New Zealand FACTS - 1999

New Zealand lies in the southern Pacific Ocean, 1600 km east of Australia. It is made up of the North and South Islands and a number of smaller islands, with a total area of 268 000 sq km.

Mountain ranges and hill country dominate NZ's landscape; one of the most striking physical features is the Southern Alps.  These, along with fiords glaciers and lakes and the coastal plains of Canterbury and Southland add to the variety of the South Island scenery.  In the North Island the volcanic interior contains NZ's largest lake, Lake Taupo, and most of the country's active volcanoes - Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro - Ruapehu erupted as recently as 1995 and 1996.  Hot springs, geysers, mud pools also form part of the volcanic system centred around Rotorua.


Polynesians settlers arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand around the tenth century, and by the twelfth century settlements were scattered over most of the country.  What the Polynesians found was a land much different to the South Pacific tropical isles of Polynesia.  Instead they found a land of mountains with a more seasonal climate.  There were no large mammals to hunt for food, but there was a large flightless bird called the Moa.  It that stood up to 15 feet tall and the Maoris found it easy prey.  By the time Europeans had reached New Zealand the Moa was hunted to extinction.


Abel van Tasman was the first European explorer to see New Zealand in 1642, but it was Captain James Cook who first set foot on New Zealand soil in 1769.  The first permanent settlers didn't arrive until the 1830's.  The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, giving sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain.  The Maori were persuaded to cede vast tracts of land for mere token payments, but soon the Maori realised the true worth of what they had given away. The Maori rose up and attacked the British settlements repeatedly.


Today New Zealand is a relatively peaceful country and the people are extraordinarily friendly and outgoing. One quarter of New Zealand is protected wilderness and much of the country is pollution free.


Time Zone

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time making it one of the first places in the world to see the new day. Summer time (or Daylight Saving Time we call it here) is an advance of one hour at 2am in the morning on the first Sunday in October and back to NZST at 3am in the morning on the third Sunday morning of March. NZST (GMT+12) or NZDT (GMT+13) October - March.


Since 1984 the government has accomplished major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on a concessionary British market access toward a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally.  This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world.  Per capita GDP has been moving up toward the levels of the big West European economies.  New Zealand's heavy dependence on trade leaves its growth prospects vulnerable to economic performance in Asia, Europe, and the US.  The slump in demand in Asian markets largely explains the slight drop in GDP in 1998.


                                          GDP:   purchasing power parity—$61.1 billion (1998 est.)

                GDP—real growth rate:   -0.2% (1998)

                         GDP—per capita:   purchasing power parity—$17,000 (1998 est.)

        GDP—composition by sector:

                                  agriculture:   9%

                                      industry:   25%

                                      services   66% (1997)

      Population below poverty line:   NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

                                Lowest 10%:   NA%

                                Highest10%:   NA%

   Inflation rate (consumer prices):   1.1% (1998)

                               Labor force:   1.86 million (1998)

         Labor force—by occupation:   services 65.1%, industry 25.1%, agriculture 9.8% (1995)

                    Unemployment rate:   7.6% (1998)


                                   Revenues:   $24.9 billion

                               Expenditures:   $23.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY97/98 est.)

                                 Industries:   food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining

Industrial production growth rate:   NA%

                Electricity—production:   35.534 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—production by source:

                                    fossil fuel:   18.72%

                                        hydro:   75.67%

                                      nuclear:   0%

                                         other:   5.61% (1996)

             Electricity—consumption:   35.534 billion kWh (1996)

                    Electricity—exports:   0 kWh (1996)

                    Electricity—imports:   0 kWh (1996)

                 Agriculture—products:   wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, dairy products; fish

                                     Exports:   $12.9 billion (1998 est.)

                Exports—commodities:   wool, lamb, mutton, beef, fish, cheese, chemicals, forestry products, fruits and vegetables, manufactures, dairy products, wood

                      Exports—partners:   Australia 20%, Japan 15%, US 10%, UK 6% (1997)

                                     Imports:   $13 billion (1998 est.)

                Imports—commodities:   machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, consumer goods, plastics

                      Imports—partners:   Australia 27%, US 19%, Japan 12%, UK 6% (1997)

                           Debt—external:   $53.2 billion (March 1998)

                  Economic aid—donor:   ODA, $123 million (1995)

                                   Currency:   1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

                          Exchange rates:   New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1—1.85 (February 1999), 1.8629 (1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996), 1.5235 (1995), 1.6844 (1994)

                                 Fiscal year:   1 July—30 June


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

              Geographic coordinates:   41 00 S, 174 00 E

                         Map references:   Oceania


                                          total:   268,680 sq km

                                          land:   268,670 sq km

                                         water:   10 sq km

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

                     Area—comparative:   about the size of Colorado

                        Land boundaries:   0 km

                                  Coastline:   15,134 km

                            aritime claims:

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

                 exclusive economic zone:   200 nm

                               territorial sea:   12 nm

                                     Climate:   temperate with sharp regional contrasts

                                      Terrain:   predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains

                    Elevation extremes:

                                 lowest point:   Pacific Ocean 0 m

                               highest point:   Mount Cook 3,764 m

                      Natural resources:   natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone

                                   Land use:

                                 arable land:   9%

                          permanent crops:   5%

                      permanent pastures:   50%

                     forests and woodland:   28%

                                         other:   8% (1993 est.)

                             Irrigated land:   2,850 sq km (1993 est.)

                          Natural hazards:   earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity

      Environment—current issues:   deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside


         —international agreements:   party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

                       Geography—note:   about 80% of the population lives in cities

National Anthem…


God Defend New Zealand

God of nations at thy feet

in the bonds of love we meet

Hear our voices, we entreat,

God defend our free land

Guard Pacific's triple star

From the shafts of strife and war,

Make her praises heard afar,

God defend New Zealand.


Men of every creed and race

Gather here before thy face,

Asking thee to bless this place,

God defend our free land

From dissension, envy, hate,

And corruption guard our state,

Make our country good and great,

God defend New Zealand.


Peace, not war, shall be our boast,

But, should foes assail our coast,

Make us then a mighty host,

God defend our free land.

Lord of battles in thy might,

Put our enemies to flight,

Let our cause be just and right,

God defend New Zealand.


Let our love for Thee increase,

May thy blessings never cease,

Give us plenty, give us peace,

God defend our free land.

From dishonour and from shame

Guard our country's spotless name,

Crown her with immortal fame,

God defend New Zealand.


May our mountains ever be

Freedom's ramparts on the sea,

Make us faithful unto thee,

God defend our free land.

Guide her in the nation's van,

Preaching love and truth to man,

Working out thy glorious plan.

God defend New Zealand.



                                 Population:   3,662,265 (July 1999 est.)

                            Age structure:

                                                   0-14 years: 23% (male 430,105; female 409,302)

                                                   15-64 years: 65% (male 1,202,762; female 1,195,006)

                                                   65 years and over: 12% (male 184,048; female 241,042) (1999 est.)

                Population growth rate:   0.99% (1999 est.)

                                  Birth rate:   14.42 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

                                 Death rate:   7.53 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

                      Net migration rate:   3.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

                                   Sex ratio:

                                       at birth:   1.05 male(s)/female

                            under 15 years:   1.05 male(s)/female

                                15-64 years:   1.01 male(s)/female

                         65 years and over:   0.76 male(s)/female

                            total population:   0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

                    Infant mortality rate:   6.22 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

               Life expectancy at birth:

                            total population:   77.82 years

                                          male:   74.55 years

                                       female:   81.27 years (1999 est.)

                        Total fertility rate:   1.85 children born/woman (1999 est.)

                                 Nationality:   noun: New Zealander(s)

                                                   adjective: New Zealand

                            Ethnic groups:   New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%, Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%

                                  Religions:   Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)

                                Languages:   English (official), Maori

                                     Literacy:   definition: age 15 and over can read and write

                            total population:   99% (1980 est.)

                                          male:   NA%

                                       female:   NA%



Disputes—international: territorial claim in Antarctica (Ross Dependency)


Waitangi Treaty

Her Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with Her Royal Favour the Native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just Rights and Property and to secure to them the enjoyment of Peace and Good Order has deemed it necessary in consequence of the great number of Her Majesty's Subjects who have already settled in New Zealand and the rapid extension of Emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorized to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty's Sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands.


Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of Civil Government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absense of the necessary Laws and Institutions alike to the native population and to Her subjects has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorize "me William Hobson a Captain" in Her Majesty's Royal Navy Consul and Lieutenant Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may be or hereafter shall be ceded to Her Majesty to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following Articles and Conditions.

Article the First

The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess, over their respective Territories as the sole Sovereigns thereof.

Article the Second

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the Third

In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

[Signed] W Hobson Lieutenant Govenor


Now therefore We the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in Congress at Victoria in Waitangi and We the Separate and Independent Chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the Tribes and Territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the Provisions of the foregoing Treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attatched our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified


Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.