New Zealand facts on every entity in the world

The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. That same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both world wars. New Zealand's full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances. New Zealand assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.



Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates

41.00° S, 174.00° E

Area 76/257

total: 267,710 sq km

land: 267,710 sq km

water: NA

note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of North Carolina; about the size of Colorado

Land boundaries

0 km


15,134 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


temperate with sharp regional contrasts


predominately mountainous with large coastal plains


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m

Natural resources

natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 43.2%

arable land 1.8%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 41.1%

forest: 31.4%

other: 25.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

7,210 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

327 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 4.75 cu km/yr (23%/5%/72%)

per capita: 1,200 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards

earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity

volcanism: significant volcanism on North Island; Ruapehu (elev. 2,797 m), which last erupted in 2007, has a history of large eruptions in the past century; Taranaki has the potential to produce dangerous avalanches and lahars; other historically active volcanoes include Okataina, Raoul Island, Tongariro, and White Island

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

almost 90% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world

People and Society


noun: New Zealander(s)

adjective: New Zealand

Ethnic groups

European 71.2%, Maori 14.1%, Asian 11.3%, Pacific peoples 7.6%, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African 1.1%, other 1.6%, not stated or unidentified 5.4%

note: based on the 2013 census of the usually resident population; percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one ethnic group (2013 est.)


English (de facto official) 89.8%, Maori (de jure official) 3.5%, Samoan 2%, Hindi 1.6%, French 1.2%, Northern Chinese 1.2%, Yue 1%, Other or not stated 20.5%, New Zealand Sign Language (de jure official)

note: shares sum to 120.8% due to multiple responses on census (2013 est.)


Christian 44.3% (Catholic 11.6%, Anglican 10.8%, Presbyterian and Congregational 7.8%, Methodist, 2.4%, Pentecostal 1.8%, other 9.9%), Hindu 2.1%, Buddhist 1.4%, Maori Christian 1.3%, Islam 1.1%, other religion 1.4% (includes Judaism, Spiritualism and New Age religions, Baha'i, Asian religions other than Buddhism), no religion 38.5%, not stated or unidentified 8.2%, objected to answering 4.1%

note: based on the 2013 census of the usually resident population; percentages add up to more than 100% because people were able to identify more than one religion (2013 est.)

Population 127/238

4,438,393 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.87% (male 451,684/female 430,084)

15-24 years: 13.74% (male 313,140/female 296,654)

25-54 years: 40.25% (male 894,475/female 891,973)

55-64 years: 11.52% (male 249,765/female 261,670)

65 years and over: 14.62% (male 299,862/female 349,086) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54%

youth dependency ratio: 31.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 22.9%

potential support ratio: 4.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 37.7 years

male: 36.8 years

female: 38.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 136/233

0.82% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 150/224

13.33 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 116/225

7.36 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 48/222

2.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 86.3% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Auckland 1.344 million; WELLINGTON (capital) 383,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth (2009 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 144/184

11 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 181/224

total: 4.52 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.07 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 28/224

total population: 81.05 years

male: 78.97 years

female: 83.22 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 115/224

2.04 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 20/191

9.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.74 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

2.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate 34/191

30.6% (2014)

Education expenditures 16/173

7.4% of GDP (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 18 years

female: 20 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 64/134

total: 15.8%

male: 15.3%

female: 16.3% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: New Zealand

abbreviation: NZ

etymology: Dutch explorer Abel TASMAN was the first European to reach New Zealand in 1642; he named it Staten Landt, but Dutch cartographers renamed it Nova Zeelandia in 1645 after the Dutch province of Zeeland; British explorer Captain James COOK subsequently anglicized the name to New Zealand when he mapped the islands in 1769

Government type

parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


name: Wellington

geographic coordinates: 41.18° S, 174.47° E

time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

note: New Zealand has two time zones - New Zealand standard time (12 hours in advance of UTC), and Chatham Islands time (45 minutes in advance of New Zealand standard time)

Administrative divisions

16 regions and 1 territory*; Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Chatham Islands*, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Wellington, West Coast

Dependent areas

Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau


26 September 1907 (from the UK)

National holiday

Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840); ANZAC Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)


Constitution Act 1986 (the principal formal charter) adopted and effective 1 January 1987; amended 1999, 2005, 2014 (2015)

Legal system

common law system, based on English model, with special legislation and land courts for the Maori

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of New Zealand

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Lt. Gen. Sir Jerry MATEPARAE (since 31 August 2011)

head of government: Prime Minister John KEY (since 19 November 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Simon William ENGLISH (since 19 November 2008)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Representatives - commonly called Parliament (usually 120 seats; 70 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies, including 7 Maori constituencies, by simple majority vote and 50 directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 3-year terms)

elections: last held on 20 September 2014 (next to be held by September 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 48.1%, Labor Party 24.7%, Green Party 10%, NZ First 8.8%, Maori 1.29%, ACT Party .69%, United Future .22%; seats by party - National Party 61, Labor Party 32, Green Party 13, NZ First 11, Maori 2, ACT Party 1, United Future 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices including the chief justice); note - the Supreme Court in 2004 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London as the final appeals court

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the attorney-general; justices appointed for life

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; tribunals and authorities; district courts; specialized courts for issues related to employment, environment, Maori lands, and military

Political parties and leaders

ACT New Zealand [Rodney HIDE]

Green Party [Russel NORMAN and Metiria TUREI]

Jim Anderton's Progressive Party [James (Jim) ANDERTON]

Mana Party [Hone HARAWIRA]

Maori Party [Tariana TURIA and Dr. Pita SHARPLES]

New Zealand First Party or NZ First [Winston PETERS]

New Zealand Labor Party [Phil GOFF]

New Zealand National Party [John KEY]

United Future New Zealand [Peter DUNNE]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Women's Electoral Lobby or WEL

other: apartheid groups; civil rights groups; farmers groups; Maori; nuclear weapons groups; women's rights groups

International organization participation

ADB, ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF, SICA (observer), Sparteca, SPC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four red five-pointed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (four, five-pointed stars), kiwi (bird), silver fern; national colors: black, white, red (ochre)

National anthem

name: "God Defend New Zealand"

lyrics/music: Thomas BRACKEN [English], Thomas Henry SMITH [Maori]/John Joseph WOODS

note: adopted 1940 as national song, adopted 1977 as co-national anthem; New Zealand has two national anthems with equal status; as a commonwealth realm, in addition to "God Defend New Zealand," "God Save the Queen" serves as a national anthem (see United Kingdom); "God Save the Queen" normally played only when a member of the royal family or the governor-general is present; in all other cases, "God Defend New Zealand" is played


Economy - overview

Over the past 30 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy, dependent on concessionary British market access, to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes - but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income rose for ten consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms, but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, fueling a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for policymakers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007-08. The higher rate attracted international capital inflows, which strengthened the currency and housing market while aggravating the current account deficit. The economy fell into recession before the start of the global financial crisis and contracted for five consecutive quarters in 2008-09. In line with global peers, the central bank cut interest rates aggressively and the government developed fiscal stimulus measures. The economy pulled out of recession in 2009, and achieved 2%-3% growth between 2011 to 2015. Nevertheless, key trade sectors remain vulnerable to weak external demand and lower commodity prices. In the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, the government has continued programs to expand export markets, develop capital markets, invest in innovation, raise productivity growth, and develop infrastructure, while easing its fiscal austerity.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 71/230

$166 billion (2015 est.)

$162.4 billion (2014 est.)

$157.2 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$170.6 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 138/225

2.2% (2015 est.)

3.3% (2014 est.)

2.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 47/230

$36,400 (2015 est.)

$35,700 (2014 est.)

$34,500 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 97/179

18% of GDP (2015 est.)

19.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

19.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 56.1%

government consumption: 18.7%

investment in fixed capital: 22.8%

investment in inventories: 0.3%

exports of goods and services: 27.9%

imports of goods and services: -25.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.1%

industry: 26.8%

services: 69% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

dairy products, sheep, beef, poultry, fruit, vegetables, wine, seafood, wheat and barley


agriculture, forestry, fishing, logs and wood articles, manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, real estate services, tourism

Industrial production growth rate 101/202

2.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 115/233

2.522 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7%

industry: 19%

services: 74% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate 65/207

5.8% (2015 est.)

5.7% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index 85/144

36.2 (1997)


revenues: $73.52 billion

expenditures: $73.34 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 32/219

43.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 26/220

0.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 131/176

33.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

34.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

note: this is the fiscal year for tax purposes

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 58/226

0.7% (2015 est.)

1.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 108/156

2.5% (31 December 2009)

5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 140/184

5.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

5.8% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 63/192

$28.33 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$33.16 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 55/193

$105.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$97.74 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 39/191

$240.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$271.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 46/121

$79.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$71.66 billion (31 December 2011)

$71.83 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 178/197

-$7.957 billion (2015 est.)

-$6.46 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 61/224

$34.33 billion (2015 est.)

$41.96 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

dairy products, meat and edible offal, logs and wood articles, fruit, crude oil, wine

Exports - partners

China 20%, Australia 17.5%, US 9.3%, Japan 5.9% (2014)

Imports 60/223

$35.34 billion (2015 est.)

$41 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum and products, mechanical machinery, vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, textiles

Imports - partners

China 17%, Australia 12.3%, US 11.7%, Japan 6.7%, Germany 4.8%, South Korea 4.5%, Malaysia 4.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 62/170

$17.84 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$15.86 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 35/206

$189.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$192.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 48/120

$87.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$85.44 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 38/105

$59.08 billion (31 December 2009)

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

1.45 (2015 est.)

1.2 (2014 est.)

1.2 (2013 est.)

1.23 (2012 est.)

1.26 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 57/220

43.28 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 56/219

40.3 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 181/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 186/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 57/214

9.521 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 183/214

29% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 160/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 43/214

55.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 17/212

15.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 61/214

39,860 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 53/214

29,620 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 47/214

101,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 78/215

67.2 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 70/214

113,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 64/212

156,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 93/214

5,218 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 84/213

44,520 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 51/216

5.295 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 58/215

5.38 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 160/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 116/214

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 68/212

29.42 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 70/212

37.89 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 62/219

total subscriptions: 1.85 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 116/217

total: 5.1 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 116 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent domestic and international systems

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 150 per 100 persons

international: country code - 64; the Southern Cross submarine cable system provides links to Australia, Fiji, and the US; satellite earth stations - 8 (1 Inmarsat - Pacific Ocean, 7 other) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-owned Television New Zealand operates multiple TV networks and state-owned Radio New Zealand operates 3 radio networks and an external shortwave radio service to the South Pacific region; a small number of national commercial TV and radio stations and many regional commercial television and radio stations are available; cable and satellite TV systems are available (2008)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 124, FM 290, shortwave 4 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

41 (plus about 700 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 34/232

3.026 million (2012)

Internet users 77/217

total: 4 million

percent of population: 91.5% (2014 est.)


Airports 48/236

123 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 39

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 23

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 84

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 33

under 914 m: 48 (2013)


condensate 331 km; gas 1,936 km; liquid petroleum gas 172 km; oil 288 km; refined products 198 km (2013)

Railways 42/136

total: 4,128 km

narrow gauge: 4,128 km 1.067-m gauge (503 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 50/223

total: 94,902 km

paved: 62,759 km (includes 199 km of expressways)

unpaved: 32,143 km (2012)

Merchant marine 101/156

total: 15

by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 3, chemical tanker 1, container 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 2

foreign-owned: 7 (Germany 2, Hong Kong 1, South Africa 1, Switzerland 2, UK 1)

registered in other countries: 5 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Cook Islands 2, Samoa 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Auckland, Lyttelton, Manukau Harbor, Marsden Point, Tauranga, Wellington

Military and Security

Military branches

New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF): New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force (Te Hokowhitu o Kahurangi, RNZAF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription; 3 years of secondary education required; must be a citizen of NZ, the UK, Australia, Canada, or the US, and resident of NZ for the previous 5 years (2013)

Military expenditures 87/132

1.13% of GDP (2012)

1.12% of GDP (2011)

1.13% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)

Illicit drugs

significant consumer of amphetamines