Template:Infobox Country New Zealand or Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, is a country of two large islands and many smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. Among South Pacific nations, New Zealand has the largest and most industrialised economy and is second only to Papua New Guinea in population. New Zealand is notable for its isolation, being separated from Australia on the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2,000 km wide. The closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The population of New Zealand is mostly of European descent, with the indigenous Māori as the largest minority. Non-Māori Polynesian and Asian peoples are also significant minorities, especially in the cities.
Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and is represented in the country by a non-political Governor-General. Political power is held by the Prime Minister who is leader of the Government in the democratically elected Parliament of New Zealand. The monarch's Realm of New Zealand also includes the Cook Islands and Niue, which are entirely self-governing; Tokelau, which is moving towards self-government, and New Zealand's claim in Antarctica.
- 1 History
- 2 Politics
- 3 Foreign relations and military
- 4 Local government and external territories
- 5 Geography
- 6 Flora and fauna
- 7 Economy
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Culture
- 10 Sport
- 11 Public holidays
- 12 International rankings
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 External links
- Main article: History of New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major land masses. Polynesian settlers arrived in their waka some time between 800 and 600 years ago to establish the indigenous Māori culture. Settlement of the Chatham Islands to the south-east of New Zealand produced the Moriori people but it is disputed whether they moved there from New Zealand or elsewhere in Polynesia. Most of New Zealand was divided into tribal territories called rohe, resources within which were controlled by an iwi ('tribe'). Usually no two iwi had overlapping rohe. Māori adapted to eating the local marine resources, flora and fauna for food, hunting the giant flightless moa (which soon became extinct), and ate the Polynesian Rat and kumara (sweet potato), which they introduced to the country.
The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, who sailed up the west coast of the South and North islands in 1642. He named it Staten Landt, believing it to be part of the land Jacob Le Maire had discovered in 1616 off the coast of Chile. Staten Landt appeared on Tasman's first maps of New Zealand, but this was changed by Dutch cartographers to Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland, some time after Hendrik Brouwer proved the South American land to be an island in 1643. The Latin Nova Zeelandia became Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch. Lieutenant James Cook subsequently called the archipelago New Zealand, although the names he chose for the North and South islands were rejected, and the main three islands became known as North, Middle and South, with the Middle Island being later called the South Island. Cook began extensive surveys of the islands in 1769, leading to European whaling expeditions and eventually significant European colonisation. From as early as the 1780s, Māori had encounters with European sealers and whalers. Acquisition of muskets by those iwi in close contact with European visitors destabilised the existing balance of power between Māori tribes and there was a temporary but intense period of bloody inter-tribal warfare, known as the Musket Wars, that only ceased when all iwi were so armed.
Concern about the exploitation of Māori by Europeans, Church Missionary Society lobbying and French interest in the region led the British to annex New Zealand by Royal Proclamation in January 1840. To legitimise the British annexation, Lieutenant Governor William Hobson had been dispatched in 1839; he hurriedly negotiated the Treaty of Waitangi with northern iwi on his arrival. The Treaty was signed in February, and in recent years it has come to be seen as the founding document of New Zealand. The Māori translation of the treaty promised the Māori tribes "tino rangatiratanga" would be preserved in return for cedeing kawanatanga, which the English versions translates as "chieftainship" for "sovereignty"; the real meanings are now disputed. Disputes over land sales and sovereignty caused the New Zealand land wars which took place between 1845 and 1872. In 1975 the Treaty of Waitangi Act established the Waitangi Tribunal, charged with hearing claims of Crown violations of the Treaty of Waitangi dating back to 1840. Some Māori tribes and the Moriori never signed the treaty.
Although New Zealand was initially administered as a part of the Australian colony of New South Wales, it became a colony in its own right in 1841. European settlement progressed more rapidly than anyone anticipated, and settlers soon outnumbered Māori. Self-government was granted to the settler population in 1852. The first capital of New Zealand was Kororareka (known today as Russell) but shortly afterwards moved to Auckland. There were political concerns following the discovery of gold in Central Otago in 1861 that the South Island would form a separate colony. So in 1865 the capital was offically moved to the more central city of Wellington. New Zealand was involved in a Constitutional Convention in March 1891 in Sydney, New South Wales, along with the then-colonies of Australia. This was to consider a potential constitution for the proposed federation between the then-British Colonies of Australasia. New Zealand lost interest in joining Australia in a federation following this convention.
New Zealand became an independent dominion on 26 September 1907 by royal proclamation. Full independence was granted by the United Kingdom Parliament with the Statute of Westminster in 1931; it was taken up upon the Statute's adoption by the New Zealand Parliament in 1947. Since then New Zealand has been a sovereign constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.
- Main article: Politics of New Zealand
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Under the New Zealand Royal Titles Act (1953), Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of New Zealand and is represented as head of state by the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright.
The New Zealand Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives which usually seats 120 members of Parliament. Parliamentary elections are every three years under a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). The 2005 General Election created an 'overhang' of one extra seat (occupied by the Māori Party), due to that party winning more seats in constituencies than its proportional entitlement.
There is no single written constitution; however, the Constitution Act (1986) is the principal formal statement of New Zealand's constitutional structure. The Governor-General has the power to appoint and dismiss Prime Ministers and to dissolve Parliament. The Governor-General also chairs the Executive Council which is a formal committee consisting of all ministers of the Crown. Members of the Executive Council are required to be members of Parliament, and most are also in Cabinet. Cabinet is the most senior policy-making body and is led by the Prime Minister who is also the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition.
The current Prime Minister is Helen Clark of the Labour Party. She has served two complete terms as Prime Minister and has begun her third. On 17 October 2005 she announced that she had come to a complex arrangement that guaranteed the support of enough parties for her Labour-led coalition to govern. The core of the coalition is a cabinet consisting of Labour Party ministers and Jim Anderton, the Progressive Party's only MP. In addition to the parties represented in cabinet the leaders of New Zealand First and United Future are to be appointed as Ministers outside Cabinet. An arrangement of this kind has never been attempted before in New Zealand.
A further arrangement has been made with the Green Party, which has given a commitment not to vote against the government on confidence and supply. This commitment assures the government of a majority of seven MPs on confidence.
The highest court in New Zealand is the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The Supreme Court was established in 2004 following the passage of the Supreme Court Act in 2003. The Act abolished the option to appeal Court of Appeal rulings to the Privy Council in London. The current Chief Justice is Dame Sian Elias. New Zealand's judicary also has a High Court which deals with serious criminal offences and civil matters, and a Court of Appeal, as well as subordinate courts.
Foreign relations and military
New Zealand is a member of the following geo-political organisations: APEC, Commonwealth of Nations, OECD and the United Nations. It has signed up to a number of free trade agreements, of which the most important is Closer Economic Relations with Australia.
For its first hundred years, New Zealand followed Britain's lead on foreign policy. "Where she goes, we go, where she stands, we stand", said Prime Minister Michael Savage, in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939. However, Britain's inability to protect New Zealand from Japanese aggression in World War II led New Zealand to come under the influence of the United States of America for the generation following the war. New Zealand has traditionally also worked closely with Australia, whose foreign policy followed a similar historical trend. In turn, many Pacific Islands such as Western Samoa have looked to New Zealand's lead. The American influence on New Zealand was weakened by the disappointment with the Vietnam War, the nuclear danger presented by the Cold War, the Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by France and by disagreements over environmental and agricultural trade issues.
New Zealand is a party to the ANZUS security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In 1984 New Zealand refused nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships access to its ports. In 1986 the United States announced that it was suspending its treaty security obligations to New Zealand pending the restoration of port access. The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act of 1987 prohibits the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of New Zealand and the entry into New Zealand waters of nuclear armed or propelled ships. This legislation remains a source of contention and the basis for the United States' continued suspension of treaty obligations to New Zealand.
Relations with Australia have been strained by what Australia perceives as New Zealand's underspending on defence and what New Zealand sees as Australia's following questionable American foreign policy out of self-interest.
In addition to the various wars between Iwi, and between the British, settlers and Iwi, New Zealand has fought in the Boer War, World War I, (sustaining the highest casulties per head of population of any combatant nation), World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency (and committed troops, fighters and bombers to the subsquent confrontation with Indonesia), the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War and has briefly sent a unit of army engineers to help with rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure.
The New Zealand military has three branches: the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. New Zealand considers its own national defence needs to be modest; it disbanded its combat airforce in 2001. New Zealand has contributed forces to recent regional and global peacekeeping missions, including those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran/Iraq border, and Bougainville. A small force was recently provided to support UNTAET in East Timor.
Local government and external territories
The early European settlers divided New Zealand into provinces. These were abolished in 1876 so that government could be centralised for financial reasons. As a result, New Zealand has no separately represented subnational entities such as provinces, states or territories apart from its local government. The spirit of the provinces however still lives on, and there is fierce rivalry exhibited in sporting and cultural events. Since 1876, local government has administered the various regions of New Zealand. In 1989, the government completely reorganised local government, implementing the current two-tier structure of regional councils and territorial authorities.
Today New Zealand has 12 regional councils for the administration of environmental and transport matters and 74 territorial authorities that administer roading, sewerage, building consents, and other local matters. The territorial authorities are 16 city councils, 57 district councils, and the Chatham Islands County Council. Four of the territorial councils (one city and three districts) and the Chatham Islands County Council also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities. Territorial authority districts are not subdivisions of regional council districts, and a few of them straddle regional council boundaries.
Regions are (asterisks denote unitary authorities): Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne*, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Marlborough*, Nelson*, Tasman*, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Chatham Islands*.
As a major South Pacific nation, New Zealand has a close working relationship with many of the smaller Pacific Island nations, and continues a political association with the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau. New Zealand operates Scott Base in its Antarctic territory, the Ross Dependency. Other countries also use Christchurch to support their Antarctic bases and the city is sometimes known as the "Gateway to Antarctica".
- Main article: Geography of New Zealand
New Zealand comprises two main islands (simply called the North and South Islands in English, or usually Te-Ika-a-Maui and Te Wai Pounamu in Māori) and a number of smaller islands. The total land area of New Zealand, 268,680 km², is somewhat less than that of Japan or of the British Isles, and slightly larger than Colorado in the USA. The country extends more than 1600 km along its main, north-north-east axis. The most significant of the smaller inhabited islands of New Zealand include Stewart Island/Rakiura, Waiheke Island, an island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island, east of the Hauraki Gulf and the Chatham Islands, named Rekohu by Moriori. The country has extensive marine resources, with the fifth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world covering over 4 million km², more than 15 times its land area.
The South Island is the largest land mass, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3,754 metres (12,316 feet). There are 18 peaks of more than 3,000 metres in the South Island. The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism. The tallest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 metres), is an active cone volcano. The dramatic and varied landscape of New Zealand has made it a popular location for the production of television programmes and films, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The usual climate throughout the country is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0°C or rising above 30°C. Conditions vary from wet and cold on the West Coast of the South Island to dry and continental in the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only some 640 millimetres of rain per year. Auckland, the wettest, receives a little less than three times that amount.
Flora and fauna
Because of its long isolation from the rest of the world, and its island biogeography New Zealand has extraordinary flora and fauna. About 80 per cent of the New Zealand flora only occurs in New Zealand, including more than 40 endemic genera. The main two types of forest have been dominated by podocarps including the giant kauri and southern beech. The remaining vegetation types in New Zealand are grassland of grass and tussock, usually associated with the subalpine areas, and the low shrublands between grasslands and forests.
Until the arrival of the first humans, 80% of the land was forested and, barring two species of bat, there were no non-marine mammals at all. Instead, New Zealand's forests were inhabited by a diverse range of birds including the flightless Moa which is now extinct, the Kiwi, Kakapo, and Takahē which are all endangered due to human actions. Unique birds capable of flight include the Haast's eagle which was the world's largest bird of prey before it became extinct and the large parrots the Kaka and Kea. Reptiles present in New Zealand include skinks and geckos and the Tuatara. There are no snakes but there are many species of insects— including the weta which may grow as large as a House Mouse.
- Main article: Economy of New Zealand
New Zealand has a modern, developed economy. The country has a high standard of living, ranking 19th on the 2005 Human Development Index and 15th of The Economist's 2005 world-wide quality-of-life index. Since 1984 successive governments have engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring, transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist and regulated economy to a liberalised free-trade economy. During the late 1980s, the New Zealand Government sold a number of major trading enterprises, including its telecommunications company, railway network, a number of radio stations and two financial institutions in a series of asset sales. Although the New Zealand Government continues to own a number of significant businesses, collectively known as State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), they are operated through arms-length shareholding arrangements as stand-alone businesses that are required to operate profitably, just like any privately owned enterprise.
Unfortunately, due in part to the sudden transition to a market economy, an economic bubble developed in the New Zealand stock market starting in 1984. This burst in October 1987 and the total value of the market halved within a year (it has still to recover this lost value). The effect of this bubble was a period of poor economic growth which lasted until the mid 90s. It also led the government to begin a programme of massive immigration to boost GDP. However, since 1999 New Zealand has enjoyed a period of relatively strong and sustained growth, and contained inflationary pressures.
The current New Zealand government's economic objectives are centred around moving from being ranked among the lower end of the OECD countries to regaining a higher placing again, pursuing free-trade agreements, "closing the gaps" between ethnic groups, and building a "knowledge economy." In 2004 it began discussing free trade with China, one of the first countries to do so.
New Zealand is heavily dependent on trade—particularly in agricultural products—to drive growth, and it has been affected by global economic slowdowns and slumps in commodity prices. Since agricultural exports are highly sensitive to currency values and a large percentage of consumer goods are imported, any changes in the value of the New Zealand dollar has a strong impact on the economy. Its primary export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing, forestry and information technology. There are also substantial tourism and export education industries. The film and wine industries are considered to be up-and-coming.
- Main article: Demographics of New Zealand
New Zealand has a population of about 4.1 million. About 70% of the population are whites of European descent. New Zealanders of Anglo-Celtic ancestry are known as Pākeha - this term is used variously and some Māori use it to refer to all non-Māori New Zealanders. A large proportion of white New Zealanders are of Scottish ancestry. Māori people are the second largest ethnic group (the percentage of the population of full or part-Māori ancestry is 14.7%; those who checked only Māori are 7.9%). Between the 1996 and 2001 censuses, the number of people of Asian origin (6.6%) overtook the number of people of Pacific Island origin (6.5%) (note that the census allowed multiple ethnic affiliations). Virtually all Māori are of mixed heritage (Māori/Pākeha), but a large portion of them marked themselves as Māori-only on the Census. New Zealand is positive about immigration and is committed to increasing its population by approx 1% per annum. At present migrants from the UK constitute the largest single group (30%) but new migrants are drawn from many nations, increasingly from East Asia.
Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although nearly 40% of the population has no religious affiliation. The main Christian denominations are Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism and Methodism. There are also significant numbers who identify themselves with Pentecostal and Baptist churches and with the Mormon church. The New Zealand-based Ratana church has many adherents among Māori. According to census figures, other significant minority religions include Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
New Zealand has a diverse contemporary culture with influences from British, the Māori,and other European immigrants and most recently Polynesian cultures. There were many people from Scotland amongst the early British settlers and elements of their culture persist; New Zealand is said to have more bagpipe bands than Scotland. Cultural links between New Zealand and the UK are maintained by a common language, sustained migration from the UK and the fact that many young New Zealanders spend time in the UK on their "overseas experience (OE)".
Pre-European contact Māori culture had no metal tools, relying on stone and wood. Modern Māori do not live a traditional lifestyle. Elements of Māori culture survive and the Government actively promotes it to all New Zealanders. Use of the Māori language (Te Reo Māori) as a living, community language remained only in a few remote areas in the post war years but it is currently going through a renaissance; with generous state support for Māori language medium schools and a Māori language television channel.
New Zealand's landscape has appeared in a number of television programmes and films. In particular, the television series Hercules and Xena were filmed around Auckland, and the film Heavenly Creatures in Christchurch. The television series The Tribe is set and filmed in New Zealand as well. Director Peter Jackson shot the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy in various locations around the country, taking advantage of the spectacular and relatively unspoiled landscapes, and Mount Taranaki was used as a stand-in for Mount Fuji in The Last Samurai. The latest of such major international films to be released are King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Main article: Sport in New Zealand
New Zealand's most popular sports are rugby union, cricket, netball, lawn bowling, soccer (the most popular sport amongst children) and rugby league. Also popular are golf, tennis, cycling and a variety of water sports, particularly sailing, whitewater kayaking, Surf Lifesaving and rowing. In the latter, New Zealand enjoyed an extraordinary Magic 45 minutes when winning four successive gold medals at the 2005 world championships. Snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are also popular. Equestrian sportsmen and sportswomen make their mark in the world (Mark Todd being chosen international "Horseman of the Century"), and all the way down to the juniors at pony club level.
The country is internationally recognised as achieving extremely well on a medals-to-population ratio at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. See, for example, New Zealand Olympic medallists and New Zealand at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Rugby as a sport is closely linked to New Zealand's national identity. The national rugby team is called the All Blacks and has the best winning record of any national team in the world. The style of name has been followed in naming the national team in several other sports. For instance, the nation's basketball team is known as the Tall Blacks. New Zealand's national sporting colours are not the colours of its flag, but are black and white (silver). The silver fern is a national emblem worn by New Zealanders representing their country in sport. The haka—a traditional Māori challenge—is often performed at sporting events. The All Blacks traditionally perform a haka before the start of international matches.
Yachting, America's Cup
New Zealand is one of the leading nations in world yachting, especially open water long distance or around the world races. Round-the-world yachtsman, Sir Peter Blake was something of a national hero before his untimely death at the hands of river pirates while on an environmental exploration trip on the Amazon. In inshore yachting, Auckland hosted the last two America's Cup regattas (2000 and 2003). In 2000, Team New Zealand successfully defended the trophy they had won in 1995 in San Diego, which made them the only team in the history of the Cup to successfully defend a challenge other than a United States team, but in 2003 they lost to a team headed by Ernesto Bertarelli of Switzerland, whose Alinghi syndicate was skippered by Russell Coutts, the former skipper of Team New Zealand.
- Main article: Holidays in New Zealand
(These holidays are legislated by several Acts of Parliament, such as the Holidays Act. New Zealand Statutes can be viewed at legislation.govt.nz)
|January 11||New Year's Day|
|January 22||Day after New Year's Day|
|February 6||Waitangi day|
|The Friday before Easter Sunday||Good Friday|
|The first Sunday after the first full moon
following the March equinox
|The day after Easter Sunday||Easter Monday|
|April 25||ANZAC Day|
|The first Monday in June||Queen's Birthday|
|The fourth Monday in October||Labour Day|
|December 251||Christmas Day|
|December 262||Boxing Day|
|(1) or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend|
|(2) or the following Monday or Tuesday if it falls on a Sunday or Monday|
There are also Provincial Anniversary Days to celebrate the founding days or landing days of the first colonists of the various colonial provinces. The actual observance of Anniversary days can vary even within each province due to local custom, convenience or the proximity of seasonal events or other holidays. This may differ from the historical observance day, and may be several weeks from the historic date of the events being commemorated. A full list of Anniversary days is listed in the article Holidays in New Zealand.
- UN Human Development Index (HDI), 2005: 19th out of 177 behind Norway; United Nations Development Programme (pdf) 
- Quality of Life Index, 2005: 15th out of 111 behind Ireland; The Economist Intelligence Unit (pdf) 
- Environmental Sustainability Index, 2005: 14th (out of 146) behind Finland; Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy & Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network (pdf) 
- Index of Economic Freedom, 2005: 5th= (out of 155) behind Hong Kong; Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal 
- GDP Ranking, 2005: 25th out of 111 behind Luxembourg; The Economist Intelligence Unit (pdf) 
- Transparency International 2005: 2nd= (out of 159) behind Iceland on its list of least corrupt countries in the world. (Transparency International)
|Topics in New Zealand|
|History||Timeline | Treaty of Waitangi | Land Wars | Antarctic history|
|Geography||Time | National Parks | Marine reserves | Islands | Lakes | Rivers | Caves | Cities | Towns|
|Politics|| Queen | Parliament |Prime Minister | Political parties | Elections | Supreme Court | Foreign relations
|Economy||Transport | Rogernomics | Tourism | Companies | Communications|
|Culture||Māori culture | English | Cinema | Literature | Music | Education | Sport | Holidays|
|Main cities||Auckland | Hamilton | Wellington | Christchurch | Dunedin|
1. ^ McGlone, S.M. and Wilmshurst, J.M. 1999. Dating initial Māori environmental impact in New Zealand. Quaternary International 59:5 - 16
2. ^ Ministry for the Environment. 2005. Offshore Options: Managing Environmental Effects in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone. Introduction
3. ^ Allan, H.H. 1982. Indigenous Tracheophyta - Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledons, Flora of New Zealand Volume I. Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
- Ministry for Culture and Heritage - includes information on flag, anthems and coat of arms.
- New Zealand Government Portal
- Wikitravel - New Zealand travel guide.
- New Zealand weather
- NZHistory.net.nz New Zealand history website
- Statistics New Zealand - Official statistics.
- Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Te Puna Web Directory - A directory to New Zealand web sites
- Tourism New Zealand
- Astronomy in New Zealand The guide to astronomy in New Zealand
- New Zealand Herald - New Zealand newspaper online
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