New Zealand

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New Zealand (English)
Aotearoa ( māori )
New Zealand
New Zealand flag
New Zealand coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Official language English (de facto), Māori , New Zealand sign language
Capital Wellington
Form of government parliamentary monarchy
Government system parliamentary democracy ( Westminster system )
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II

represented by
Governor General Patsy Reddy
Head of government Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
surface 269,652 ( 74th ) km²
population 4,242,048 2013 census ( 123rd )
4,793,700 estimated as of June 30, 2017
Population density 17.46 ( 171st ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 2.1% per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • US $ 201.49 billion ( 52nd )
  • US $ 185.75 billion ( 69th )
  • US $ 41,593 ( 21. )
  • US- $ 38,934 ( 33. )
Human Development Index   0.915 ( 13th ) (2016)
currency New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
founding February 6, 1840
( Treaty of Waitangi )
independence September 26, 1907 ( Dominion )

November 25, 1947
( Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 )

December 13, 1986
( 1986 Constitution )

National anthem God Defend New Zealand

God Save the Queen
National holiday Waitangi Day (February 6th)
Time zone UTC + 12 NZST
UTC + 13 NZDT ( October to March )
License Plate NZ
ISO 3166 NZ , NZL, 554
Internet TLD .nz
Telephone code +64
1de facto, de jure only New Zealand
Japan Nördliche Marianen Palau Mikronesien Osttimor Indonesien Midwayinseln Hawaii Papua-Neuguinea Marshallinseln Nauru Kiribati Französisch-Polynesien Tokelau Cookinseln Salomonen Norfolkinseln Neuseeland Vanuatu Tuvalu Wallis and Futuna Tonga Niue Australien Samoa Amerikanisch-Samoa Fidschi Neukaledonien Antarktika Frankreich (Kergulen) Philippinen Volksrepublik China Singapur Malaysia Brunei Vietnam Nepal Bhutan Laos Thailand Kambodscha Myanmar Bangladesch Mongolei Nordkorea Südkorea Indien Pakistan Sri Lanka Russland Indien GuamLocation of New Zealand in Oceania
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Location of New Zealand in Oceania

New Zealand ( English New Zealand [njuːˈziːlənd] , Māori Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa] ) is a geographically isolated island nation in the southern Pacific . It consists of a north and a south island as well as numerous smaller islands. The closest larger land masses are in the west with the Australian continent (the west coasts of the two main islands of New Zealand are between 1530 km and around 2100 km from the east coast of Australia and Tasmania ), in the north with the French island of New Caledonia and the island states of Tonga and Fiji as well in the south with the continent of Antarctica .

Neither geographically nor culturally, New Zealand can be assigned to a specific greater region: The country lies partly on the Australian , partly on the Pacific plate and is connected to both the European cultural area of Australia and the Polynesian part of Oceania . New Zealand is a kingdom in the Commonwealth of Nations with a democratic-parliamentary constitution . For a developed country , the main industries are unusually agriculture and forestry , food industry (mainly dairy products) and tourism . New Zealand is known as the “green island”, which is partly due to the sparse population and the natural diversity. This as well as the unique vegetation are also due to the relatively isolated location of the islands.


Extension and location

New Zealand consists of two main islands , the North and South Islands , and more than 700 smaller islands. The two main islands, often referred to as Mainland New Zealand, are separated from each other by the Cook Strait, 23 km wide at its narrowest point . Most of the smaller islands such as Stewart Island , which is sometimes still part of Mainland New Zealand , the Great Barrier Island or the densely populated Waiheke Island are located within a zone of 50 km off the coast of the main islands. Only the Kermadec Islands 1000 km north of the North Island, the Chatham Islands 700 km east near the International Date Line and the sub-Antarctic islands more than 200 km south of the South Island in the four uninhabited archipelagos of the Auckland Islands , the Antipodes Islands and the Snares Islands , the Bounty Islands and Campbell Island do not belong to the archipelago around the two main islands. The North Island lies entirely on the Australian Plate, the South Island partly on the Australian and partly on the Pacific Plate. During the last ice age , the north and south islands were connected.

New Zealand also claims the Ross minor area in Antarctica , which also includes a number of other islands; However, this claim is not recognized internationally due to the Antarctic Treaty . Further includes Tokelau as a territory dependent on the State New Zealand and the Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing territories in free association with New Zealand. These areas are not considered further below.

The total land area of ​​New Zealand is 269,652 km², which is slightly smaller than that of Italy or the Philippines , but slightly larger than that of the United Kingdom . While the main islands of the archipelago are never wider than 450 km in an east-west direction, they extend over 1,600 km along the main axis in a north-easterly direction. The entire coastline covers around 15,134 km. The territorial waters of New Zealand are very large with 167,653 km² relative to the land mass, the Exclusive Economic Zone is even one of the largest in the world with 3,931,136 km².

New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere . All of New Zealand's islands are isolated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean . The country is thus generally assigned to Oceania (especially if the term Oceania also includes Australia) or, on a more limited scale, viewed as an island of Polynesia. However, due to the cultural similarities, it is partly assigned to the continent of Australia. As the marginal sea of ​​the Pacific , the Tasman Sea is located west of the two main islands and separates New Zealand from Australia, which is up to 2100 km away. The shortest distance, however, is 1,530 km, measured between the South Island of New Zealand and Tasmania . After Australia, the Antarctic mainland, some 3000 km to the south, is the next larger land mass. Other states or colonies close to New Zealand are in the north of New Caledonia, Tonga and Fiji . New Zealand is the state furthest away from Central Europe: parts of the country are located exactly opposite Spain on the globe , so they are its antipodes .

The extension of New Zealand from north to south is often described colloquially as " from Cape Reinga to The Bluff " ("from Cape Reinga to the Bluff"), but in fact the Surville Cliffs on the North Cape ( 34 ° 23 ′ 35 ″  S , 173 ° 0 ′ 48 ″  E ) the northernmost point of the North Island and Slope Point in the Catlins ( 46 ° 40 ′ 34 ″  S , 169 ° 0 ′ 22 ″  E ) the southernmost point of the South Island. If Stewart Island is part of Mainland New Zealand , the southernmost point is the South Cape ( 47 ° 17 ′ 24 ″  S , 167 ° 32 ′ 12 ″  E ). If one adds the islands located outside the archipelago, Nugent Island is the northernmost in the group of the Kermadec Islands ( 29 ° 14 ′  S , 177 ° 52 ′  E ) and Jacquemart Island is in the group of Campbell Islands ( 52 ° 37 ′  S , 169 ° 8 ′  E ) the southernmost point in the country. The westernmost point of the country is Cape Lovitt in the Auckland Islands, the easternmost the Forty-Fours in the Chatham Islands. If you take only the two main islands again, West Cape is the westernmost and East Cape the easternmost point of the country. The official center of the land is located approximately 24 km south west of Collingwood in the north of South Island and has coordinates 40 ° 50 '37 "  S , 172 ° 28' 59"  O .

New Zealand and its associated territories are in four different time zones , with the main islands using NZST , which corresponds to UTC +12 .

Topography and natural spaces

New Zealand topography

The 113,729 km² North Island is the more densely populated island of New Zealand. About three quarters of the population live on it, and both the capital Wellington and the largest city of the country Auckland are located on the North Island.

Auckland lies on an isthmus that is less than two kilometers wide at its narrowest point and separates the Pacific from the Tasman Sea. North of the isthmus is the Northland Peninsula , which in turn is divided into numerous other peninsulas up to the Aupōuri Peninsula . The west coast of the Northland Peninsula is relatively smooth. It is characterized by long sandy beaches, among which Ninety Mile Beach is probably the best known, as well as two large natural harbors, Kaipara Harbor and Hokianga Harbor . The Waipoua Forest , which is home to important kauri trees , extends south of Hokianga Harbor . The east coast, on the other hand, is more rugged and has numerous offshore islands, but is also home to some natural harbors. The most famous are the Bay of Islands and the port of the largest city on the peninsula, Whangarei . The inland is covered by hill country used for agriculture and forestry.

The Waikato region is located south of Auckland . In the west of this region there is a low mountain range , the Hakarimata Range , which merges into a gentle hilly landscape at the confluence of the Waikato River into the Tasman Sea. To the east of the Hakarimata Range are the Waikato Plains , a pronounced plain that extends on both sides of the Waikato. Here is Hamilton , the fourth largest agglomeration in the country. Further to the east, the Kaimai Range and the Mamaku Plateau are again joined by two predominantly wooded low mountain ranges . These separate the region from the area around the Bay of Plenty . In the north of the bay is the Coromandel Peninsula , which is characterized by the Coromandel Range, which is up to 900 m high and the northern reaches of which is the Great Barrier Island.

The center of the island is dominated by the Volcanic Plateau , whose volcanoes Ngauruhoe , Tongariro and Ruapehu form the Tongariro National Park , declared by UNESCO to be the first combined world heritage and natural heritage . The Ruapehu is with 2797  m the highest point on the island. To the north of it, right in the center of the North Island, lies Lake Taupo , the largest lake in the country. To the east of this are the Kaingaroa Forest and the Te-Urewera National Park , two extensive forest areas that characterize the region up to the east coast. This area is sparsely populated and crossed by numerous low mountain ranges. The highest point is the 1754  m high Hikurangi belonging to the Ruakumara Range near the East Cape . In the west of the central plateau, the landscape turns into a wooded, rough hill country, which is crossed by the Whanganui River and numerous tributaries. In the middle of this lowland lies the Whanganui National Park . Further to the west is the Taranaki region, which protrudes into the Tasman Sea . This is shaped by the 2518  m high Mount Taranaki . Around the free-standing volcano there is a wide rainforest belt, which is protected by the Egmont National Park. The region is very fertile and a center of New Zealand milk production.

South of the region around the Whanganui is the Manawatu Plain , a floodplain area around the Manawatu and Rangitikei rivers . This is followed by the Kapiti Coast , in the south of which lies the Wellington region, the second largest agglomeration of New Zealand around the capital. To the northeast, the region is bounded by the Tararua Range , to the east by the Remutaka Range , two low mountain ranges , to which the Ruahine Range adjoins in the north and which belong to a mountain ridge that runs parallel to the east coast, which in the north also includes those above mentioned Ruakumara Range . To the east of the mountains is the marshy Wairarapa plain, which in turn is bounded by another mountainous area in the east. To the northeast of this region is the Hawke's Bay region around Hawke Bay . Inside, the Kaweka Range can be found in addition to the already mentioned ruins . The rest of the region consists of rolling hills and the floodplain landscape around the Wairoa River in the north and the fertile Heretaunga plain in the south. The Gisborne region, which has already been described, joins in the north .

The South Island, which is slightly larger with 151,215 km², is dominated by the New Zealand Alps , also known as the Southern Alps , which run parallel to the west coast . The highest peak in the mountain range is with 3724  m of Aoraki / Mount Cook is followed by the 3498  m high Mount Tasman . A total of 17 peaks are higher than 3000  m . Both the northernmost and the southernmost areas of the island consist of low mountain ranges , some of which rise to over 1000  m . The West Coast region between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea is extremely narrow and is one of the wettest areas on earth. Because of this, some glaciers in the Southern Alps, such as the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers , push themselves through all vegetation zones into the rainforests near the coast; the extreme southwest forms richly indented fjord landscapes . Large parts of the southwest are protected as national parks; together these form the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area . To the east of the Southern Alps are the Canterbury Plains , a large alluvial plain that is well suited for agricultural purposes such as cattle breeding. From this level, the volcanically shaped Banks Peninsula protrudes into the Pacific Ocean, which is part of the urban area of Christchurch , the largest agglomeration in the South Island and the third largest in the country.


Origin of New Zealand (animated)
Tectonic Map of New Zealand

Until about 200 million years ago, New Zealand - like most of the land masses in the southern hemisphere today - belonged to the primary continent Gondwana . The exact point in time is not certain, but no later than 85 million years ago, i.e. in the Upper Cretaceous Period , the continent fragment Zealandia with today's New Zealand separated from the land mass that now forms Antarctica , before today's Australia also separated from this supercontinent. Since then, a flora and fauna independent of all other land areas has developed in New Zealand . After this eventful period, calm returned to the geological history of the country, the continual erosion caused the mountain ranges that had been formed to gradually disappear, and large, deep swamp areas emerged from which, over time, today's coal deposits emerged . It was only less than 30 million years ago that the calm epoch in the country's geology ended and low-lying areas were lifted out of the sea. The Pacific state only got its coastline in the Miocene epoch in rough shape, before the islands got their present shape in the last few million years; many of the mountains and valleys were not even formed until the last 100,000 years. During the Ice Age , the South Island in particular was heavily glaciated .

Today New Zealand is located on the border between the Australian and Pacific plates . Although the two plates do not move head-on towards each other, they still exert a great influence on the land. There are two forces: one acting on the front and one acting on the side. The frontal force forms faults that exert pressure on various layers of rock and thus steadily raise the ground. The second - laterally acting - force leads to so-called transform disturbances . The latter leads to frequent earthquakes in the country, some of which have serious effects on the landscape and also pose a constant threat to the population (see list of earthquakes in New Zealand ).

New Zealand is one - like all other countries that lie on the border with the Pacific plate - the Pacific Ring of Fire (English Ring of Fire ). This manifests itself in earthquakes, faults and increased volcanic activity. New Zealand is home to some of the most active volcanoes on earth. These are located exclusively in the northern half of the country, most of them are concentrated in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), which is located in the center of the North Island.

Thus, for example, all three volcanoes in the Central Highlands still active, the last eruption of the stratovolcano Ruapehu occurred in 2007. In the area of the Bay of Plenty is the crust thin as almost anywhere else in the world, so that geothermal here activities of any kind are to be found. A well-known volcano in this area is White Island , the last major eruption of which occurred in 2019. In addition to the volcanoes, the forces of the earth manifest themselves in the form of geothermal energy , which emerge as geysers or hot springs (67 in total in New Zealand). In addition to the geothermal area around the city of Taupo , there are 29 other such areas in New Zealand, but mainly on the North Island, such as Northland , the Hauraki Plains and the Bay of Plenty , but also on the South Island, a well-known example are the thermal springs in Hanmer Springs .


Average annual temperatures from 1870 to 2008

New Zealand is located in the moderate latitudes of the southern hemisphere, which is the reason for the relatively mild climate of the islands. The two main islands of the country are roughly divided climatically into two parts by the mountain ranges running through the country in a north-south axis. The prevailing westerly winds bring the western parts of the country a more humid climate and the eastern parts a drier climate.

The northern areas of the North Island are characterized by a more subtropical climate , while the rest of the North Island has a more temperate climate . On the South Island, alpine weather conditions can be found along the New Zealand Alps , with the western flanks of the alpine mountain ranges having numerous rainy days. The weather in the northern part of the South Island can also be regarded as moderate, while the south is rather cool throughout the year. The highlands of Otago in the south of the South Island are an exception. Here there is a local rural climate, with cold, snowy winters and warm, dry summers.

Most of New Zealand can expect 600mm to 1600mm of rainfall throughout the year, with drier periods in summer. The mean annual temperatures range from 10 ° C in the south to 16 ° C in the north. July is the coldest month of the year, while January and February are the warmest. The temperature fluctuations over the year are relatively small. From the coasts to the mountains, the temperature drops by an average of 0.7 ° C per 100 meters of altitude.

In the east, on the leeward side of New Zealand, the sunshine duration is higher than in the rainy western coastal regions, with most regions of the country can expect at least 2000 hours of sunshine per year. The midday UV index in summer is very high in New Zealand, especially in the northern regions and in the mountains. Snowfall in the mountains and in the highlands of Otago can be abundant, but very rare on the coasts.

Vegetation forms

New Zealand has a large number of different vegetation formations for several reasons . On the one hand, over 1,600 km north-south extension are extremely long compared to the relatively small land area of ​​268,680 km². In comparison, Germany is only about 880 km long with a land area of ​​357,000 km². Another important reason for the variety of vegetation forms is the great height differences in New Zealand. For example, while the "big neighbor" Australia covers 28 times the area, its largest elevation, Mount Kosciuszko , is only 2228 m high. In contrast, New Zealand's highest mountain, the Aoraki / Mount Cook , reaches 3724 m. Finally, the uneven distribution of precipitation caused by the location of the mountains also ensures a variety of forms of vegetation.

While almost the entire west coast of the South Island is covered with dense ( endemic ) temperate rainforest, the Southern Alps extend into the alpine vegetation level . The proximity of these completely different plant formations is unusual. For example, in no other place on earth do glaciers come as close to the rainforest as in New Zealand. The most famous glaciers are the Franz Josef , Fox and Tasman glaciers . Intensive agriculture is practiced in the plains, while extensive pasture farming predominates in many other places. To the east of the central plain, the landscape is shaped like a steppe due to the low rainfall . The northern parts of the North Island are in the subtropical climatic zone and are mostly covered with rainforest in less populated places. These are rainforests of the temperate and subtropical zones, which differ significantly in terms of fauna and flora from the rainforests of the tropical zone. A comparable vegetation with often evergreen hardwoods and conifers as well as some tree ferns can be found on the south coast of South Africa , in Tasmania , Chile and along the Pacific coast from California to Canada .


New Zealand has a large number of large and small lakes. The Lake Taupo , located in the central North Island and by the springing in the Central Plateau Tongariro River is fed, is by far the largest lake in the country. With an area of ​​622 km², it is larger than Lake Constance . The lake is the product of a massive eruption by the Taupo super volcano and formed in its caldera . The next largest lakes are all on the South Island and were pushed out by glaciers . The largest of these glacial lakes is Lake Te Anau with an area of ​​344 km², followed by the 80 km long and 291 km² large Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown and the 192 km² large Lake Wanaka . An interesting aspect of this region, known as the Southern Lakes , is that many of the glacial lakes are deeper than their altitude, so the bottom of the individual lakes is below sea level.

New Zealand is also crossed by numerous rivers and streams. The longest river in the country is the Waikato River on the North Island with a length of 425 km, which is fed by Lake Taupo and flows into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato south of Auckland . The Clutha River in the south of New Zealand's South Island is the second longest river in the country at 340 km. It rises from Lake Wanaka and flows into the South Pacific about 75 km south of Dunedin . The third longest river in the country, the 290 km long Whanganui River , is located on the North Island and flows into the Cook Strait at Wanganui .

Flora and fauna

The flora and fauna of New Zealand are among the most extraordinary on earth, as the archipelago has been separated from all other land masses for a very long time and the vegetation has been able to develop in isolation . Similar to Australia - where there were also hardly any large carnivores - the domestic animals and rats introduced by the European colonialists increased invasively and significantly reduced the endemic fauna of the islands as predators and food competitors, so that the original biodiversity is now endangered.

New Zealand has the greatest similarities in the development of flora and fauna with New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island .


Treetops of two kauri trees

About 85% of New Zealand's plant species are endemic . Before the arrival of the Māori , around 80% of the country was covered with forests, but today there are still indigenous forests on a good 24% of the land area, of which around 77% are under protection. Fast-growing, non-native tree species such as the Monterey pine ( Pinus radiata ) and the coastal redwood ( Sequoia sempervirens ) are grown by New Zealand's forestry on around five percent of the country's surface .

Blossom of an ironwood tree (rata)

The two main indigenous forest types in the country on the one hand coniferous forests , such as podocarps ( Podocarpaceae ) or kauri trees ( Araucariaceae composed) and deciduous forests , mainly from illusory beeches ( Nothofagus exist). Most of New Zealand's trees are evergreen. The coniferous forests in particular are shaped by epiphytes such as the North Island ironwood ( Metrosideros robusta ), but also a few species related to European mistletoe live hemiparasitic on southern beeches. There are numerous, mostly endemic, ferns below the dense forest canopy. The most impressive are undoubtedly the tree ferns ( Cyatheales ), which can reach a height of over ten meters. The best-known among the ferns is the ponga or silver fern , it is New Zealand's national plant. Furthermore, different palm species such as the Nikau palm ( Rhopalostylis sapida ) have developed in New Zealand . Finally, the Pohutukawa ( Metrosideros excelsa ), the South Island ironwood ( Metrosideros umbellata ) and the so-called Cabbage Tree ( Cordyline australis ) are particularly noticeable .

About ten percent of the country's area is covered with native open-land vegetation. These include tussock grass landscapes as well as bush and heathland landscapes .

Substantial parts of the native vegetation (about one third of the country's area) are under nature protection and this is largely in national parks , conservation parks and forest parks .


Due to its relative isolation, a unique ecosystem has developed in New Zealand , the most notable feature of which, prior to Polynesian colonization, was the absence of any land mammal , with the exception of three species of bats (the two species of New Zealand bats and Chalinolobus tuberculatus ).

Many of the niches that would normally be occupied by mammals have been occupied by birds . Flightless birds play a particularly important role here. They include the kakapo ( Strigops habroptilus ), the kiwi (Apterygidae), the takahe ( Porphyrio mantelli ), the weka ( Gallirallus australis ) and the extinct moa (Dinornithiformes). The birds were hunted by birds of prey , the largest of which, the Haastadler ( Harpagornis moorei ), had a wingspan of up to three meters and a weight of up to 14 kg. Some of the flightless species are now only found on predator-free islands off the coast of New Zealand. The strong parrot species Kea ( Nestor notabilis ) and Kaka ( Nestor meridionalis ) have fewer problems . In addition, there are numerous birds that fly over the vast expanses of the Pacific to spend parts of the year in New Zealand, such as the western petrel ( Procellaria westlandica ). Even Royal Albatross ( Diomedea epomophora ) and Austral gannets ( Morus serrator ) nest here. The coasts share different penguin species like the Dickschnabelpinguin ( Eudyptes pachyrhynchus ), the Yellow-eyed Penguin ( Megadyptes antipodes ) and the Little Penguin ( Eudyptula minor ) with New Zealand fur seals ( Arctocephalus forsteri ), elephant seals ( Mirounga ) and New Zealand sea lions ( Phocarctos hookeri ). Finally, dolphins and whales can be found off the coast .

The Hector dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) and Maui dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) are endangered species. There are currently 55 Maui dolphins in the shallow coastal waters of New Zealand's west coast - in the 1970s there were around 1500 animals. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Minister of Agriculture had swallows brought in large numbers from Europe to New Zealand. New Zealand is also home to the tuatara ( Sphenodon punctatus ), an ancient species of reptile , the New Zealand primeval frogs (Leiopelmatidae) and the weta (Anostostomatidae), an insect that can be up to ten centimeters long. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world that does not have terrestrial snakes (but there are three types of sea ​​snakes in the surrounding sea). However, almost 60 species of lizards in New Zealand occur, especially skinks of the genus Oligosoma that New Zealand geckos Brown ( Hoplodactylus ) and the Green Geckos ( Naultinus ).

The arrival of the Māori and later also of the Europeans was due to human interference in nature and to intentionally and unintentionally brought animals ( neozoa ), especially rats , but also dogs , cats , hedgehogs , ermines and other weasel species as well as the Australian fox kusu led to two spectacular waves of extinction . The New Zealand government is trying various measures to prevent the endemic species, especially the many different birds, from becoming extinct due to imported animals. On the one hand, neutering , for example of cats, prevents them from reproducing, and on the other, New Zealand is the world leader in the extermination of imported animals and has begun to restore smaller islands off the coast to their pre-colonization state and make them native again Species to settle in order to extend the project to the two main islands in the next stage.

In 1907 three pairs of chamois came to New Zealand as a gift from the Austrian Emperor at the request of the New Zealand Prime Minister Seddon . They were released on the Hooker River near the Aoraki / Mount Cook and are said to have settled in and multiplied by 1909.

environmental issues

According to a 2019 report by the Environment and Statistics Office of New Zealand, the country is exploiting its nature more and more ruthlessly. Agriculture and, gradually, tourism have now endangered entire ecosystems. Numerous species are threatened with extinction, humans are penetrating ever further into previously untouched landscapes. The natural paradise is about to collapse. Rivers and lakes are particularly at risk, 95 percent of all flowing waters in the lowlands are polluted, and the water quality there is so poor that most of them are not allowed to be bathed. In every second river, the contamination with bacteria is five times higher than the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.



New Zealand population pyramid 2016
Population development 1961–2013 (× 1000)

At the 2013 census, New Zealand had 4,242,048 inhabitants. Accordingly, 25.2% of the population were not born in New Zealand. About two thirds of the population growth over the past five years is due to immigration. The population density in 2013 was around 17.5 inhabitants per km² ( Germany : 231 per km²). This makes New Zealand one of the more sparsely populated countries in the world, even if it is many times more densely populated than its neighboring country Australia (2.6 inhabitants per km²). The population is distributed unevenly across the different parts of the country. While only a million people live on the larger South Island and large parts of the country - such as Fiordland  - are virtually uninhabited, around 1.3 million people live in the metropolitan area of Auckland, the largest city in the country, alone . In total, over three million people live on the smaller North Island.

The average age (as of 2016) is 37.8 years. The birth rate is 13.3 per 1000 people (as of 2016), while 7.4 deaths per 1000 people were recorded in the same period. Through immigration , the population grew by a further 2.2 people per 1000 inhabitants. The child mortality rate in 2016 was 4.5 per 1,000 live births, while an average of 2.03 children are born per woman ( fertility rate ). New Zealand was one of the youngest countries in the western world. The life expectancy is at birth at 81.2 years (2016). While men live on average 79.1 years old, women live on average 83.3 years.

With a degree of urbanization of 86.3% in 2016, New Zealand is one of the countries with the highest percentage of urban population in the world. Almost a third (32%) of the country's total population lives in the city of Auckland alone .

Ethnic composition

Most of the population are New Zealanders of European descent, called Pākehā . This ethnic group comes mostly from the British Isles , but also from Germany , Italy , Poland , the Netherlands and numerous other European countries. The immigrants from Bohemia from 1860 to 1876, who settled in Puhoi , Ohaupo and Te Rore on the North Island, represent a special German-speaking group . Overall, New Zealanders of European descent make up about 67.6% of the total population. The second largest population group are the Polynesian indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori , to whom 14.6% of the population feels they belong . Between 1996 and 2006, the proportion of Asians rose to the third largest ethnic group with a total of 9.6%. Chinese form the largest group with 2.8%, followed by Indians with 1.7%. The Asian population overtook the group of people from the Pacific Islands by 2001 , which in 2006 made up about 6.9% of the country's population . Most of the Pacific islanders are from Samoa , followed by the Cook Islands and Tonga . In 2017, 22.7% of the population were migrants. The most common countries of origin were the United Kingdom (270,000 people), the People's Republic of China (100,000), India and Australia (70,000 each). Around 10,000 people born in Germany live in New Zealand.

(Status: 2006 census , note: With these figures it should be noted that in New Zealand it is possible for a person to assign himself to several ethnic groups; in addition, in 2006 the possibility was offered for the first time not to assign himself to any particular ethnic group, which was 11.1% used for themselves. )


New Zealand's largest denominations per district

A comparatively large number of non-denominational people live in New Zealand . At the 2013 census, 55% of the total population admitted to (at least) one religion - including 48.9% Christians - while 42% said they did not belong to any religion. The most common Christian denominations are the Roman Catholic (12.6%), the Anglican (11.8%) and the Presbyterian Church (8.5%); a further 5.5% described themselves as Christians without specifying a particular denomination. The Ringatū Church and the Ratana Movement, which were founded by Māori , also belong to Christianity (1.4%). Other notable religions are Hinduism (2.3%), Buddhism (1.5%) and Islam (1.2%).

While the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches have suffered a decline in membership in recent years (down 21% and 23% respectively between 2001 and 2013), most other religious communities have seen membership increases, mostly due to immigrants. The Catholic Church is already the largest denomination in the major cities of the North Island. The numbers of Hindus and Muslims roughly doubled between 2001 and 2013.

Due to the pronounced proportion of Presbyterians in the south of the South Island, one can still see today that this area was mainly settled by Scottish immigrants. The Catholic majority in some rural districts, for example in Waitakere City, is due to the immigration of Croatians from the Kingdom of Dalmatia . The Italian Catholic community is the largest group within New Zealand's Catholics due to very high levels of immigration.


New Zealand has two official languages : Te Reo Māori and the New Zealand Sign Language . The English language is not an official language, it is simply referred to as the de facto official language, despite the fact that English is spoken by around 96% of the New Zealand population. English is also the language used by official bodies since the beginning of the colonization of New Zealand and in the administration and legal texts. In August 2015, a citizen of the country started a petition aiming to introduce English as the official language in New Zealand. The outcome is still open.

While both Māori and New Zealand sign language are only understood or actively used by a relatively small percentage of the population, New Zealand English is the most important colloquial language. This variety of English is related to Australian English , but differs from it in the fundamentally different emphasis on some vowels and words, so that misunderstandings between speakers of New Zealand and Australian English cannot be ruled out. Other special features of New Zealand English make up words borrowed from the Māori language. Its use is particularly widespread among the Māori people.

Māori (own name: Te Reo Māori ) lost more and more importance until the 1970s, and the number of Māori speakers decreased continuously. On August 1, 1987, Māori was made an official language and since that time, Māori has been taught as an optional subject in more and more schools, both public and private , so that New Zealanders of European descent also have access to this language. Since then, the number of people who speak and understand Māori has increased again , especially in the 3 to 25 age group. According to their own information, a total of 4.2% of the population could speak Māori in 2006 . The New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) has also been the official language since April 10, 2006, making it the world's first language for the deaf to have this status. Although it has been taught in special schools since 1994 and the first dictionary for the language was published in 1998, in 2006 the number of people who spoke sign language was just 0.6%. The number of deaf or hearing impaired people in New Zealand is roughly twice that.

In addition to the three official languages, many other languages ​​are spoken in New Zealand that have been brought into the country by the large number of immigrants, including the six most widely spoken languages ​​in 2013, such as English (96.1%), Māori (3.7 %) %), Samoan (2.2%), Hindi (1.7%), spoken in northern China Chinese including Mandarin (1.3%) and French (1.2%). German is only spoken in significant numbers in the regions of Wellington (fifth most common) and Canterbury (fourth most common).

There are no compulsory foreign language classes in New Zealand, they are taught on demand. The most popular foreign languages ​​since 2015 have been Chinese, followed by French, which was previously the most widely learned foreign language in New Zealand.

Personalities with a German connection

German-speaking personalities in New Zealand

German-speaking people or people of German origin have played a decisive role in shaping the development of New Zealand. In the course of the settlement of New Zealand by Europeans, numerous Germans, Austrians and Swiss reached the other end of the world. The New Zealand Company recruited the emigrants mainly in northern Germany. During the 19th century, people of German descent formed the second largest ethnic group after the British to immigrate to the Pacific state. They settled first in the region around Russell in the north of New Zealand, on the Banks Peninsula (" German Bay ") in the southeast of the country, later also near Nelson in the center of the state. Many place names still bear witness to the time of the early German immigration to New Zealand, e.g. B. "Neudorf", a globally recognized winery north-west of Nelson .

People of German-speaking origin include:

Personalities of German descent


Discovery and settlement by Polynesians

Tāwhiao , second king of the Māori , with Tā moko (around 1890)

New Zealand was discovered by Polynesians towards the end of the 13th century, but no later than the first half of the 14th century , and settled in several waves of immigration. The radiocarbon dating of Pacific rat bones and introduced seeds date the earliest Polynesian arrival to around 1280.

The descendants of the first immigrants founded the Māori culture. The Moriori culture emerged from the settlement of the Chatham Islands east of New Zealand . Whether this settlement came from New Zealand is a matter of dispute, but linguistic similarities are signs of settlement from the mainland. Many of the Māori immigrants - especially on the North Island - gave the country the name Aotearoa , which is generally translated as "land of the long white cloud".

The first Māori to reach the country found no mammals . In order to feed, they first hunted the moa , a flightless bird, remotely similar to the African ostrich , which 90 years later became extinct due to intensive hunting. Likewise, the Haastadler , the largest bird of prey on modern earth, disappeared ; the last of its kind probably died around 1700. The first human settlement by the Māori meant the rapid extermination of numerous animal species on the archipelago. Later, the Māori supplemented their diet by cultivating kumara ( sweet potato ).

Discovery and early settlement by Europeans

A replica of the Endeavor , James Cook's ship

The first European to see New Zealand was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman . His task was to find the "Great Southern Country" because valuable raw materials were suspected there. On his journey in 1642 he discovered a "large, high country" on the South Island, today's West Coast region. He wasn't sure and suspected he might have spotted another stretch of Staten Landt coast . When he wanted to explore the country up close in Golden Bay in what is now the Tasman region , his first bloody encounter with the "natives" took place, in which four Dutch sailors were killed. The "New Zealander explorer" never set foot on New Zealand soil. When an expedition led by Hendrik Brouwer discovered a year later that the coastal strip found by Tasman did not belong to Staten Landt , the country was called Nova Zeelandia ( Latin ) or Nieuw Zeeland ( Dutch ) (like the province of Zeeland ), based on Australia , which had been called Nova Hollandia or Nieuw Holland .

It was not until 1769/70 that expeditions were started again in the waters around the islands called New Zealand . The British captain James Cook , like Tasman, was supposed to find a supposed southern continent. In October 1769, Cook's ship Endeavor, coming from Tahiti, met New Zealand at the southwestern point of the bay called Poverty Bay . After initial hostile encounters, but then also successful approaches with Māori, Cook first circumnavigated the North Island and, after a longer stay in the Marlborough Sounds, the South Island and was thus able to prove that New Zealand was an island and not part of a continent. Cook and the scientists who accompanied him began to map the country thoroughly, they extensively explored flora and fauna and gathered information about the Māori .

Just a few weeks after Cook, Jean François Marie de Surville also reached the islands. In the following years, especially whalers , sealers and later missionaries immigrated to New Zealand. These cultivated strong contacts with the Māori . The two parties traded well with each other, and some Europeans even lived with the Māori .

The birth of the nation

The flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand

The in barter transactions by Europeans through the Māori acquired since the end of the 18th century firearms favored violent clashes that from 1829 to 1835 in the Musketenkriegen (English: Musket Wars ) culminated, in which numerous tribes fought and - estimated to government - about 20,000 people died. The diseases brought in by Europeans, against whose pathogens the Māori were not resistant, decimated their numbers lastingly. In the 1820s there were also the first armed clashes between Māori and whites. In 1832 the British government sent the envoy James Busby to New Zealand and made him a resident . He was supposed to monitor and control British trade and mediate between quarreling whites and Māori , but he was largely on his own. After a New Zealand merchant ship was confiscated in Sydney Harbor due to the lack of a symbol of origin and was also not allowed to sail under the British flag, since New Zealand was not yet part of Great Britain, several dozen Māori leaders selected an official flag under his supervision on March 20, 1834 , which later became the official flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand (German: United Tribes of New Zealand) . Since there was still no legislation in New Zealand and the fear arose that France could found its own colony on the Banks Peninsula , Busby drafted a treaty that was signed by over 30 Māori leaders on October 28, 1835  and as a declaration of independence for New Zealand and thus went down in history as the foundation of the "United Tribes".

The Treaty of Waitangi is the oldest constitutional document of New Zealand

However, the country's sovereignty came to an abrupt end just a few years later. At that time, there were actually efforts in France to found a colony on the south island of the country , which the British crown wanted to prevent at all costs. Since the "United Tribes" were found to be too weak to defend their interests themselves, the country was officially annexed by the British Empire in January 1840 . In order to declare the procedure to be lawful, the then Governor General William Hobson hurried to assemble numerous Māori chiefs near the town of Waitangi so that they could sign the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6 of the same year . This document is considered to be the "hour of birth" of modern New Zealand; the treaty linked the country to the British Crown . At the same time, the Māori gave up their sovereignty and were granted civil rights in return. They were allowed to keep the lands that were in their possession prior to the signing of the treaty. In 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal was finally set up, which settles disagreements and breaches of contract and also advocates redress.

Colonization by France only narrowly failed on the South Island of New Zealand. In 1840 Jean Langlois set out for the Banks Peninsula to take possession of it for France. When the plan became known, the British sent an expedition to secure the peninsula for the Crown. Langlois was the first to reach the waters off today's Akaroa , but was unable to go ashore because of adverse winds. When the weather allowed the landing, he had to realize that the British had gotten ahead of him. The French settlers were nevertheless allowed to settle in Akaroa , which is also visible today in the French street names.

Colonial times

Major Gustav von Tempsky's death in 1868 during the
New Zealand Wars

The New Zealand Company, founded in 1839, recruited new immigrants . They built numerous cities and villages and settled large parts of the country. They often lived as farmers in peace with the Māori and cultivated the countryside. But as more and more immigrants reached the country and ever larger areas of land were needed, there were disputes between settlers and Māori . Over time, the grievances grew, and so it finally came to open armed conflict, which in Northland grew into a military conflict as early as 1840. By 1860, what went down in history as the New Zealand Wars had spread across the country. After these disputes, the Māori number was only 44,000 in 1891, compared to over 120,000 before 1820.

After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, New Zealand was administered as part of New South Wales until the country became a colony on May 31, 1841. The Europeans settled almost the entire country in the following decades and founded a total of nine provinces.

In 1861, large gold deposits were discovered on the South Island , which led to the gold rush in Otago . In order to prevent separatist movements on the emerging South Island , the capital, originally located in Russell , was relocated from Auckland in the far north to Wellington in the middle of the country.

Even before the turn of the century, New Zealand was setting standards in dealing with previously disadvantaged groups of people, which at the time seemed impossible for the rest of the world. When the country had been governing itself relatively independently since 1852 due to the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 , from 1867 the male Māori also got the right to vote and seats in parliament. On September 8, 1893, the law giving New Zealanders of British citizenship 21 and older women the right to vote was passed with a majority of two votes. Maori women were included. On September 19th, the Governor Lord Glasgow signed it , which brought the law into effect. However, some groups of women were still excluded; as in some other states, this included prison inmates and women in psychiatric hospitals.

Modern New Zealand

New Zealand soldiers in World War I at the front in Belgium , 1917

The country decided not to join the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 and remained a colony until 1907 when New Zealand was given Dominion status and consequently became almost independent from Great Britain. Throughout the entire colonial period up to the present day, the country has proven to be a particularly loyal ally of Great Britain. New Zealand sent troops for the Second Boer War , the First and Second World Wars and the Suez Crisis .

The question of when New Zealand became an independent state is not easy to answer, as the country has no written constitution according to Anglo-Saxon tradition. In addition to 1840 (Treaty of Waitangi) and 1907 (formation of the Dominion), there are other points in time on New Zealand's road to independence: In 1931 the British government issued the Statute of Westminster Act , which gave the Dominions the opportunity to gain independence. In 1947, the New Zealand Parliament accepted the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, the complete sovereignty offered by membership in the Commonwealth of Nations . On December 25, 1947, the law was signed by the British Crown. On the other hand, New Zealand did not adopt a constitution approved by the New Zealand parliament until 1986, until then the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 , which was passed by the British parliament, was in force .

The passive right to vote for women in the House of Commons elections was not achieved until October 29, 1919 with the Women's Parliamentary Rights Act . It was not until 1941 that women gained the right to stand for election to the House of Lords .

The world economic crisis that began on Black Friday 1929 hit the economically dependent country very hard and led to the formation of the first government by the Labor Party , which established the New Zealand welfare state and largely controlled commercial traffic. This policy was successfully practiced for decades until changed conditions led to another radical change of course. As early as the late 1960s, the country's highly subsidized state and economy were weakening and largely collapsed when Great Britain joined the EC . The proven close economic ties to the former motherland suddenly no longer existed. The country suffered from high inflation rates , excessive bureaucracy and excessive government spending. Only a radical liberalization begun by the Labor government under David Lange in 1984 and continued under his conservative successors brought about a turning point in the longer term, with unemployment causing the most protracted problems. But by the mid-1990s, the upswing had catapulted the whole country to the top of the industrialized nations. Since the Labor Party under Helen Clark came to power in 1999, this economic policy has been partially revised again, privatized state-owned companies have been bought back and social balance, especially between the economic center of Auckland and the rural area, has come to the fore again.

In 1951, the three states Australia , the USA and New Zealand allied themselves to form the ANZUS Security Pact in order to be able to jointly prevent future conflicts in view of the Second World War, which had just passed. Due to differences over New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy, the US suspended the pact in 1984. In connection with the resistance to the French nuclear weapons program in French Polynesia , the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior was sunk in the port of Auckland in 1985 by French secret agents . Two years later, New Zealand declared itself a nuclear-free zone .

38th Prime Minister John Key and former Prime Minister and former head of UNDP Helen Clark

The language and culture of the indigenous people, the Māori , who were socially marginalized until the 1970s , are particularly promoted today - in stark contrast to the politics of neighboring Australia; There is radio, television and newspapers in the Māori language, the members of the parliamentary seats reserved for the Māori are elected in separate constituencies, and the traditional Māori culture is also marketed to tourists.

In 2014, the removal of the Union Jack as a former colonial symbol from the state flag was discussed. In 2016, citizens were called upon to vote on whether to keep it or to redesign it. In March 2016, the decision ultimately resulted in the old national flag being retained.


State organization

The Beehive ( Beehive ) in Wellington , home to the Prime Minister , the Minister of the Cabinet and of meeting of the Cabinet; on the right the parliament building

New Zealand is an independent parliamentary monarchy based on the British model, but has only one chamber, so there is no upper house. As one of three states in the world, besides the United Kingdom and Israel, it does not have a codified constitution. Under the Constitution Act 1986 , the monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is head of state in his office as King or Queen of New Zealand . As in any Commonwealth Realm, a governor general represents the head of state, but he cannot exercise power over parliament. The seat of government and parliament is Wellington . In the democracy index of the Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, New Zealand ranks 4th out of 167 countries in 2019, which means it is considered a "complete democracy".

  • Executive - the head of government is the prime minister . The cabinet, which consists of 20 people, is headed by the Prime Minister. All cabinet members must also be members of parliament.
  • Legislature - Parliament is usually made up of 120 members who are elected every three years; however, over 120 members can move into parliament through overhang mandates (2005: one overhang mandate). A small number of currently seven seats in parliament are reserved for Māori members . Since 1996, voting has been based on personalized proportional representation, which replaced the majority voting system previously applied based on the British model.
  • Judiciary - The judiciary in New Zealand is exercised by the Supreme Court as the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the Court of Appeal as the appeals court and the High Court , as well as by numerous regional courts, the District Courts . Furthermore, there are certain negotiations special dishes, such as the Youth Court ( Juvenile Court ,) a court for Māori -Ask as Māori land court known or the Family Court, the Family Court is called. There are also other special jurisdictions, such as the Waitangi Tribunal .
New Zealand law is based on three important pillars: the English common law , a great many laws passed in the United Kingdom, for example the Bill of Rights of 1689, and all resolutions of the New Zealand parliament. The most part of the common law -based common law is almost always the same as in the UK applied, also because the Supreme Court by the year 2004, when the Supreme Court of New Zealand in Wellington began its work, the court of the Privy Council in London was .

Party system

Before political parties were formed, there were only single candidates to vote in the New Zealand parliament. In the last decades of the 19th century, increasingly stronger, loose interest groups formed, which at the beginning mostly came together according to the geographical origin of the candidates, but later based on their political attitudes -  conservatism or liberalism  . In general, by is John Ballance founded and later by Richard Seddon embossed Liberal Party considered the first real political party in New Zealand. It provided the government majority from 1890 to 1912. From 1903 onwards, numerous parliamentarians began to unite to form a conservative alternative movement, which had been officially known as the Reform Party since 1909 and which was to differ significantly from the liberal party. With the amalgamation of numerous socialist groups to form the Labor Party in 1916, the decline of the liberal party began, which in the following elections no longer had any support from the working class and finally also to its second electoral base, business people and employers who were concerned about the rise of the Social Democratic Party were concerned and had to do without the Reform Party with its "anti-socialism" program. The latter political association was in power until 1928, when it was replaced by an alliance of the Labor Party and the United Party , the successor to the Liberal Party . When the Labor Party was able to form government in 1935 without a coalition partner, the United and Reform Party merged to form the conservative National Party , which was the Labor Party's largest and only competitor in the second half of the 20th century . Numerous smaller parties were founded in the early 1990s, the best known being the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (1990), Alliance (1991) and New Zealand First (1993). Due to the majority voting right, they were only able to win a few parliamentary seats despite large shares of the vote. Only after the change in the electoral system in 1993 and the associated introduction of personalized proportional representation for the elections of the House of Representatives in 1996 were smaller parties in a position to have a greater say in the country's politics.

After the 2005 elections, the Labor Party under its chairman Helen Clark and the National Party under its chairman John Key continue to dominate the New Zealand party landscape and regularly compete head-to-head in elections, but there are still two parties Six others are represented in the House of Representatives: the right-wing, nationalist and often described as populist party New Zealand First , the left-wing, green Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand , the Māori Party founded in 2004 by former Labor cabinet member Tariana Turia , which campaigns in particular for the interests which installs Māori , the Christian Democratic center-right party United Future , the economically liberal ACT New Zealand and the democratic-socialist Jim Anderton's Progressive (a split from the social-democratic Alliance ).

Political development

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ( Labor Party )

The center-left coalition of Prime Minister Helen Clark , who has been in office since 1999, was replaced in the election on November 8, 2008 by a coalition led by the National Party . The new Prime Minister John Key took office on November 19, 2008. His government was supported by the Māori Party , Act New Zealand and the United Future New Zealand . The Labor Party became the largest opposition party . On November 26, 2011, the ruling National Party under John Key was able to expand its leadership with 47.31% of the votes cast, and with 59 seats just missed the absolute majority in the House of Representatives . On December 5, 2016, Key announced his resignation for private reasons, and was succeeded by party colleague Bill English on December 12, 2016 . In the general election on September 23, 2017 , the National Party was again the strongest force, but the government came about through a coalition of the Labor Party with New Zealand First , which was tolerated by the Green Party . The new Prime Minister has been Jacinda Ardern since October 26, 2017 . Among other things, New Zealand was the first nation in the world to adopt a wellbeing budget that takes into account not only economic but also social and ecological indicators of wellbeing .

Election results
Political party 2017 2014 2011
Seats voting
Seats voting
National Party 44.4% 56 47.0% 60 47.3% 59
Labor Party 36.9% 46 25.1% 32 27.5% 34
Green party 6.3% 8th 10.7% 14th 11.0% 14th
New Zealand First 7.2% 9 8.7% 11 6.6% 8th
Māori party 1.2% - 1.3% 2 1.4% 3
ACT New Zealand 0.5% 1 0.7% 1 1.1% 1
Mana 0.1% - - - 1.0% 1
United Future New Zealand 0.1% - 0.2% 1 0.6% 1
The Opportunities Party (TOP) 2.4% - - - - -
Aotearoa Legalize Cannabis Party 0.3% - - - - -

Heads of State of New Zealand

Heads of state
Reign Surname dynasty Life dates
1837-1901 Victoria Hanover 1819-1901
1901-1910 Edward VII Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 1841-1910
1910-1936 George V. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha / Windsor * 1865-1936
1936 Edward VIII Windsor 1894-1972
1936-1952 George VI. Windsor 1895-1952
since 1952 Elizabeth II Windsor * 1926

* In 1917, the then King George V renamed his house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in order to separate the British royal house from the German Empire, which was hostile in the First World War.

The head of state is represented by the governor general of New Zealand , who is considered the de facto head of state in everyday politics.

Security and Foreign Policy

New Zealand Army soldiers on a training exercise

The approximately 12,000 employees of the New Zealand police are responsible for the internal security of the country . As a rule, patrolmen do not carry firearms, as in mainland Great Britain. By default, however, the members of the so-called Armed Offenders Squads are armed . These consist of a total of around 300 officers who are spread over 17 units and are most comparable to the German special operations commandos.

The New Zealand Defense Force is divided into three armed forces: the naval forces ( Royal New Zealand Navy ), the air forces ( Royal New Zealand Air Force ) and the land forces ( New Zealand Army ), which consists of 4,500 regular soldiers and 2,500 others Employees exist. In terms of foreign policy, New Zealand has distinguished itself through its regular participation in wars on the part of Great Britain. New Zealand took part in the Boer War , the First and Second World Wars , the Korean War , the Vietnam War , the Second Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan . New Zealand also provided troops for various peace missions , for example in Cyprus , Somalia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Sinai , Angola , Cambodia , on the Iranian - Iraqi border and in East Timor . New Zealand spent around 1.2 percent of its economic output on its armed forces in 2018.

The military defense alliance ANZUS with the USA and Australia was temporarily suspended because of New Zealand's strict anti-nuclear policy, under which the country also campaigned against the French nuclear tests in the South Pacific . New Zealand is considered one of the United States' most loyal allies outside of NATO.

New Zealand is a founding member of the United Nations and the Commonwealth . Furthermore, it is since its founding on February 6, 1947 Member of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community , the organizations of the World Bank Group (except MIGA ), since the establishment in 1966 of the Asian Development Bank , since its establishment on 17 April 1973 of the Pacific Islands Forum since the OECD on May 29, 1973 , the Pacific Council for Economic Cooperation since the establishment in 1980 , the APEC since the establishment in 1989 and the World Trade Organization since January 1, 1995 .

Immigration policy

New Zealand currently accepts around 45,000 immigrants per year. The country's immigration system works according to a point table, which relates not only to a candidate's schooling, but also to previous occupations.

Administrative division

New Zealand districts and regions map

New Zealand is organized centrally and has had a three-tier administrative structure since the great administrative reform of 1989. Below the national administrative organizations are the Regional Councils for the administration of the regions of New Zealand and, at the lowest level, the City Councils for the administration of the major cities in the country , the District Councils for the districts of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands Council for the Chatham Islands .

Based on this structure, the country has had 78 local councils since 2010 , which are:

  • 11 Regional Councils
  • 12 City Councils (larger cities)
  • 54 District Councils
  • 1 Auckland Council , (since November 1, 2010, merger of 8 previous City Councils)

subdivide and report directly to the Department of Internal Affairs . Their roles and responsibilities were regulated by the Local Government Act 2002.

The Auckland Council , District Councils and City Councils are known as Territorial Authorities (TA) because they each operate independently in their area and their borders do not overlap. According to the division of tasks, they also act independently of the regional councils , so it also happens that a district can overlap with parts of several regions.

The Auckland Council and four of the District Councils , Gisborne , Nelson , Tasman and Marlborough also serve as regional councils . They are called unit authorities (central administrations). Numerous smaller outer areas of the country, such as the Kermadec Islands and the Sub-Antarctic Islands belonging to New Zealand, are administratively directly subordinate to the Minister of Local Government .

The councils of all local authorities are re-elected every three years and can be elected either by majority voting or by a transferable individual vote.


New Zealand is divided into 16 regions, five of which are organized as unitary authorities . While the Regional Councils perform purely regional tasks, the Unitary Authorities also have to take on the tasks of the respective local level.

The Regional Councils are responsible for:


At the lowest level of the administrative structure there are 54 District Councils and the Chatham Islands Council . As Territorial Authorities, they are responsible for the areas of local infrastructure, road and path construction , sewerage , building permits , health, environmental protection , disaster control and other local matters.

Cities and metropolitan areas

At the lowest level of the administrative structure, in addition to the Auckland Council, there are twelve other City Councils , which, as Territorial Authorities, fulfill the same tasks as the District Councils .

Since November 1, 2010, the former City Councils of the cities of Auckland City , Manukau City , North Shore City and Waitakere City , the District Councils of the Franklin District , Papakura District , Rodney District and the Regional Council of the Auckland Region have been dissolved and become the new one Administrative unit of the Auckland Council (1,415,550 inhabitants) (2013) has been combined. This new administrative structure thus covers the entire greater Auckland area.

Furthermore, twelve cities in the state are administratively independent and are therefore not subordinate to any district administration. On the North Island these are in alphabetical order Hamilton City (141,612 inhabitants), Hutt City (98,238 inhabitants), Napier City (57,240 inhabitants), Palmerston North City (80,079 inhabitants), Porirua City (51,717 inhabitants), Tauranga City (114,789 inhabitants), Upper Hutt City (population 40,179) and Wellington City (population 190,959). On the South Island, these include the cities of Christchurch City (341,469 residents), Dunedin City (120,249 residents), Invercargill City (51,696 residents) and Nelson City (46,437 residents).

All other cities can be viewed geographically as cities, but are administratively not autonomous as they are subordinate to the district in which they are located.


In view of the thin population, New Zealand is very well developed in terms of transport. Due to its isolated island location, coastal shipping, air traffic and road traffic are the most important modes of transport.

In 2018, New Zealand was ranked 15th out of 160 countries in the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of infrastructure.

Air traffic

New Zealand is one of the countries with the most airports per capita. In 2002 there were 113 paved and unpaved airfields in the country. The Auckland Airport , with over eleven million passengers per year, by far the largest airport in the country. This is followed by the international airports of Christchurch and Wellington , each handling around four million passengers a year. Air New Zealand , founded in 1940, is by far the country's most important airline . Pacific Blue , a subsidiary of Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue ), specializes in cheap connections between New Zealand and Australia.

Road traffic

A stretch of Highway 6 near Nelson

The era of New Zealand road construction began during the New Zealand Wars with the Great South Road south of Auckland in 1861. Road traffic is now the country's most important means of transport. It has a clearly higher priority than rail traffic. The backbone of the road network are the New Zealand State Highways , through which the country is largely developed. Apart from about 150 km of motorways , which are close to the three major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, even the major highways consist of no more than two lanes. The state highways are not free of heights (i.e. crossings are not always designed as overpasses or underpasses) and lead through towns, parts of the highways with little traffic are even only gravel roads, and single-lane sections can be found again and again, especially over bridges. In 2013, the entire road network covered around 93,870 km, of which 75,754 km were paved. New Zealand's traffic rules are set out in the New Zealand Road Code . Accordingly, left-hand traffic applies , in urban areas a maximum speed of 50 km / h and out of town usually 100 km / h.


A ferry on the Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton

Shipping in New Zealand is important for both the transportation of people and goods. The most important shipping line for passenger transport is the Interislander , a ferry connection that connects the North Island ( Wellington ) with the South Island ( Picton ) and transports around one million people per year. On her three-hour drive, she crosses the Cook Strait, which is only 35 km wide . (This time is needed because the ship not only has to cross the Cook Strait, but also the Tory Channel and the Marlborough Sounds , a total of around 70 km.) There are 1609 km of inland waterways in New Zealand, but these are no longer relevant today .

New Zealand has eight larger ports with a capacity of more than two million tons each and six ports with less than two million tons each. 99% of the exports, valued at around NZ $ 36 billion per year, will go through all ports.

Rail transport

In the second half of the 19th century, the construction of an extensive railway network began on a large scale. In addition to the three main routes (on the North Island: North Island Main Trunk and East Coast Main Trunk ; on the South Island: South Island Main Trunk ) numerous private and public branch lines were built, which were administered by the New Zealand Railways Department . At the beginning of the 20th century, tram companies were established in many of the country's larger cities , of which only the one in Christchurch remains as a tourist attraction.

The Dunedin Railway Station in the South Island

Steam locomotives were mostly in use until the 1950s , and there were also some electrified sections. Branch lines were gradually closed, double-track lines were dismantled to single-track lines, existing electrification was removed and passenger connections were discontinued. Of the 3900 kilometers of the route , around 500 kilometers have been electrified along the North Island Main Trunk since the economic policy known as “ Think Big ” in the 1980s .

After the New Zealand State Railroad was sold in 1993 for NZ $ 400 million (approx. € 202 million), the operating company Tranz Rail invested less and less in maintaining the rail network and gradually shifted the transport of goods from rail to road. In addition, numerous personal connections were set between 1995 and 2004 for economic reasons, including the Southerner . When the company was on the verge of financial ruin, the Australian infrastructure company Toll Holdings took over the railway operations, which have since been grouped under the name Toll Rail , while the New Zealand state bought back the entire route network in 2004 for the symbolic price of one New Zealand dollar and it placed under the management of the state-owned company Ontrack . Because the New Zealand government and Toll Rail could not agree on usage fees for the nationalized track systems, and the state had to pay several million New Zealand dollars every year to maintain the network, the government decided to stop rail operations on July 1, 2008 for NZ $ 665 million (approx. € 336 million) to be bought back from Toll Rail.

Despite these changes, there were only four long-distance passenger transport connections in 2008, which are mainly of tourist importance and operate under the name Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys : the Northern Explorer runs from Auckland to Wellington, the Coastal Pacific from Picton to Christchurch and the TranzAlpine crosses the New Zealand Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth . The connection from Palmerston North to Wellington, known as the Capital Connection , is primarily intended for commuters. There are also a few other operators, such as the Taieri Gorge Railway in the Dunedin area , who specialize in tourist excursions in historic wagons or on historic routes. The importance of rail transport for freight transport has increased again in recent years. Almost the entire route network was built in the Cape Gauge , i.e. with a gauge of 1067 mm.

In the two largest metropolitan areas, Auckland and Wellington, there are S-Bahn -like local transport networks, although the system in Wellington is better developed and is the only suburban railway in the country to be electrified. Significant improvements for Auckland were planned. This should be fully electrified by 2013, a double-track tunnel ( CBD Loop Tunnel ) running under the city center should be built and the airport should be better connected to the system. The start of construction for the tunnel, also known as City Rail Link , is currently planned for 2018.

Education System

The Ministry of Education , which has only existed since 1989, is responsible for the education system in New Zealand . In the future, the central administration of schools and universities should be relaxed, and these should increasingly administer themselves. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) oversees all tertiary educational institutions .

University of Otago at Dunedin
University of Waikato at Hamilton

Raising children up to the age of five is private. Nevertheless, 90% of the three-year-olds and 98% of the four year old visit a pre-school education institution, such as (for example, nursery schools , kindergarten ) or play time ( play groups ). From the age of five year, the child can be a primary school ( primary school visit). School attendance is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age. The education in primary school usually takes place from year 1 to year 8, whereby the seventh and eighth year can alternatively also be completed in an intermediate school . From the ninth grade you will be at a secondary school ( secondary school teaching). With completion of the eleventh grade, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement Level 1 (NCEA) can be obtained according to a point system, which roughly corresponds to the British GCSE (or the German secondary school leaving certificate ). In the following year one can acquire level 2 of this degree. At the end of the 13th year of school, usually around the age of 18, one can finally obtain the highest school qualification, Level 3 of the NCEA (or the New Zealand Scholarship qualification , as the qualification has been called since 2004). This corresponds to the German Abitur or the British A Level . A school year in New Zealand usually starts in late January and lasts until mid-December, and is divided into four quarters. Depending on the region, the class size varies from 19 to 24 students (2004).

In the PISA studies of the OECD , the great cultural similarities between New Zealand and Australia shows that the same tasks fall to students in both countries easy or difficult. Critics point out that for New Zealand's good performance (regularly in the top quarter of the OECD rankings), in addition to a selective immigration policy, the students' familiarity with the multiple-choice format, the origin of many tasks from English-speaking countries and the formulation of all tasks through an Australian test company .

In New Zealand, there are 36 tertiary education institutions, including eight state universities ( universities ), 21 state colleges ( polytechnics ) and technical colleges ( institute of technology ), four teacher training colleges ( colleges of education ) and three Wananga (colleges that of the culture Māori are aligned). An academic year in New Zealand runs from February to November and is usually divided into two semesters . Some educational institutions also offer a summer trimester ( summer trimester on). The oldest university in New Zealand is the University of Otago, founded in 1869 . The University of Waikato is worth mentioning because of its worldwide unique faculty for Māori sciences. From 1870 to 1961, the University of New Zealand was the only university in the country that led to an official degree. After its dissolution, today's universities emerged from the individual campuses ( constituent colleges ).


The official currency of the country is the New Zealand dollar (also "Kiwi dollar"; NZD, NZ $), which is divided into 100 cents (ct). This replaced the British pound sterling in 1967 . Since then New Zealand has used units in the decimal system . Since 1999, after the Australian dollar , the kiwi dollar has been the second currency in the world to use plastic money; all bills are made of polypropylene . In August 2006, smaller coins were introduced due to rising material costs and the risk of confusion; The 50 cent coin that was valid until then, for example, was one of the largest coins on earth with a diameter of 3.2 centimeters.

Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and an important economic metropolis

Economic development

Up until the first half of the 20th century, New Zealand was an agricultural state with most of the population working in the primary sector . By far the most important trading partner was the United Kingdom , to which around half of the mostly agricultural goods produced in New Zealand were exported. At the beginning of the 20th century, the importance of dairy farming increased significantly due to increasing demand in Europe. In order to meet the demand, it was necessary to introduce new technologies, which greatly changed the New Zealand economy. In 1973 the country plunged into a deep economic crisis due to the steep rise in oil prices and the accession of Great Britain to the EU , on which New Zealand was economically dependent . It was only in 1984 that the government took major countermeasures.

From that point on, New Zealand developed from a managed economy with an emphasis on agriculture to a liberalized industrial nation with a free market that can compete with other western nations and is one of the most deregulated and privatized economies in the world. The country cut numerous subsidies , for example almost all of the agricultural subsidies , and the entire trade in goods was liberalized and the state's right to have a say in wages, interest rates and the prices of goods and services was given up. Through an economical fiscal policy and great efforts to reduce the budget deficit , the inflation rate could be reduced from 18% in 1987 to 3.9% in 2005. In addition, almost all state-owned companies were restructured and privatized in the 1980s and 1990s . An example of this is the entire train service, which was operated by Tranz Rail from 1995 to 2008 (due to the poor condition of the tracks and stations, the rail system was renationalized again in 2004, and since 2008 the rest of the rail operations have been in state hands again), or the New Zealand Telecom. As a result of various measures, the unemployment rate rose to 15% in the short term, but at the end of 2004 it was only 3.6%, the lowest value within the OECD . The inflation rate was 2.4%, the economic growth from July 2003 to June 2004 was 4.4%. One of the reasons that dampen economic growth are infrastructural deficits (rail transport, energy supply). After the power grid collapsed for 66 days in the north of the country in 1998, former state-owned companies were gradually nationalized again, including the bankrupt airline Air New Zealand in 2001. The government also decided in 2008 to buy back the railway, which had been privatized in 1993, from the Australian company Toll Holdings to improve the transport network for the equivalent of € 336 million .

A major earthquake devastated parts of Christchurch city in February 2011, and as a result, New Zealand's economic activity slowed significantly during the year. Some economists are even predicting a 15 percent contraction of the country's economy in 2011, which led to a downgrade in New Zealand's international credit rating at the end of September 2011.

The New Zealand economy has been booming since 2013 despite the global financial crisis, earthquake and drought: total GDP in 2013 amounts to NZ $ 181.1 billion, the estimated growth for 2013 is 2.7%. The unemployment rate was 4.7% in 2017. In the same year, 6.6% of all workers worked in agriculture, 20.7% in industry and 72.7% in the service sector.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, New Zealand ranks 13th out of 138 countries (2017-2018). In the index for economic freedom, the country ranks third out of 180 countries in 2018. New Zealand is one of the most liberal economies in the world. New Zealand's 1st place in the Ease of Doing Business Index in the World Bank 's 2017 survey year also confirms the good business climate for companies in the country.

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the world (as of 2017).

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
114.13 billion 120.86 billion 129.00 billion 131.00 billion 132.42 billion 136.72 billion 142.15 billion 148.46 billion 154.16 billion 161.90 billion 170.49 billion 179.81 billion 188.60 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
27,427 28,714 30,382 30,604 30,567 31,258 32,311 33,543 34,443 35,546 36,681 37,877 38,934
GDP growth
2.6% 2.7% 4.0% −0.4% 0.3% 2.0% 1.9% 2.5% 2.2% 3.2% 4.2% 4.2% 3.0%
(in percent)
3.0% 3.4% 2.4% 3.9% 2.2% 2.3% 4.1% 1.0% 1.1% 1.2% 0.3% 0.6% 1.9%
Unemployment rate
(in percent)
3.8% 3.9% 3.6% 4.0% 5.8% 6.2% 6.0% 6.4% 5.8% 5.4% 5.4% 5.1% 4.7%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
18% 16% 14% 16% 21% 26% 31% 31% 30% 29% 28% 28% 26%

Natural resources

New Zealand is relatively poor in natural resources. The only metals that are mined are iron sand , gold and silver . Although the country also has bauxite , copper , chromite ironstone , cinnabarite , cassiterite , ilmenite , scheelite and uranium deposits , these are not or no longer mined, either because the deposits are too small or because imports are cheaper . In terms of fossil fuels, New Zealand has brown and hard coal deposits , on the North Island mainly hard coal, the South Island has both forms. In total, the country has 8.6 billion tons of lignite, about a third of which is in existing mines, mainly on the South Island. Lignite represents more than three quarters of the total resources. The most important oil and gas fields are in the Taranaki Basin in the Tasman Sea near the city of New Plymouth . About half of the natural gas goes into the petrochemical sector and is used, for example, to produce synthetic gasoline, a quarter is used to generate energy, and the rest goes to private households and companies. In addition, clay minerals and limestone are extracted.


Agricultural fields in Marlborough
Sheep still play a big role in agriculture.

Since the beginning of European settlement, agriculture in the form of sheep breeding on extensively managed ranches has been an important pillar of New Zealand society. At first, sheep served exclusively as a supplier of wool, and since the 1880s, when export by refrigerated ship became possible, also as a meat supplier. In the meantime, New Zealand had experienced an economic crisis in the second half of the 19th century due to falling wool prices. Nevertheless, agriculture remained the most important branch of the economy for a long time.

The number of sheep is currently declining, in 2008 there were about 33.9 million, in 2009 only 32.4 million. The cattle breeding has become an important area, the number of animals increases. In 2008 New Zealand had 5.3 million dairy cows and 90% of its dairy products are exported, making New Zealand the world's largest exporter of dairy products for a long time. The beef production in New Zealand is also a world leader, about four million beef cattle currently live on the islands.

In addition to animal husbandry, fruit and vegetable growing also play a major role in New Zealand's agriculture. During the 20th century, the cultivation of four cultivated plants began in New Zealand, which were brought onto the world market with varying degrees of success: macadamia plants , blueberry and kiwi bushes and avocado trees . Among them, the kiwi fruit was undoubtedly the most successful. The plant, which originally came from China , has also been grown on a large scale in other parts of the world since the 1980s. Today (2008) Italy is the largest producer of the kiwi fruit and pushed New Zealand into third place after the People's Republic of China . The most important trading partner for dairy products, fruits and fruits was Great Britain despite the great distances . Much of the deforested areas are used as grazing land.


Tourism is also of particular importance to the New Zealand economy . According to official figures from the New Zealand Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourists spent over NZ $ 6.1 billion in the country in 2002. According to estimates by the New Zealand government, one in ten jobs in the country depends directly or indirectly on tourism.

Part of the Hooker Valley Track in Mount Cook National Park (New Zealand)

New Zealand tourism is based on the diversity of the landscapes - coasts, lakes and fjords, high mountains and glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs - the lush and strange vegetation in the bush and tussockgrass country, the national parks on the North and South Island, in the forest areas as well as in the high mountains, the well-developed infrastructure and the open-minded residents of New Zealand.

New Zealand has more than two million tourists a year and is often referred to as a clean, green adventure playground . Until a few years ago, the average New Zealand vacationer was a backpacker or bungee jumper. Although adventure tourism still plays an extremely important role, the New Zealand travel industry has for some time increased its efforts to attract high-budget short breaks who see themselves as "interactive travelers". The days of European adventure tourists are not numbered, but there is a clear trend towards a “luxurious New Zealand”. To date, Qualmark, New Zealand's official accommodation rating service, has awarded over 160 hotels with five stars. However, this development is being criticized more and more by adventure holidaymakers and backpackers, as the country is said to be increasingly becoming a package holiday destination. Although it is not to be expected that tourism in New Zealand will decrease in the next few years, significantly fewer adventure holidaymakers will likely visit the country in a few years.

Cruise ship and ferry in Wellington Harbor

The New Zealand government issues a “Working Holiday Scheme Visa” for many citizens of Western countries, which in Germany is often called a work and travel visa. With this visa , travelers (between 18 and 30 years of age) are entitled to stay and work in the country for up to twelve months. Such a visa is used by a great many Europeans and North Americans to undertake a journey of several months through the country and in between to supplement their travel budget with jobs such as harvest workers.

Tourists, business travelers and visitors from the European Union with a valid passport could stay in the country for up to three months without an explicit visa; However, since October 2019 this tourism has been regulated with entry fees , which are levied with the now mandatory electronic visa application NZeTA . A visitor visa can stay for up to nine months . However, re-entry is only permitted after a waiting period equal to the amount of the last length of stay.

Most tourists arrive at the international airports in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. The most popular travel destinations are Rotorua , Waitomo Caves , Coromandel Peninsula , Fjordland with Milford Sound , Queenstown , Auckland , the Bay of Islands , Dunedin and the Hawke's Bay region .

Foreign trade

After Britain joined the EU and the demand for agricultural products decreased, New Zealand had to look for new markets. Australia , the PR China , Japan and the East Asian tiger states are now the country's most important trading partners. The economic crisis in East Asia in 1998/99 therefore also hit New Zealand somewhat hard. New Zealand has long had a negative trade balance , representing around eight percent of total gross domestic product . All of New Zealand's exports in 2005 were $ 29.2 billion and total imports were $ 35.8 billion. The country's main export industries are agriculture , horticulture, fishing, and forestry . New Zealand also has significant manufacturing tourism and service industries . Important import products are automobiles, tractors, other technical devices and medical products. As an import partner, Germany ranks fifth with a share of 5.2%.

Australia is New Zealand's most important partner, especially from an economic point of view. For example, a 24 million people free trade zone called Closer Economic Relations has existed between the two countries since 1983 , which was opened more and more in the following years and expanded to almost all economic areas. In the future, a common internal market should become a reality and, for example, taxes should also be standardized.

A free trade agreement has also existed with Singapore since 2000 . This was expanded to include Chile and Brunei in 2005 and is now known as the P4 Agreement (P4 Agreement). New Zealand continues to look for similar deals in the Pacific Rim. Negotiations on a free trade area with the People's Republic of China have been in progress since 2005 .

power supply

The power plant Ohakuri on the North Island

In 2014, New Zealand covered 40% of its primary energy needs with renewable energies , 31% with oil and 23% with natural gas , coal played only a minor role. The electricity generation of approx. 42.3  terawatt hours was based to 80% on renewable energies. by 2025, the share should increase to 90% as part of the energy transition. Technically, it would also be possible to supply electricity entirely from renewable sources.

The most important source of electricity with a 57% share is hydropower , which is primarily produced on the South Island, followed by geothermal energy , which was around 16.2% and also serves as an important supplier of heat. The most important fossil fuel is natural gas , which covers 15.7% of electricity generation. Although the country has its own oil and gas fields, New Zealand is not independent from other production areas in the world, as most of the oil has to be imported as fuel for cars. In addition to solar energy and energy generation from biomass , wind energy is also playing an increasingly important role . In August 2015, the power plant operator Genesis Energy announced that it would close the last two coal-fired power plants in New Zealand by 2018, which would mean that New Zealand would completely phase out coal- fired power generation .

In the 1960s there were plans to build nuclear power plants in New Zealand, but these were finally discarded after the discovery of large coal deposits and gas fields in 1972. In the decades that followed, hydropower continued to grow, and New Zealand became a "showcase" country with a green, clean image. The increased consumption has been compensated for over the years with the expansion of gas-fired power plants, but their utilization has recently declined again due to the higher share of renewable energies. In 1987 New Zealand was declared a "Nuclear Free Zone" by law; the status has not changed since then (as of December 2015).

State budget

The state budget in 2015 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 65.0 billion US dollars ; this was offset by revenues of around 65.55 billion US dollars. This results in a budget surplus of 0.18% of GDP . The national debt in 2015 was $ 41.8 billion, or 25.2% of GDP.

The share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) in the following areas was:


Since the second half of the 19th century, European immigrants have largely shaped the culture of New Zealand. Most immigrants immigrated from the “mother country” of Great Britain. There are significant regional differences: The southern part of the South Island, for example, is predominantly Scottish . There are said to be more bagpipes in New Zealand than in Scotland. In the last few decades the Māori culture also experienced an upswing. The country has also seen significant immigration from the Pacific Islands and, especially in recent years, from South , East and Southeast Asia . These ethnic groups live mainly in the south of the greater Auckland area. As a result, in New Zealand a wide variety of cultures from the Pacific region meet the western way of life of Great Britain, to which the country still has strong ties.

In New Zealand the metric system of units applies .

public holidays

date English name German name Remarks
January 1st New Year's Day New Year If January 1st falls on a weekend, the holiday will be on the following Monday.
January 2nd Day after New Year's Day Day after new year If January 2nd is a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday will be on the following Monday or Tuesday.
February 6th Waitangi Day Waitangi Day The country's national holiday (since 1960) commemorates the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840.
Friday before Easter Sunday Good Friday Good Friday  
Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox Easter Sunday Easter Sunday  
Day after Easter Sunday Easter Monday Easter Monday  
April 25 ANZAC Day ANZAC Day Public holiday honoring the joint forces of Australia and New Zealand in World War I on the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli
First Monday in June Queen's Birthday Birthday of the Queen  
Fourth Monday in October Labor Day Labor Day Commemoration day for the introduction of the eight-hour day in 1840, therefore partly also Eight-Hour Demonstration Day
25 December Christmas Day Christmas Corresponds to Christmas Day , if December 25th falls on a weekend, the holiday takes place on the following Monday.
December 26th Boxing Day Boxing Day Corresponds to Christmas Day , if December 26th is a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday will take place on the following Monday or Tuesday.

In addition to these national holidays, the Provincial Anniversary Days were introduced in 1981 , the date of which each (historical) region of New Zealand can set itself. These holidays commemorate the founding of the province or the arrival of the first settlers in the particular area.


In the Press Freedom Index 2019, which of Reporters Without Borders issued, New Zealand was ranked 7 out of 180 countries. The country's media are therefore among the freest in the world.

On April 18, 1840, the first New Zealand newspaper was published with the New Zealand Gazette . Today the New Zealand Herald from Auckland , part of the Australian group APN News & Media , dominates the New Zealand newspaper market with a daily circulation of around 200,000 copies. This is followed by the Dominion Post , which emerged from a merger in 2002 and based in Wellington (daily circulation: 100,000 copies), and by The Press from Christchurch with around 90,000 copies daily. The latter both belong to the Fairfax Group , which is also active in Australia . The country's oldest still-published daily newspaper is the Otago Daily Times , published in Dunedin .

Since 1925 work has been carried out on the development of a nationally receivable radio station. This project was completed by around 1936. Since 1962, the government was no longer directly responsible, but the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) was responsible for the administration of the country's public broadcasting stations. Since then, responsibilities have often been reorganized, but a non-commercial broadcasting scheme has remained an integral part of Radio New Zealand , which has been a separate company since 1995 but continues to be a Crown Entity . In addition to Radio New Zealand , which operates numerous national radio stations, there are countless private broadcasting stations.

New Zealand was a late bloomer in television. After the BBC began operating in Great Britain in 1936, the USA followed suit with NBC only three years later . The first official television program in New Zealand was broadcast from June 1, 1960 and received only in Auckland . In the years that followed, the reception was extended to most of the country. Other milestones in the New Zealand broadcasting followed in 1971, when the country first had access to satellite and thus was able to live broadcasts to receive the earth from all parts, and 1974, when the color television because of the in Christchurch held British Commonwealth Games was introduced . In addition to the two national broadcasting stations TV One and TV2 , several private broadcasters have been introduced since deregulation in 1989: TV3 and C4, which belong to CanWest Global Communications , and most recently Prime TV . There are also two pay TV providers. Since 2004 there has been a national broadcaster that broadcasts mainly in Māori . The free-to-air FreeView , based on digital DVB technology, is to offer space for 18 channels and replace analog television by 2016 at the latest. Most of the New Zealand channels can be received in Auckland via DVB-T , for example, with the national TV channels TV One and TV2 as well as TV3 broadcasting in high resolution in 1080i . The license fees introduced in 1960 were abolished in 1999.

In 2016, 79.4% of New Zealand's population was using the internet .


Peter Jackson is the most famous New Zealand director.

From the silent film era on, there were essentially only documentaries, at least John O'Shea ( Pacific Films ) and Rudall Hayward are to be mentioned as important filmmakers of this time . In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission Act came into force.

In 1995 Sam Neill shotthe “Cinema of Unrest”for the British Film Institute about his homeland and its film art: “All New Zealanders like to go to the cinema” (based on the 1950s). According to him, Sleeping Dogs by Roger Donaldson and Ian Mune in 1977 wassomething of an initial spark for the New Zealand film.

In recent years New Zealand is not least due to the worldwide success of the 17 Oscars winning trilogy The Lord of the Rings ( Lord of the Rings ) and the trilogy The Hobbit (2012, 2013, 2014), directed by Peter Jackson one to well-known film land. New Zealand directors, however, are also active internationally for many years: So was in Cannes back in 1984 the debut Vigil of Vincent Ward shown. In 1986 the science fiction film Quiet Earth - The Last Experiment (directed by Geoff Murphy ) was shown in German cinemas.

In the 1990s, films on New Zealand themes also achieved international success for the first time. Outstanding was the drama Das Piano by director Jane Campion , which received three Oscars and the Golden Palm . Around the same time, Peter Jackson's film Heavenly Creatures and Lee Tamahori's film adaptation of the novel The Last Warrior ( Once Were Warriors ) also appeared, which is also very popular there. One of the best-known films of the last few years is the film Whale Rider (director: Niki Caro ) , which is also based on a novel . Two other films, have the New Zealand aims, for example, are World's Fastest Indian ( The World's Fastest Indian ) by Roger Donaldson and River Queen by Vincent Ward . The most successful New Zealand films to date, Boy and Where the Wild Men Hunt , were directed by Taika Waititi , who was then hired by Marvel Studios to direct Thor: Decision Day .

The internationally very successful fantasy series Xena (1995-2001) was shot in New Zealand. The main actress Lucy Lawless is a native of New Zealand.

Recent New Zealand directors include King Kong (directed by Peter Jackson ) and The Chronicles of Narnia: The King of Narnia (directed by Andrew Adamson ). The Wellington- based Weta Workshop provides special effects in numerous international productions . New Zealand also serves as a backdrop in various films, such as Vertical Limit and Last Samurai .


Lorde at an appearance in 2014

In addition to the traditional music of the Māori , New Zealand light music is largely determined by artists who cultivate western music styles. However, especially in indie rock , some bands have repeatedly attracted attention with their idiosyncratic sound, so that the term kiwi rock has established itself for this part of the music scene .

One of the world's best-selling pop songs from New Zealand is the single How Bizarre by the group OMC , released in 1996. Other well-known artists with international fame are the singers Lorde , Kimbra , Brooke Fraser , Bic Runga and Ladyhawke as well as the groups The Naked and Famous and Flight of the Conchords .

One of the first successful rock bands from New Zealand was the formation Split Enz around the brothers Neil Finn and Tim Finn , who recorded their biggest hit with the single I Got You in 1980. Both are still musically active today. Neil Finn also founded the band Crowded House in 1985 , whose song Don't Dream It's Over became a worldwide hit in 1987.

In the 1980s, the independent label Flying Nun Records had a lasting influence on the rock sector. While groups like The Chills , The Clean , The Verlaines and Tall Dwarfs shaped the so-called Dunedin Sound , Bailter Space from Christchurch are still among the best-known representatives of New Zealand noise rock . Even after that, the local music scene produced a large number of notable bands, especially in the areas of indie and alternative rock , including The Datsuns , The Veils , The Brunettes , The Ruby Suns , OpShop , Evermore , Kerretta and Die! The! The! .

The country has a national symphony orchestra . A number of well-known opera stars also come from New Zealand, above all Frances Alda , Malvina Major , Donald McIntyre and Kiri Te Kanawa . The classical singer Hayley Westenra is also an internationally recognized artist.


The writer Witi Ihimaera (here in Frankfurt 2012)
Memorial plaque for Janet Frame in Dunedin

The Māori have a strong narrative culture with numerous sagas and stories that were passed on orally. Since the language was written down, many of them have been written down; some of them have also appeared in German translation. Important motifs of the myths are, among others, the origin of the world and New Zealand. The latter is inextricably linked with the story of the demigod Māui , who fished New Zealand out of the sea. Other stories tell of the journey of Kupe , who discovered New Zealand for the Hawaiki people , and the settlement of the country, but also of the life of the Māori in modern New Zealand. One of the most important contemporary Māori authors is Witi Ihimaera . Other well-known authors who deal with Māori topics are Keri Hulme , Patricia Grace and Alan Duff .

Although publications in the Māori language are increasing, much of New Zealand's literature is written in English. The earliest documents about New Zealand are the reports of the European explorers, in particular the diaries of James Cook , which he kept on his three trips to the Pacific, as well as the travel report of Georg Forster , who accompanied Cook on his second Pacific trip. New Zealand writers often include immigrants who were born abroad and citizens who emigrated. The latter includes Katherine Mansfield . One of New Zealand's best known English-speaking authors is Janet Frame . Alice Esther Glen (1881–1940), born in Christchurch , New Zealand, is one of New Zealand's most important authors . At the age of 11 she won a short story competition organized by the English magazine Little Folks . Her most successful books include the classics for children and young people, Six little New Zealanders (1917) and Uncles Three at Kamahi (1926). Since 1925, Glen was also active as a journalist and was involved in social work for needy children and women. In her honor, the Esther Glen Award was launched in 1945 , New Zealand's oldest and most prestigious children's book award to this day.


Sport plays a very important role in New Zealand.  New Zealand is a world leader in the most important Commonwealth sports -  rugby , cricket and netball . At the Summer Olympics and the Commonwealth Games , New Zealand regularly wins a relatively high number of medals - for its small population. In the 1950s to 1980s, New Zealand consistently produced some outstanding track and field athletes, especially medium and long distance runners and javelin throwers. With Arthur Lydiard , there was also a coach whose system was ahead of its time. The shot put Valerie Adams (at times under the name Valerie Vili ) is one of the best in the world.

In addition, New Zealand is one of the leading nations in sailing . In 1995 and 2000, Team New Zealand won the America's Cup under the skippers Russell Coutts and Dean Barker, and the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007 and 2013 . Numerous water sports , such as surfing or rowing , are popular leisure activities in New Zealand. This also applies to golf , tennis and a variety of winter sports , for example curling , skiing or snowboarding .

A game between teams from New Zealand and Canada during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand

The country's national sport is rugby union . The New Zealand national team is called All Blacks because of their black uniforms . Despite the country's not overly large population, the All Blacks have topped the world rankings for years and are currently number 1. They are the most famous and successful team in the history of international rugby and have won more games against every previous opponent as lost. In addition, the team won the Rugby Union World Cup in 1987 , 2011 and 2015 , making them the sole record world champions. In addition to the World Cup, the annual rugby championship (formerly Tri Nations ) against the teams from Argentina , Australia and South Africa is one of the team's fixed tournaments. International friendly matches on the traditional European tour in autumn against all four national teams of the British Isles ( England , Ireland , Scotland , Wales ) or against the British and Irish Lions (all-star selection from the British Isles) play an important role. In addition to their sporting success, the All Blacks are also known for the haka , a war dance that goes back to the Māori and is celebrated before each game. However, rugby's cult of masculinity has also been linked to widespread sexism in New Zealand society.

Club rugby plays an insignificant role in New Zealand and is purely an amateur sport. All professional teams are provincial teams. In international provincial rugby, the New Zealand franchise teams play Blues , Chiefs , Crusaders , Highlanders and Hurricanes in the Super Rugby Championship together with teams from Australia and South Africa . The professional New Zealand-wide rugby union provincial championship is the ITM Cup .

Recently, rugby league has also grown in popularity in New Zealand. The New Zealand national rugby league team won the World Cup for the first time in 2008 . Since 1995, the New Zealand Warriors, a team from Auckland, have played in the Australian National Rugby League . Rugby League is particularly popular among the Polynesian population of New Zealand.


Together with Australia, New Zealand has a lively motorsport scene and in the 1960s and 1970s had two successful Formula 1 drivers, Denis Hulme and Chris Amon , and Hulme even became Formula 1 World Champion in 1967 . Even better known, however, is Bruce McLaren , who in 1966 founded the McLaren team , which is still part of Formula 1 today .

In addition to the Chris Amon Manfeild Circuit in Feilding , which is still in use today , Pukekohe Park Raceway (2.91 km) near Auckland and Teretonga Park (2.574 km) near Invercargill, there were several racetracks where drivers' championships with Tasman Formula 2.5-liter monoposti ( Tasman series ):

There are new routes at Timaru (Timaru International Raceway, 1.6 km and 2.4 km, counterclockwise), Taupo (1.3 km, 2.3 km and 3.32 km, counterclockwise), Cromwell (New Zealand) (Highlands Motorsport Park, 2.5 miles, clockwise), Christchurch (Ruapuna Park, 3.33 km, counterclockwise) and Hampton Downs (Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, 2.63 km, clockwise).

In 2003 and 2004, the Long Track World Championship Grand Prix of New Zealand was held at the Pukekura Raceway in New Plymouth as part of the Long Track World Championship . In Western Springs Stadium in Auckland is part of since 2012 Speedway World Championship of Speedway World Championship Grand Prix instead of New Zealand. The speedway drivers Ivan Mauger , Barry Briggs and Ronnie Moore won a total of 12 individual speedway world championships for New Zealand. Ivan Mauger was also three times long track world champion.


Football is enjoying growing popularity as a team sport in New Zealand . The women's national team has already participated in four soccer world championships . The All Whites men called national team qualified for the 1982 World Cup to the World Cup 2010 finals in South Africa , where the team unbeaten as group third ahead of defending champion Italy was eliminated.

With Wellington Phoenix , the country has a men's club in the Australian A-League . In 2004 the New Zealand Football Championship replaced the National Soccer League as the top national division. Wynton Rufer , who was voted Oceania's Footballer of the Century , made it to international fame . He played u. a. at Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga and was involved in national and international successes. Football is often played as an amateur, but rarely professionally.

See also

Portal: New Zealand  - Overview of Wikipedia content on New Zealand


  • Michael King : The Penguin History of New Zealand . Penguin Books , Auckland 2003, ISBN 0-14-301867-1 .
  • Helga Neubauer: The New Zealand Book . 1st edition. NZ Visitor Publications , Nelson 2003, ISBN 1-877339-00-8 .
  • Tom Brooking (Ed.): The History of New Zealand . Greenwood Press , Westport Connecticut 2004, ISBN 0-313-32356-9 .
  • Giselle Byrnes : The Oxford History of New Zealand . Oxford University Press , Sydney 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-558471-4 .

Web links

Commons : New Zealand  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: New Zealand  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Wikimedia Atlas: New Zealand  geographic and historical maps
 Wikinews: New Zealand  - in the news
Wikivoyage: New Zealand  Travel Guide
Websites of the embassies and foreign offices (DE, A, CH)
  • New Zealand Embassy Berlin, Germany . New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade,accessed February 18, 2018(New Zealand Embassy in Berlin).
  • New Zealand Embassy and Permanent Mission, Vienna, Austria . New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade,Retrieved February 18, 2018, fromNew Zealand Embassy in Austria.
  • Switzerland . New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade,accessed on February 18, 2018(Switzerland is accredited through the embassy in Berlin).
  • New Zealand . Foreign Office (Germany),accessed on December 27, 2014(basic information on New Zealand).
  • New Zealand . Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (Austria),accessed on December 27, 2014(basic information on New Zealand).
  • New Zealand . Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA (Switzerland),accessed on December 27, 2014(basic information on New Zealand).

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 16, 2006 .

Coordinates: 41 °  S , 172 °  E