103,737.93 sq mi
268,680.00 sq km
3,819,762 (July 2000 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050
English (official), Maori
99% total, N/A% male, N/A% female (1980 est.)
Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist
2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)
74.85 male, 80.93 female (2000 est.)
1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents
GDP (per capita)
$17,400 (1999 est.)
Labor Force (by occupation)
services 65%, industry 25%, agriculture 10% (1995)
food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation
equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy
dairy products, meat, fish, wool, forestry products, manufactures
machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, consumer
natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Current Environmental Issues
deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species
introduced from outside
Telephones (main lines in use)
1.719 million (1995)
Telephones (mobile cellular)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
The Polynesian navigator Kupe has been credited with the discovery of
New Zealand around AD 800. Legend has it his wife, Hine-te-aparangi,
named it Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. The legend continues
that centuries later, around AD 1350, a great migration of people from
Kupe's homeland of Hawaiki followed his navigational instructions and
sailed to New Zealand, eventually supplanting or mixing with previous
residents. Their culture, developed over centuries without any discernible
outside influence, was hierarchical and often sanguinary.
the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman briefly sailed along the west coast of
New Zealand; any thoughts of a longer stay were thwarted when his attempt
to land resulted in several of his crew being killed and eaten. In 1769,
Captain James Cook circumnavigated the two main islands aboard the Endeavour.
Initial contact with the Maoris also proved violent but Cook, impressed
with the Maoris' bravery and spirit and recognising the potential of
this newfound land, grabbed it for the British crown before setting
sail for Australia.
British began their antipodean colonising, New Zealand was originally
seen as an offshoot of Australian enterprise in whaling and sealing:
in fact, from 1839 to 1841 the country was under the jurisdiction of
New South Wales. However, increased European settlement soon proved
problematic: a policy was urgently required regarding land deals between
the settlers (Pakeha) and the Maori. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi
was signed, with the Maori ceding sovereignty of their country to Britain
in exchange for protection and guaranteed possession of their lands.
But relations between the Maori and Pakeha soon soured (the Maoris became
increasingly alarmed at the effect the Pakeha had on their society while
the Pakeha rode roughshod over Maori rights outlined in the treaty).
The Northland War of 1844 interupted the treaty and by 1860 war broke
out between them, continuing for much of the decade. The fighting eventually
died down, and though there was no formal resolution, the Pakehas claimed
late 19th century, things had temporarily calmed down. The discovery
of gold had engendered much prosperity, and wide-scale sheep farming
meant New Zealand became an efficient and mostly self-reliant country.
Sweeping social changes - women's suffrage, social security, the encouragement
of trade unions and the introduction of child care services - cemented
New Zealand's reputation as a country committed to egalitarian reform.
was given dominion status in the British Empire in 1907 and granted
autonomy by Britain in 1931; independence, however, was not formally
proclaimed until 1947. The economy continued to prosper until the worldwide
recession in the 1980s, when unemployment rose dramatically. Today the
economy has stabilised, thanks largely to an export-driven recovery.
Internationally, New Zealand was hailed during the mid-1980s for its
anti-nuclear stance - even though it meant a falling-out with the USA
- and its opposition to French nuclear testing in the Pacific (which
France countered, to much opprobrium but little penalty, by blowing
up the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior as it sat in Auckland Harbour).
population is now increasing faster than the Pakeha and a resurgence
in Maoritanga (Maori culture) has had a major and lasting impact on
New Zealand society. One of the most heartening aspects of this has
been the concerted efforts towards cultural integration between the
Maori and Pakeha. However, a clumsy take-it-or-leave-it attempt by the
New Zealand government to offer financial reparations has resulted in
an upsurge of militant Maori protests over land rights. The issue of
reconciliation remains at the top of the political agenda.