, using mostly New Zealand crew and extras. Whale Rider, originally a novel by Witi Ihimaera, was produced in 2002 and received recognition from various festivals and awards. New Zealand features as a primary or additional location for many international productions, examples include The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Bridge to Terabithia and Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai.


The New Zealand media industry is dominated by a small number of companies, most of which are foreign-owned,[iii] although the state retains ownership of some television and radio stations. New Zealand television broadcasts mostly American and British programming, along with a small number of Australian and New Zealand shows.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority and the New Zealand Press Council can investigate allegations of bias and inaccuracy in the broadcast and print media. Combined with New Zealand’s libel laws, this means that the New Zealand news media is fairly tame by international standards, but also reasonably fair and impartial. New Zealand receives high rankings in press freedom. Between 2003 and 2008, Reporters Without Borders has consistently ranked the country in the top twenty, placing it seventh in 2008.[105]


The All Blacks perform a haka before a match against France in 2006

Main article: Sport in New Zealand

Sport has a major role in New Zealand’s culture, with the unofficial national sport of rugby union being particularly influential. Other popular participatory sports include cricket, bowls, netball, soccer, motorsports, golf, swimming and tennis.[106] New Zealand has strong international teams in several sports including rugby union, netball, cricket,[107][108] rugby league, and softball. New Zealand also has traditionally done well in the sports of triathlon, rowing, yachting and cycling. The country is internationally recognised for performing well on a medals-to-population ratio at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.[109][110]

Rugby union, commonly referred to as rugby, is closely linked to the country’s national identity. The national rugby team, the All Blacks, has the best win to loss record of any national team,[111] and is well known for the haka (a traditional Māori challenge) performed before the start of international matches.[112] Five New Zealand-based teams compete in the southern hemisphere Super 15 rugby union competition, with the country’s premier domestic competition being the ITM Cup, in which 14 provincial teams compete.

Rugby league is also widely played in New Zealand. The New Zealand Warriors compete in the Australian NRL competition, and in 2008 the national side, the Kiwis, won the Rugby League World Cup.[113]

Statue of Edmund Hillary gazing towards Aoraki/Mount Cook

Cricket was introduced to New Zealand in the 1800s[107] and is reputedly the second most popular sport in the country, with one source stating there are 98,000 registered cricket players.[114] The New Zealand team is known as the Blackcaps[115] and the national women’s team is the White Ferns.[114]

Horse racing is a popular spectator sport which has spawned such national icons as Cardigan Bay and Phar Lap, and was part of the traditional “Rugby, Racing and Beer” culture.

New Zealand is also well known for its extreme sports and adventure tourism.[116] Its reputation in extreme sports extends from the establishment of the world’s first commercial bungy jumping site at Queenstown in the South Island in November 1988.[117] There is a culture of longboarding in urban areas.[118] The country also has a strong mountaineering tradition, with the country’s most famous climber being the late Sir Edmund Hillary, jointly with Tenzing Norgay the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

International rankings

New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons on human development, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy, public education, peace,[119] prosperity, economic freedom, ease of doing business, lack of corruption, press freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.[120]

Organisation Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace Global Peace Index[121] 1 out of 149
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 1 out of 180
World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index 2 out of 183
United Nations Development Programme Education Index 4 out of 179
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 3 out of 182[122]
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 23 out of 133

The country’s major cities also consistently rank among the world’s most liveable

the end @ copyright Dr Iwan Suwandy 2010


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