Aotearoa (pronounced [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa] in Māori and /ˌaʊtɛəˈroʊ.ə/ in English; often translated as 'land of the long white cloud') is the current Māori name for New Zealand. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans; Aotearoa originally referred to just the
North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui ("the fish of Māui") for the North Island and Te Waipounamu ("the waters of
greenstone") or Te Waka o Aoraki ("the canoe of Aoraki") for the
South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North (North Island), Middle (South Island), and South (
Stewart Island / Rakiura). In 1830, mapmakers began to use "North" and "South" on their maps to distinguish the two largest islands, and by 1907, this was the accepted norm. The
New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, and names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used, or both can be used together. Similarly the Māori and English names for the whole country are sometimes used together (Aotearoa New Zealand); however, this has no official recognition.
New Zealand was the last major landmass settled by humans. The story of
Kupe as the first human to set foot on the New Zealand archipelago, accredited to by most Māori iwi, is considered credible by historians; he is generally believed to have existed historically. Most histories claim that this occurred approximately 40 generations ago (between 900 and 1200 AD). The more specific reasons for Kupe's semi-legendary journey, and the migration of Māori in general, are contested. It is thought by some historians that
Hawaiki and other Polynesian islands were experiencing considerable internal conflict at that time, which is thought to have caused an exodus from them. Some historians contend that this was because of the fallout from the
1257 Samalas eruption, which caused crop devastation globally and possibly helped trigger the
Little Ice Age.
Radiocarbon dating, evidence of
mitochondrial DNA variability within
Māori populations suggest that Eastern
Polynesians first settled the New Zealand archipelago between 1250 and 1300, although newer
archaeological and genetic research points to a date no earlier than about 1280, with at least the main settlement period between about 1320 and 1350, consistent with evidence based on
genealogical traditions. This represented a culmination in a long series of voyages through the Pacific islands. It is the broad consensus of historians that the settlement of New Zealand by
Eastern Polynesians was planned and deliberate. Over the centuries that followed, the Polynesian settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population formed different iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) which would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point, a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the
Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct
Moriori culture. The Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 in the
Moriori genocide, largely because of
Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases also contributed. In 1862, only 101 survived, and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.
In a hostile 1642 encounter between
Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri and Dutch explorer
Abel Tasman's crew, four of Tasman's crew members were killed, and at least one Māori was hit by
canister shot. Europeans did not revisit New Zealand until 1769, when British explorer
James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and
sealing, and trading ships. They traded European food, metal tools, weapons, and other goods for timber, Māori food, artefacts, and water. The introduction of the potato and the
musket transformed Māori agriculture and warfare. Potatoes provided a reliable food surplus, which enabled longer and more sustained military campaigns. The resulting intertribal
Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000–40,000 Māori. From the early 19th century, Christian
missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually
converting most of the Māori population. The Māori population declined to around 40% of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.
British Government appointed
James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832. His duties, given to him by Governor Bourke in Sydney, were to protect settlers and traders "of good standing", prevent "outrages" against Māori, and apprehend escaped convicts. In 1835, following an announcement of impending French settlement by
Charles de Thierry, the nebulous
United Tribes of New Zealand sent a
Declaration of Independence to King
William IV of the United Kingdom asking for protection. Ongoing unrest, the proposed settlement of New Zealand by the
New Zealand Company (which had already sent its first ship of surveyors to buy land from Māori) and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the
Colonial Office to send Captain
William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the
United Kingdom and negotiate a treaty with the Māori. The
Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the
Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. In response to the New Zealand Company's attempts to establish an independent settlement in
Wellington, Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840, even though copies of the treaty were still circulating throughout the country for Māori to sign. With the signing of the treaty and declaration of sovereignty, the number of immigrants, particularly from the United Kingdom, began to increase.
The colony gained a
representative government in 1852, and the
first Parliament met in 1854. In 1856 the colony effectively became self-governing, gaining responsibility over all domestic matters (except
native policy, which was granted in the mid-1860s). Following concerns that the South Island might form a separate colony, premier
Alfred Domett moved a resolution to transfer the
capital from Auckland to a locality near
Cook Strait. Wellington was chosen for its central location, with Parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865.
In 1886, New Zealand annexed the volcanic
Kermadec Islands, about 1,000 km (620 mi) northeast of Auckland. Since 1937, the islands are uninhabited except for about six people at
Raoul Island station. These islands put the northern border of New Zealand at 29 degrees South latitude. After the 1982
UNCLOS, the islands contributed significantly to New Zealand's
exclusive economic zone.
During the period of the New Zealand colony, Britain was responsible for external trade and foreign relations. The 1923 and 1926
Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate its own political
treaties, and the first commercial treaty was ratified in 1928 with Japan. On 3 September 1939, New Zealand allied itself with Britain and
declared war on Germany with Prime Minister
Michael Joseph Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand".
In 1951 the United Kingdom became increasingly focused on its European interests, while New Zealand joined
Australia and the
United States in the
ANZUS security treaty. The influence of the United States on New Zealand weakened following protests over the
Vietnam War, the refusal of the United States to admonish France after the
sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues, and
New Zealand's nuclear-free policy. Despite the United States's suspension of ANZUS obligations, the treaty remained in effect between New Zealand and Australia, whose foreign policy has followed a similar historical trend. Close political contact is maintained between the two countries, with
free trade agreements and
travel arrangements that allow citizens to visit, live and work in both countries without restrictions. In 2013[update] there were about 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which is equivalent to 15% of the population of New Zealand.
The early European settlers divided New Zealand into
provinces, which had a degree of autonomy. Because of financial pressures and the desire to consolidate railways, education, land sales, and other policies, government was centralised and the provinces were abolished in 1876. The provinces are remembered in
regional public holidays and sporting rivalries.
Since 1876, various councils have administered local areas under legislation determined by the central government. In 1989, the government reorganised local government into the current two-tier structure of
regional councils and
territorial authorities. The
249 municipalities that existed in 1975 have now been consolidated into 67 territorial authorities and 11 regional councils. The regional councils' role is to regulate "the natural environment with particular emphasis on
resource management", while territorial authorities are responsible for sewage, water, local roads, building consents, and other local matters. Five of the territorial councils are
unitary authorities and also act as regional councils. The territorial authorities consist of 13 city councils, 53
district councils, and the
Chatham Islands Council. While officially the Chatham Islands Council is not a unitary authority, it undertakes many functions of a regional council.
New Zealand is long and narrow—over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) along its north-north-east axis with a maximum width of 400 kilometres (250 mi)—with about 15,000 km (9,300 mi) of coastline and a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). Because of its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources. Its
exclusive economic zone is one of the largest in the world, covering more than 15 times its land area.
New Zealand's climate is predominantly temperate
Köppen: Cfb), with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Historical
maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.32 °F) in
Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in
Otago. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the
West Coast of the South Island to
Central Otago and the
Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and
Northland. Of the seven largest cities,
Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 618 millimetres (24.3 in) of rain per year and Wellington the wettest, receiving almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average of more than 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and southwestern parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and northeastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours. The general snow season is early June until early October, though
cold snaps can occur outside this season. Snowfall is common in the eastern and southern parts of the South Island and mountain areas across the country.
Average daily temperatures and rainfall for selected towns and cities of New Zealand
geographic isolation for 80 million years and island
biogeography has influenced evolution of the country's species of
plants. Physical isolation has caused biological isolation, resulting in a dynamic evolutionary ecology with examples of distinctive plants and animals as well as populations of widespread species. The flora and fauna of New Zealand were originally thought to have originated from New Zealand's fragmentation off from Gondwana, however more recent evidence postulates species resulted from dispersal. About 82% of New Zealand's indigenous
vascular plants are
endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65
genera. The number of fungi recorded from New Zealand, including lichen-forming species, is not known, nor is the proportion of those fungi which are endemic, but one estimate suggests there are about 2,300 species of lichen-forming fungi in New Zealand and 40% of these are endemic. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent
podocarps, or by
southern beech in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are
Before the arrival of humans, an estimated 80% of the land was covered in forest, with only
high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees. Massive
deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23% of the land.
Since human arrival, almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat. Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced. However, New Zealand conservationists have pioneered several methods to help threatened wildlife recover, including island sanctuaries, pest control, wildlife translocation, fostering and ecological
restoration of islands and other
Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focusing at different times on sealing, whaling,
kauri gum, and native timber. The first shipment of refrigerated meat on the Dunedin in 1882 led to the establishment of meat and dairy exports to Britain, a trade which provided the basis for strong economic growth in New Zealand. High demand for agricultural products from the United Kingdom and the United States helped New Zealanders achieve higher living standards than both Australia and Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1973, New Zealand's export market was reduced when the United Kingdom joined the
European Economic Community and other compounding factors, such as the
1973 oil and
1979 energy crises, led to a severe
economic depression. Living standards in New Zealand fell behind those of Australia and Western Europe, and by 1982 New Zealand had the lowest per-capita income of all the developed nations surveyed by
the World Bank. In the mid-1980s New Zealand deregulated its
agricultural sector by phasing out
subsidies over a three-year period. Since 1984, successive governments engaged in major
macroeconomic restructuring (known first as
Rogernomics and then
Ruthanasia), rapidly transforming New Zealand from a
protectionist and highly regulated economy to a liberalised
Unemployment peaked just above 10% in 1991 and 1992, following the
1987 share market crash, but eventually fell to a record low (since 1986) of 3.7% in 2007 (ranking third from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations). However, the
global financial crisis that followed had a major effect on New Zealand, with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years, and unemployment rising back to 7% in late 2009. Unemployment rates for different age groups follow similar trends but are consistently higher among youth. In the December 2014 quarter, the general unemployment rate was around 5.8%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 15.6%. New Zealand has experienced a series of "
brain drains" since the 1970s that still continue today. Nearly one-quarter of highly skilled workers live overseas, mostly in Australia and Britain, which is the largest proportion from any developed nation. In recent decades, however, a "brain gain" has brought in educated professionals from Europe and less developed countries. Today New Zealand's economy benefits from a high level of
Poverty in New Zealand is characterised by growing income inequality; wealth in New Zealand is
highly concentrated, with the top 1% of the population owning 16% of the country's wealth, and the richest 5% owning 38%, leaving a stark contrast where half the population, including
state beneficiaries and pensioners, receive less than $24,000. Moreover,
child poverty in New Zealand has been identified by the Government as a major societal issue; the country has 12.0% of children living in low-income households that had less than 50 percent of the median equivalised disposable household income as of June 2022[update]. Poverty has a disproportionately high effect in ethnic-minority households, with a quarter (23.3%) of Māori children and almost a third (28.6%) of Pacific Islander children living in poverty as of 2020[update].
New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for 24% of its output, making New Zealand vulnerable to international commodity prices and global
economic slowdowns. Food products made up 55% of the value of all the country's exports in 2014; wood was the second largest earner (7%). New Zealand's main trading partners, as at June 2018[update], are China (
NZ$27.8b), Australia ($26.2b), the
European Union ($22.9b), the United States ($17.6b), and Japan ($8.4b). On 7 April 2008, New Zealand and China signed the
New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement, the first such agreement China has signed with a developed country. In July 2023, New Zealand and the European Union entered into the
EU–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement which eliminated tariffs on several goods traded between the two regions. This free trade agreement expanded on the pre-existing free trade agreement and saw a reduction in tariffs on meat and dairy in response to feedback from the affected industries.
The service sector is the largest sector in the economy, followed by manufacturing and construction and then farming and raw material extraction.Tourism plays a significant role in the economy, contributing $12.9 billion (or 5.6%) to New Zealand's total GDP and supporting 7.5% of the total workforce in 2016. In 2017, international visitor arrivals were expected to increase at a rate of 5.4% annually up to 2022.
Wool was New Zealand's major agricultural export during the late 19th century. Even as late as the 1960s it made up over a third of all export revenues, but since then its price has steadily dropped relative to other commodities, and wool is no longer profitable for many farmers. In contrast,
dairy farming increased, with the number of dairy cows doubling between 1990 and 2007, to become New Zealand's largest export earner. In the year to June 2018, dairy products accounted for 17.7% ($14.1 billion) of total exports, and the country's largest company,
Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade. Other exports in 2017–18 were meat (8.8%), wood and wood products (6.2%), fruit (3.6%), machinery (2.2%) and wine (2.1%).New Zealand's wine industry has followed a similar trend to dairy, the number of vineyards doubling over the same period, overtaking wool exports for the first time in 2007.
The provision of
water supply and sanitation is generally of good quality. Regional authorities provide water abstraction, treatment and distribution infrastructure to most developed areas.
New Zealand's transport network comprises 94,000 kilometres (58,410 mi) of roads, including 199 kilometres (124 mi) of motorways, and 4,128 kilometres (2,565 mi) of railway lines. Most major cities and towns are linked by bus services, although the private car is the predominant mode of transport. The
railways were privatised in 1993 but were re-nationalised by the government in stages between 2004 and 2008. The state-owned enterprise
KiwiRail now operates the railways, with the exception of commuter services in Auckland and Wellington, which are operated by
Auckland One Rail and
Transdev Wellington respectively. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers. The road and rail networks in the two main islands are linked by
roll-on/roll-off ferries between Wellington and
Picton, operated by
Interislander (part of KiwiRail) and
Bluebridge. Most international visitors arrive via air. New Zealand has
four international airports:
Wellington; however, only Auckland and Christchurch offer non-stop flights to countries other than Australia or Fiji.
Early indigenous contribution to science in New Zealand was by Māori tohunga accumulating knowledge of agricultural practice and the effects of herbal remedies in the treatment of illness and disease.Cook's voyages in the 1700s and
Darwin's in 1835 had important scientific botanical and zoological objectives. The establishment of universities in the 19th century fostered scientific discoveries by notable New Zealanders including
Ernest Rutherford for splitting the atom,
William Pickering for rocket science,
Maurice Wilkins for helping discover DNA,
Beatrice Tinsley for galaxy formation,
Archibald McIndoe for plastic surgery, and
Alan MacDiarmid for conducting polymers.
Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) were formed in 1992 from existing government-owned research organisations. Their role is to research and develop new science, knowledge, products and services across the economic, environmental, social and cultural spectrum for the benefit of New Zealand. The total gross expenditure on
research and development (R&D) as a proportion of GDP rose to 1.37% in 2018, up from 1.23% in 2015. New Zealand ranks 21st in the OECD for its gross R&D spending as a percentage of GDP. New Zealand was ranked 27th in the
Global Innovation Index in 2023.
New Zealand Space Agency was created by the government in 2016 for space policy, regulation and sector development.
Rocket Lab was the notable first commercial rocket launcher in the country.
2018 New Zealand census enumerated a resident population of 4,699,755, an increase of 10.8% over the
2013 census figure. As of December 2023, the total population has risen to an estimated 5,258,550. New Zealand's population increased at a rate of 1.9% per year in the seven years ended June 2020. In September 2020
Statistics New Zealand reported that the population had climbed above 5 million people in September 2019, according to population estimates based on the 2018 census.[n 8]
New Zealand's population today is concentrated to the north of the country, with around 76.5% of the population living in the North Island and 23.5% in the South Island as of June 2023. During the 20th century, New Zealand's population
drifted north. In 1921, the country's
median centre of population was located in the Tasman Sea west of
Manawatū-Whanganui; by 2017, it had moved 280 km (170 mi) north to near
Kawhia in Waikato.
New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 84.2% of the population living in
urban areas, and 50.6% of the population living in the seven cities with populations exceeding 100,000.Auckland, with over 1.4 million residents, is by far the largest city. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2016, Auckland was ranked the world's third
most liveable city and Wellington the twelfth by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
median age of the New Zealand population at the 2018 census was 37.4 years, with life expectancy in 2017–2019 being 80.0 years for males and 83.5 years for females. While New Zealand is experiencing
sub-replacement fertility, with a total fertility rate of 1.6 in 2020, the fertility rate is above the OECD average. By 2050, the median age is projected to rise to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18% to 29%. In 2016 the leading cause of death was
cancer at 30.3%, followed by
ischaemic heart disease (14.9%) and
cerebrovascular disease (7.4%). As of 2016[update], total expenditure on
health care (including private sector spending) is 9.2% of GDP.
2018 census, 71.8% of New Zealand residents identified ethnically as European, and 16.5% as
Māori. Other major ethnic groups include
Asian (15.3%) and
Pacific peoples (9.0%), two-thirds of whom live in the
Auckland Region.[n 3] The population has become more multicultural and diverse in recent decades: in 1961, the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92% European and 7% Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1%.
demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal "
Kiwi" is commonly used both internationally and by locals. The Māori loanword Pākehā has been used to refer to
New Zealanders of European descent, although some reject this name. The word today is increasingly used to refer to all non-Polynesian New Zealanders.
The Māori were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early
European settlers. Following colonisation, immigrants were predominantly from Britain, Ireland and Australia because of restrictive policies similar to the
White Australia policy. There was also significant
Italian immigration, together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa. Net migration increased after the
Second World War; in the 1970s and 1980s policies on immigration were relaxed, and immigration from Asia was promoted. In 2009–10, an annual target of 45,000–50,000 permanent residence approvals was set by the New Zealand Immigration Service—more than one new migrant for every 100 New Zealand residents. In the 2018 census, 27.4% of people counted were not born in New Zealand, up from 25.2% in the
2013 census. Over half (52.4%) of New Zealand's overseas-born population lives in the Auckland Region. The United Kingdom remains the largest source of New Zealand's immigrant population, with around a quarter of all overseas-born New Zealanders born there; other major sources of New Zealand's overseas-born population are
Samoa. The number of fee-paying
international students increased sharply in the late 1990s, with more than 20,000 studying in public
tertiary institutions in 2002.
English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by 95.4% of the population.New Zealand English is a variety of the language with a distinctive
accent and lexicon. It is similar to
Australian English, and many speakers from the Northern Hemisphere are unable to tell the accents apart. The most prominent differences between the New Zealand English dialect and other English dialects are the shifts in the short front vowels: the short-i sound (as in kit) has centralised towards the
schwa sound (the a in comma and about); the short-e sound (as in dress) has moved towards the short-i sound; and the short-a sound (as in trap) has moved to the short-e sound.
After the Second World War, Māori were discouraged or forced from speaking their own language (te reo Māori) in schools and workplaces, and it existed as a community language only in a few remote areas. The Native Schools Act 1867 required instruction in English in all schools, and while there was no official policy banning children from speaking Māori, many suffered from
physical abuse if they did so. The Māori language has recently undergone a process of revitalisation, being declared one of New Zealand's official languages in 1987, and is spoken by 4.0% of the population.[n 9] There are now Māori language-immersion schools and two television channels that broadcast predominantly in Māori.Many places have both their Māori and English names officially recognised.
As recorded in the 2018 census,Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language (2.2%), followed by "Northern Chinese" (including
Hindi (1.5%), and French (1.2%).
New Zealand Sign Language was reported to be understood by 22,986 people (0.5%); it became one of New Zealand's official languages in 2006.
Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its society is among the most
secular in the world. In the 2018 census, 44.7% of respondents identified with one or more religions, including 37.0% identifying as Christians. Another 48.5% indicated that they had no religion.[n 10] Of those who affiliate with a particular Christian denomination, the main responses are
Anglicanism (6.7%),[n 11]Roman Catholicism (6.3%), and
Presbyterianism (4.7%). The Māori-based
Rātana religions (1.2%) are also Christian in origin. Immigration and demographic change in recent decades have contributed to the growth of minority religions, such as
Buddhism (1.1%), and
Sikhism (0.9%). The Auckland Region exhibited the greatest religious diversity.
Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority of children attending from the age of 5. There are 13 school years and attending
state (public) schools is free to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents from a person's 5th birthday to the end of the calendar year following their 19th birthday. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99%, and over half of the population aged 15 to 29 hold a tertiary qualification. There are five types of government-owned tertiary institutions:
universities, colleges of education,
polytechnics, specialist colleges, and
wānanga, in addition to private training establishments. In 2021, in the population aged 25–64; 13% had no formal qualification, 21% had a school qualification, 28% had a tertiary certificate or diploma, and 35% have a
bachelor's degree or higher. The OECD's
Programme for International Student Assessment ranks New Zealand as the 28th best in the
OECD for maths, 13th best for science, and 11th best for reading.
Late 20th-century house-post depicting the navigator
Kupe fighting two sea creatures
Early Māori adapted the tropically based east
Polynesian culture in line with the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually developing their own distinctive culture. Social organisation was largely communal with families (whānau), subtribes (hapū) and tribes (iwi) ruled by a chief (rangatira), whose position was subject to the community's approval. The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced Māori culture, particularly with the introduction of Christianity. However, Māori still regard their allegiance to tribal groups as a vital part of
their identity, and Māori kinship roles resemble
those of other Polynesian peoples. More recently,
Asian and other
European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand. Non-Māori Polynesian cultures are also apparent, with
Pasifika, the world's largest Polynesian festival, now an annual event in Auckland.
The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers. Modesty was expected and enforced through the "
tall poppy syndrome", where high achievers received harsh criticism. At the time, New Zealand was not known as an intellectual country. From the early 20th century until the late 1960s, Māori culture was suppressed by the attempted
assimilation of Māori into British New Zealanders. In the 1960s, as tertiary education became more available, and
cities expanded urban culture began to dominate. However, rural imagery and themes are common in New Zealand's art, literature and media.
As part of the resurgence of Māori culture, the traditional crafts of carving and weaving are now more widely practised, and Māori artists are increasing in number and influence. Most Māori carvings feature human figures, generally with three fingers and either a natural-looking, detailed head or a grotesque head. Surface patterns consisting of spirals, ridges, notches and fish scales decorate most carvings. The pre-eminent Māori architecture consisted of carved meeting houses (wharenui) decorated with symbolic carvings and illustrations. These buildings were originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs.
Māori decorated the white wood of buildings, canoes and cenotaphs using red (a mixture of red
ochre and shark fat) and black (made from soot) paint and painted pictures of birds, reptiles and other designs on cave walls. Māori tattoos (moko) consisting of coloured soot mixed with gum were cut into the flesh with a bone chisel. Since European arrival paintings and photographs have been dominated by landscapes, originally not as works of art but as factual portrayals of New Zealand. Portraits of Māori were also common, with early painters often portraying them as an ideal race untainted by civilisation. The country's isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to develop their own distinctive style of
regionalism. During the 1960s and 1970s, many artists combined traditional Māori and Western techniques, creating unique art forms. New Zealand art and craft has gradually achieved an international audience, with exhibitions in the
Venice Biennale in 2001 and the "Paradise Now" exhibition in New York in 2004.
Māori cloaks are made of fine flax fibre and patterned with black, red and white triangles, diamonds and other geometric shapes.Greenstone was fashioned into earrings and necklaces, with the most well-known design being the
hei-tiki, a distorted human figure sitting cross-legged with its head tilted to the side. Europeans brought English fashion etiquette to New Zealand, and until the 1950s most people dressed up for social occasions. Standards have since relaxed and New Zealand fashion has received a reputation for being casual, practical and lacklustre. However, the local fashion industry has grown significantly since 2000, doubling exports and increasing from a handful to about 50 established labels, with some labels gaining international recognition.
Māori quickly adopted writing as a means of sharing ideas, and many of their oral stories and poems were converted to the written form. Most early English literature was obtained from Britain, and it was not until the 1950s when local publishing outlets increased that New Zealand literature started to become widely known. Although still largely influenced by global trends (
modernism) and events (the Great Depression), writers in the 1930s began to develop stories increasingly focused on their experiences in New Zealand. During this period, literature changed from a
journalistic activity to a more academic pursuit. Participation in the world wars gave some New Zealand writers a new perspective on New Zealand culture and with the post-war expansion of universities local literature flourished. Dunedin is a UNESCO
City of Literature.
New Zealand music has been influenced by
rock and roll and
hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation. Māori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient Southeast Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "
doleful" sound. Flutes and trumpets were used as musical instruments or as signalling devices during war or special occasions. Early settlers brought over their ethnic music, with
brass bands and
choral music being popular, and musicians began touring New Zealand in the 1860s.Pipe bands became widespread during the early 20th century. The New Zealand recording industry began to develop from 1940 onwards, and many New Zealand musicians have obtained success in Britain and the United States. Some artists release Māori language songs, and the Māori tradition-based art of kapa haka (song and dance) has made a resurgence. The
New Zealand Music Awards are held annually by
Recorded Music NZ; the awards were first held in 1965 by
Reckitt & Colman as the
Loxene Golden Disc awards. Recorded Music NZ also publishes the country's
official weekly record charts.
Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have British origins.Rugby union is considered the
national sport and attracts the most spectators.Golf,
cricket have the highest rates of adult participation, while netball, rugby union and
football (soccer) are particularly popular among young people.Horse racing is one of the most popular
spectator sports in New Zealand and was part of the "rugby, racing, and beer" subculture during the 1960s. Around 54% of New Zealand adolescents participate in sports for their school. Victorious rugby tours to Australia and the United Kingdom in the
late 1880s and the
early 1900s played an early role in instilling a national identity. Māori participation in European sports was particularly evident in rugby, and the country's team performs a
haka, a traditional Māori challenge, before international matches. New Zealand is known for its
adventure tourism and strong
mountaineering tradition, as seen in the success of notable New Zealander
Sir Edmund Hillary. Other outdoor pursuits such as
cycling, fishing, swimming, running,
tramping, canoeing, hunting, snowsports, surfing and sailing are also popular. New Zealand has seen regular sailing success in the
America's Cup regatta since 1995. The Polynesian sport of
waka ama racing has experienced a resurgence of interest in New Zealand since the 1980s.
The national cuisine has been described as
Pacific Rim, incorporating the native
Māori cuisine and diverse culinary traditions introduced by settlers and immigrants from Europe, Polynesia, and Asia. New Zealand yields produce from land and sea—most crops and livestock, such as maize, potatoes and pigs, were gradually introduced by the early European settlers. Distinctive ingredients or dishes include
lamb, salmon, kōura (crayfish),Bluff oysters,
whitebait, pāua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipi and tuatua (types of New Zealand shellfish),kūmara (sweet potato),
pavlova (considered a national dessert). A
hāngī is a traditional Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven; still used for large groups on special occasions, such as tangihanga.
^"God Save the King" is officially a national anthem but is generally used only on regal and viceregal occasions.
^English is a de facto official language due to its widespread use.
abEthnicity figures add to more than 100% as people could choose more than one ethnic group.
^The proportion of New Zealand's area (excluding estuaries) covered by rivers, lakes and ponds, based on figures from the New Zealand Land Cover Database, is (357526 + 81936) / (26821559 – 92499–26033 – 19216)=1.6%. If estuarine open water, mangroves, and herbaceous saline vegetation are included, the figure is 2.2%.
^Clocks are advanced by an hour from the last Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April. Daylight saving time is also observed in the Chatham Islands, 45 minutes ahead of NZDT.
^A person born on or after 1 January 2006 acquires New Zealand citizenship at birth only if at least one parent is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. All persons born on or before 31 December 2005 acquired citizenship at birth (jus soli).
^A provisional estimate initially indicated the milestone was reached six months later in March 2020, before population estimates were rebased from the 2013 census to the 2018 census.
^In 2015, 55% of Māori adults (aged 15 years and over) reported knowledge of te reo Māori. Of these speakers, 64% use Māori at home and 50,000 can speak the language "very well" or "well".
^Religion percentages may not add to 100% as people could claim multiple religions or object to answering the question.
^This is a percentage of total respondents to the census, not a percentage of Christians.
^International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Fifth Periodic Report of the Government of New Zealand(PDF) (Report). New Zealand Government. 21 December 2007. p. 89. Archived from
the original(PDF) on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015. In addition to the Māori language, New Zealand Sign Language is also an official language of New Zealand. The New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 permits the use of NZSL in legal proceedings, facilitates competency standards for its interpretation and guides government departments in its promotion and use. English, the medium for teaching and learning in most schools, is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use. For these reasons, these three languages have special mention in the New Zealand Curriculum.
Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 15 May 2021. The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at 00:00 UTC and is based on data obtained from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.
^Hillstrom, Kevin; Collier Hillstrom, Laurie (2003). Australia, Oceania, and Antarctica: A Continental Overview of Environmental Issues. Vol. 3.
ABC-Clio. p. 25.
ISBN9781576076941. ... defined here as the continent nation of Australia, New Zealand, and twenty-two other island countries and territories sprinkled over more than 40 million square kilometres of the South Pacific.
^Evans, N. R. (January 1994). "Up from Down Under: After a Century of Socialism, Australia and New Zealand are Cutting Back Government and Freeing Their Economies". National Review. Vol. 46, no. 16. pp. 47–51.
^Trade, Food Security, and Human Rights: The Rules for International Trade in Agricultural Products and the Evolving World Food Crisis.
Routledge. 2016. p. 125.
^Arnold, Wayne (2 August 2007).
"Surviving Without Subsidies". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2015. ... ever since a liberal but free-market government swept to power in 1984 and essentially canceled handouts to farmers .... They went cold turkey and in the process it was very rough on their farming economy
^Winkelmann, Rainer (2000). "The labour market performance of European immigrants in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s". The International Migration Review. The Center for Migration Studies of New York. 33 (1): 33–58.
JSTOR2676011. Journal subscription required
"'Pakeha', Its Origin and Meaning". Māori News. Retrieved 20 February 2008. Originally the Pakeha were the early European settlers, however, today 'Pakeha' is used to describe any peoples of non-Maori or non-Polynesian heritage. Pakeha is not an ethnicity but rather a way to differentiate between the historical origins of our settlers, the Polynesians and the Europeans, the Maori and the other.
Kennedy, Jeffrey (2007). "Leadership and Culture in New Zealand". In Chhokar, Jagdeep; Brodbeck, Felix; House, Robert (eds.). Culture and Leadership Across the World: The Globe Book of In-depth Studies of 25 Societies.