New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

New Zealand is a major skiing destination in the Southern Hemisphere, due to its high latitude, mountainous terrain, and well-developed economy and tourism industry.

While there are several ski resorts on the North Island, most are found in the South Island. There are both major commercial resorts, and smaller intrepid and club skifields which provide access to affordable skiing for club members. There are also specialist backcountry skiing areas such as Mount Potts and Invincible Snowfieldswhich provide heliskiing and snowcat skiing for adventure-seekers.

New Zealand has competed at most Winter Olympics since 1952, when Sir Roy McKenzie led a team. In 1992 Annelise Coberger became the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to win a medal at the Winter Olympics when she won silver in the slalom at Albertville in France.

Other forms of skiing that New Zealand is known for include heli-skiing and kite-skiing. Snow-kiting, while a relative new sport, has an avid following in New Zealand, with a festival in Wanaka held annually.

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft).[3] It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island; it is a popular tourist destination.

November 26, 2015 / by / in
Territorial authorities of New Zealand

Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. There are 67 territorial authorities: 12 city councils, 53 district councils, Auckland Council and Chatham Islands Council. Six territorial authorities (Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, the Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough district councils and Chatham Islands Council) also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are unitary authorities. Territorial authority districts are not subdivisions of regions, and some of them fall within more than one region. Taupo District has the distinction of straddling the boundaries of four different regions (see below). Regional council areas are based on water catchment areas, whereas territorial authorities are based on community of interest and road access. Regional councils are responsible for the administration of many environmental and public transport matters, while the territorial authorities administer local roading and reserves, sewerage, building consents, the land use and subdivision aspects of resource management, and other local matters. Some activities are delegated to council-controlled organisations.

Territorial authorities

The word “Council” is omitted from the names of the territorial authorities in this section.

North Island

Name Seat Area (km2) Population Density (/km2) Region(s)
Far North District Kaikohe 7,505 61,200 8.15 Northland
Whangarei District Whangarei 3,314 85,900 25.92 Northland
Kaipara District Dargaville 3,122 21,100 6.76 Northland
Auckland Auckland 5,600 1,570,500 280.45 Auckland (Unitary authority)
Thames-Coromandel District Thames 3,193 27,800 8.71 Waikato
Hauraki District Paeroa 1,186 19,100 16.10 Waikato
Waikato District Ngaruawahia 4,506 69,500 15.42 Waikato
Matamata-Piako District Te Aroha 1,755 33,700 19.20 Waikato
Hamilton City Hamilton 94 156,800 1,668.09 Waikato
Waipa District Te Awamutu 1,473 50,400 34.22 Waikato
South Waikato District Tokoroa 1,814 23,500 12.95 Waikato
Otorohanga District Otorohanga 2,063 9,720 4.71 Waikato
Waitomo District Te Kuiti 3,551 9,530 2.68 Waikato (94.87%)
Taupo District Taupo 6,955 35,600 5.12 Waikato (73.74%)
Bay of Plenty(14.31%)
Hawke’s Bay(11.26%)
Manawatu-Wanganui (0.69%)
Western Bay of Plenty District Greerton, Tauranga City 2,120 46,800 22.08 Bay of Plenty
Tauranga City Tauranga 168 124,600 741.67 Bay of Plenty
Opotiki District Opotiki 3,098 8,800 2.84 Bay of Plenty
Whakatane District Whakatane 4,441 34,600 7.79 Bay of Plenty
Rotorua District Rotorua 2,614 69,200 26.47 Bay of Plenty (61.52%)
Waikato (38.48%)
Kawerau District Kawerau 22 6,660 302.73 Bay of Plenty
Gisborne District Gisborne 8,351 47,400 5.68 Gisborne (Unitary authority)
Wairoa District Wairoa 4,124 8,180 1.98 Hawke’s Bay
Hastings District Hastings 5,218 77,900 14.93 Hawke’s Bay
Napier City Napier 106 60,400 569.81 Hawke’s Bay
Central Hawke’s Bay District Waipawa 3,324 13,450 4.05 Hawke’s Bay
New Plymouth District New Plymouth 2,225 79,000 35.51 Taranaki
Stratford District Stratford 2,161 9,230 4.27 Taranaki (68.13%)
Manawatu-Wanganui (31.87%)
South Taranaki District Hawera 3,577 27,700 7.74 Taranaki
Ruapehu District Taumarunui 6,730 12,450 1.85 Manawatu-Wanganui
Rangitikei District Marton 4,476 14,700 3.28 Manawatu-Wanganui (86.37%)
Hawke’s Bay (13.63%)
Wanganui District Wanganui 2,372 43,600 18.38 Manawatu-Wanganui
Manawatu District Feilding 2,628 29,300 11.15 Manawatu-Wanganui
Palmerston North City Palmerston North 337 85,500 253.71 Manawatu-Wanganui
Tararua District Dannevirke 4,367 17,400 3.98 Manawatu-Wanganui (98.42%)
Wellington (1.58%)
Horowhenua District Levin 1,066 31,400 29.46 Manawatu-Wanganui
Masterton District Masterton 2,298 24,400 10.62 Wellington
Kapiti Coast District Paraparaumu 733 51,400 70.12 Wellington
Carterton District Carterton 1,181 8,800 7.45 Wellington
South Wairarapa District Martinborough 2,452 10,000 4.08 Wellington
Upper Hutt City Upper Hutt 542 42,000 77.49 Wellington
Porirua City Porirua 182 54,500 299.45 Wellington
Hutt City Lower Hutt 377 102,000 270.56 Wellington
Wellington City Wellington 289 203,800 705.19 Wellington
  • Population as of June 2015 estimate.

South Island

Name Seat Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Region(s)
Tasman District Richmond 9,786 49,500 5.06 unitary authority
Nelson City Nelson 445 49,900 112.13 unitary authority
Marlborough District Blenheim 12,484 45,300 3.63 unitary authority
Buller District Westport 7,950 10,350 1.30 West Coast
Grey District Greymouth 3,516 13,650 3.88 West Coast
Westland District Hokitika 11,870 8,720 0.73 West Coast
Kaikoura District Kaikoura 2,050 3,650 1.78 Canterbury
Hurunui District Amberley 8,661 12,500 1.44 Canterbury
Selwyn District Rolleston 6,557 52,700 8.04 Canterbury
Waimakariri District Rangiora 2,216 56,400 25.45 Canterbury
Christchurch City Christchurch 1,610 367,800 228.45 Canterbury
Ashburton District Ashburton 6,208 33,200 5.35 Canterbury
Mackenzie District Fairlie 7,442 4,440 0.60 Canterbury
Timaru District Timaru 2,726 46,300 16.98 Canterbury
Waimate District Waimate 3,577 7,870 2.20 Canterbury
Waitaki District Oamaru 7,212 21,900 3.04 Canterbury (59.61%)
Otago (40.39%)
Queenstown-Lakes District Queenstown 9,368 32,400 3.46 Otago
Central Otago District Alexandra 9,966 19,200 1.93 Otago
Dunedin City Dunedin 3,340 125,800 37.66 Otago
Clutha District Balclutha 6,406 17,400 2.72 Otago
Southland District Invercargill 32,605[6] 30,600 0.94 Southland
Gore District Gore 1,251 12,450 9.95 Southland
Invercargill City Invercargill 491 54,200 110.39 Southland
  • Population as of June 2015 estimate.
  • Total of Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula areas.
  • Includes Stewart Island/Rakiura, also listed separately below, and Solander Islands .

Stewart Island/Rakiura

Name Seat Area (km2) Population Region
Part of Southland District Invercargill, South Island 1746 402 Southland

Chatham Islands

  • Chatham Islands Territory is a district governed by the Chatham Islands Council, a unitary authority.

Other islands

There are a number of islands where the Minister of Local Government is the territorial authority, two of which have a ‘permanent population and/or permanent buildings and structures.’ The main islands are listed below (population according to 2001 census in parenthesis):

  • Mayor Island/Tuhua (3)
  • Motiti Island (30)
  • Whakaari/White Island
  • Moutohora Island
  • Bare Island

In addition, seven of the nine groups of the New Zealand Outlying Islands are outside of any territorial authority:

  • Kermadec Islands (3)
  • Three Kings Islands
  • Bounty Islands
  • The Snares
  • Antipodes Islands
  • Auckland Islands
  • Campbell Islands


1989 local government reforms

For many decades until the local government reforms of 1989, a borough with more than 20,000 people could be proclaimed a city. The boundaries of councils tended to follow the edge of the built-up area, so little distinction was made between the urban area and the local government area.

New Zealand’s local government structural arrangements were significantly reformed by the Local Government Commission in 1989 when approximately 700 councils and special purpose bodies were amalgamated to create 87 new local authorities. Regional councils were reduced in number from 20 to 13, territorial authorities (city/district councils) from 200 to 75, and special purpose bodies from over 400 to 7. The new district and city councils were generally much larger and most covered substantial areas of both urban and rural land. Many places that once had a city council were now being administered by a district council.

As a result, the term “city” began to take on two meanings.

The word “city” came to be used in a less formal sense to describe major urban areas independent of local body boundaries. This informal usage is jealously guarded. Gisborne, for example, adamantly described itself as the first city in the world to see the new millennium. Gisborne is administered by a district council, but its status as a city is not generally disputed.

Under the current law the minimum population for a new city is 50,000.

Changes since 1989

Since the 1989 reorganisations, there have been few major reorganisations or status changes in local government. Incomplete list:

  • 1991: Invercargill re-proclaimed a city.
  • 1992: Nelson-Marlborough Regional Council abolished by a Local Government Amendment Act. Of its territorial authorities, Kaikoura District was transferred to the Canterbury Region, and Nelson City and Tasman and Marlborough districts became unitary authorities.
  • 1995: The Chatham Islands County was dissolved and reconstituted by a specific Act of Parliament as the “Chatham Islands Territory”, with powers similar to those of territorial authorities and some functions similar to those of a regional council.
  • 2004: Tauranga became a city again on 1 March.
  • 2006: Banks Peninsula District merged into Christchurch City as a result of 2005 referendum.
  • 2010: Auckland Council, a unitary authority, replaced seven local councils and the regional council.

Reports on completed reorganisation proposals since 1999 are available on the Local Government Commission’s site (link below).

2007–2009 Royal Commission on Auckland Governance

On 26 March 2009, the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommended the Rodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland City, Manukau, Papakura and Franklin territorial councils and the Auckland Regional Council be abolished and the entire Auckland region to be amalgamated into one “supercity”. The area would consist of one city council (with statutory provision for three Maori councillors), four urban local councils, and two rural local councils:

  • Rodney local council would lose Orewa, Dairy Flat, and Whangaparaoa but retain the remainder of the current Rodney District. The split areas as well as the current North Shore City would form a Waitemata local council.
  • Waitakere local council would consist of the current Waitakere City as well as the Avondale area.
  • Tamaki Makaurau would consist of the current Auckland City and Otahuhu (excluding CBD)
  • Manukau local council would consist of the urban parts of the current Manukau City and of the Papakura District.
  • Hunua local council would consist of the entire Franklin District, much of which is currently in the Waikato Region, along with rural areas of the current Papakura District and Manukau City.
  • The entire Papakura District would be dissolved between urban and rural councils.

The National-led Government responded within about a week. Its proposal, which will go to a Select Committee, has the supercity and many community boards but no local councils and for the first election no separate seats for Maori.

Public reaction to the Royal Commission report was mixed, especially in regards to the Government’s amended proposal. Auckland Mayor John Banks supported the amended merger plans.

Criticism of the amended proposal came largely from residents in Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore Cities. In addition, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples spoke against the exclusion of the Maori seats, as recommended by the Royal Commission. Opposition Leader Phil Goff called for a referendum on the issue.

Failed proposed changes

  • 2015: Proposals to amalgamate local councils in Wellington and Northland were accepted by the Local Government Commission for consideration, although following consultation they ultimately were not formed into a final proposal. The status quo remains.
  • 2015: Amalgamation of four local councils and the regional council in Hawke’s Bay was proposed by the Local Government Commission. A district wide referendum was held in Sep-2015, and the proposal was defeated by 66% of voters.
November 11, 2015 / by / in
New Zealand


  • Population – 4.47 million (Statistics NZ. 201 3)
  • Capital – Wellington
  • Largest City – Auckland
  • Area – 270,534 sq km (104,454 m miles)
  • Major Languages — English, Maori
  • Major Religion – Christianity
  • Life Expectancy – 79 years (Men), 83 years (women)
  • Main Exports – Wool, Food and Dairy products, Wood and Paper products
  • Main Imports — Education and Tourism
  • GNI per capita – US $30,620 (World Bank. 2011)
  • Time Zone – NZST (UTC+12)

New Zealand (/njuːˈzilənd/ new-zee-lənd, Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.


Coat of Arms New Zealand

Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 CE and developed a distinctive Māori culture. Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642. In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and Māori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, making New Zealand a British colony. Today, the majority of New Zealand’s population of 4.5 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand’s culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.

New Zealand is a developed country with a market economy that is dominated by the exports of dairy products, meat and wine, along with tourism. New Zealand is a high-income economy and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected,unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. Queen Elizabeth II is the country’s head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand’s territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS,Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.



Detail from a 1657 map showing the western coastline of “Nova Zeelandia”

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and called it Staten Landt, supposing it was connected to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America. In 1645 Dutch cartographers renamed the landNova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.

Aotearoa (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, with Aotearoa originally referring 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) orTe 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, maps began to use North and South 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. Note that for each island, either its English or Māori name can be used, or both can be used together.


280px-Polynesian_Migration.svgThe Māori people are most likely descended from people who emigrated from Taiwan to Melanesia and then travelled east through to the Society Islands. After a pause of 70 to 265 years, a new wave of exploration led to the discovery and settlement of New Zealand.

New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands. Over the centuries that followed these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands (which they named Rēkohu) where they developed their distinct Moriori culture. The Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862, 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.


The Waitangi sheet from the Treaty of Waitangi

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642. In a hostile encounter, four 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 North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, food, artifacts 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 percent of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor.

In 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip assumed the position of Governor of the new British colony of New South Wales which according to his commission included New Zealand.The British Government appointed James Busby as British Resident to New Zealand in 1832 following a petition from northern Māori. In 1835, following an announcement of impending French settlement by Charles de Thierry, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent a Declaration of the 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 Great Britain 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 and French settlers purchasing land in Akaroa, 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.


Painting of Mount Earnslaw by John Turnbull Thomson, oil on canvas, 1888

New Zealand, still part of the colony of New South Wales, became a separateColony of New Zealand on 1 July 1841. 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 other than native policy. (Control over native policy 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 the Cook Strait. Wellington was chosen for its harbour and central location, with parliament officially sitting there for the first time in 1865. As immigrant numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of much Māori land. 

In 1891 the Liberal Party led by John Ballance came to power as the first organised political party. The Liberal Government, later led by Richard Seddon, passed many important social and economic measures. In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote and in 1894 pioneered the adoption of compulsory arbitration between employers and unions. In 1898 Seddon’s government passed the Old-age Pensions Act of 1898, the first general pensions scheme in the British Empire.

In 1907, at the request of the New Zealand Parliament, King Edward VII proclaimed New Zealand a dominion within the British Empire, reflecting its self-governing status. Accordingly, the title “Dominion of New Zealand” dates from 1907.

In 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster, confirming that the British parliament could no longer legislate for New Zealand without the consent of New Zealand. New Zealand was involved in world affairs, fighting, as part of the British Empire, in the First and Second World Wars and suffering through the Great Depression. The depression led to the election of the first Labour government and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy. New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II and Māori began to leave their traditional rural life and move to the cities in search of work. A Māori protest movement developed, which criticised Eurocentrism and worked for greater recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1975, a Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty, and it was enabled to investigate historic grievances in 1985. The government has negotiated settlements of these grievances with many iwi, although Māori claims to the foreshore and seabed have proved controversial in the 2000s.



John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2008

John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2008

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy, although its constitution is not codified. Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and the head of state. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Governor-General can exercise the Crown’sprerogative powers, such as reviewing cases of injustice and making appointments of ministers, ambassadors and other key public officials, and in rare situations, the reserve powers (e.g. the power to dissolve Parliament or refuse theRoyal Assent of a bill into law). The powers of the Queen and the Governor-General are limited by constitutional constraints and they cannot normally be exercised without the advice of Cabinet.
class=”thumb tmulti tleft”>

class=”thumbimage”>The Queen of New Zealand and her vice-regal representative, the Governor-General


Sir Jerry Mateparae

The New Zealand Parliament holds legislative power and consists of the Queen and the House of Representatives. It also included an upper house, the Legislative Council, until this was abolished in 1950. The supremacy of Parliament, over the Crown and other government institutions, was established in England by the Bill of Rights 1689 and has been ratified as law in New Zealand. The House of Representatives is democratically elected and a Government is formed from the party or coalition with the majority of seats. If no majority is formed a minority government can be formed if support from other parties during confidence and supply votes is assured. The Governor-General appoints ministers under advice from the Prime Minister, who is by convention the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition. Cabinet, formed by ministers and led by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy-making body in government and responsible for deciding significant government actions. By convention, members of cabinet are bound by collective responsibility to decisions made by cabinet.

class=”magnify”>Seddon_Statue_in_Parliament_GroundsA statue of Richard Seddon, the “Beehive” (Executive Wing), and Parliament House (right), in Parliament Grounds, Wellington.

Almost all parliamentary general elections between 1853 and 1993 were held under the first-past-the-post voting system. The elections since 1930 have been dominated by two political parties, National and Labour. Since the 1996 election, a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been used. Under the MMP system each person has two votes; one is for electoral seats (including some reserved for Māori), and the other is for a party. Since the 2014 election, there have been 71 electorate seats (which includes 7 Māori electorates), and the remaining 49 seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electoral seat or 5 percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats. Between March 2005 and August 2006 New Zealand became the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land (Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice) were occupied simultaneously by women.

Judges and judicial officers are appointed non-politically and under strict rules regarding tenure to help maintain constitutional independence from the government. This theoretically allows the judiciary to interpret the law based solely on the legislation enacted by Parliament without other influences on their decisions. The Privy Council in London was the country’s final court of appeal until 2004, when it was replaced with the newly established Supreme Court of New Zealand. The judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice, includes the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and subordinate courts.

New Zealand is identified as one of the world’s most stable and well-governed nations. As of 2011, the country was ranked fifth in the strength of its democratic institutions and first in government transparency and lack of corruption. New Zealand has a high level of civic participation, with 79% voter turnout during the most recent elections, compared to an OECD average of 72%. Furthermore, 67% of New Zealanders say they trust their political institutions, far higher than the OECD average of 56%.

Foreign relations and the military


Anzac Day service at the National War Memorial

class=”magnify”>Early colonial New Zealand allowed the British Government to determine external trade and be responsible for foreign policy. The 1923 and 1926 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate their 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 Savage proclaiming, “Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand.”


Māori Battalion haka in Egypt, 1941

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 US’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, there are about 650,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, which is about 15 percent of the population of New Zealand. 65,000 Australians live in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a strong presence among the Pacific Island countries. A large proportion of New Zealand’s aid goes to these countries and many Pacific people migrate to New Zealand for employment. Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category, which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year. A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it. New Zealand is involved in the Pacific Islands Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (including the East Asia Summit). New Zealand is also a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

220px-New_Zealand_trench_Flers_September_1916Infantry from the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment in the Battle of the Somme, September 1916

The New Zealand Defence Force has three branches: the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. New Zealand’s national defence needs are modest because of the unlikelihood of direct attack, although it does have a global presence. The country fought in both world wars, with notable campaigns in Gallipoli, Crete, El Alamein and Cassino. The Gallipoli campaign played an important part in fostering New Zealand’s national identity and strengthened the ANZAC tradition it shares with Australia. According to Mary Edmond-Paul, “World War I had left scars on New Zealand society, with nearly 18,500 in total dying as a result of the war, more than 41,000 wounded, and others affected emotionally, out of an overseas fighting force of about 103,000 and a population of just over a million.” New Zealand also played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate and the Battle of Britain air campaign. During World War II, the United States had more than 400,000 American military personnel stationed in New Zealand.

In addition to Vietnam and the two world wars, New Zealand fought in the Korean War, the Second Boer War, the Malayan Emergency, the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands. New Zealand also sent a unit of army engineers to help rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for one year during the Iraq War.

New Zealand ranks 8th in the Center for Global Development’s 2012 Commitment to Development Index, which ranks the world’s most developed countries on their dedication to policies that benefit poorer nations. New Zealand is considered the fourth most peaceful country in the world according to the 2014 Global Peace Index.

Local government and external territories


Realm 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. As a result, New Zealand now has no separately represented subnational entities. 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 one of 16 realms within the Commonwealth. The Realm of New Zealand is the territory over which the Queen of New Zealand is sovereign and comprises New Zealand, Tokelau, the Ross Dependency, the Cook Islands and Niue. The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand. The New Zealand Parliament cannot pass legislation for these countries, but with their consent can act on behalf of them in foreign affairs and defence.

Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory that uses the New Zealand flag and anthem, but is administered by a council of three elders (one from each Tokelauan atoll). The Ross Dependency is New Zealand’s territorial claim in Antarctica, where it operates the Scott Base research facility. New Zealand citizenship law treats all parts of the realm equally, so most people born in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency before 2006 are New Zealand citizens. Further conditions apply for those born from 2006 onwards.



New Zealand is located near the centre of the water hemisphere and is made up of two main islands and a number of smaller islands. The two main islands (theNorth Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu) are separated by the Cook Strait, 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its narrowest point. Besides the North and South Islands, the five largest inhabited islands are Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island (in the Hauraki Gulf), d’Urville Island (in the Marlborough Sounds) and Waiheke Island (about 22 km (14 mi) from central Auckland). The country’s islands lie between latitudes 29° and 53°S, and longitudes 165° and 176°E.

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.

The South Island is the largest landmass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), the highest of which is Aoraki / Mount Cook at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). Fiordland’s steep mountains and deep fiords record the extensive ice age glaciation of this south-western corner of the South Island. The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism. The highly active Taupo Volcanic Zone has formed a large volcanic plateau, punctuated by the North Island’s highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 metres (9,177 ft)). The plateau also hosts the country’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, nestled in the caldera of one of the world’s most active supervolcanoes.

The country owes its varied topography, and perhaps even its emergence above the waves, to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a microcontinent nearly half the size of Australia that gradually submerged after breaking away from the Gondwanan supercontinent. About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to contort and crumple the region. This is now most evident in the Southern Alps, formed by compression of the crustbeside the Alpine Fault. Elsewhere the plate boundary involves the subduction of one plate under the other, producing the Puysegur Trench to the south, the Hikurangi Trench east of the North Island, and the Kermadec and Tonga Trenches further north.

New Zealand is not part of the continent of Australia, but of the separate, submerged continent of Zealandia. New Zealand and Australia are both part of the wider regions known as Australasia and Oceania. The term Oceania is often used to denote the region encompassing the Australian continent, New Zealand and various islands in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model.


New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate (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 Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Ranfurly, Otago. Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the seven largest cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving on average only 640 millimetres (25 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 south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern 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 about early June until early October in the South Island. Snowfall is less common on the North Island, although it does occur.


New Zealand’s geographic isolation for 80 million years and island biogeography is responsible for the country’s unique species of animals, fungi and plants. They have either evolved from Gondwanan wildlife or the few organisms that have managed to reach the shores flying, swimming or being carried across the sea. About 82 percent of New Zealand’s indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single endemic family. 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 2300 species of lichen-forming fungi in New Zealand and 40 percent 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 tussock.

Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80 percent 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 percent of the land.


The endemic flightless kiwiis a national icon.

The forests were dominated by birds, and the lack of mammalian predators led to some like the kiwi, kakapo and takahēevolving flightlessness. The arrival of humans, associated changes to habitat, and the introduction of rats, ferrets and other mammals led to the extinction of many bird species, including large birds like the moa and Haast’s eagle.

Other indigenous animals are represented by reptiles (tuataras, skinks and geckos), frogs, spiders (katipo), insects (weta) and snails. Some, such as the wrens and tuatara, are so unique that they have been called living fossils. Three species of bats (one since extinct) were the only sign of native land mammals in New Zealand until the 2006 discovery of bones from a unique, mouse-sized land mammal at least 16 million years old. Marine mammals however are abundant, with almost half the world’s cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and large numbers of fur seals reported in New Zealand waters. Many seabirds breed in New Zealand, a third of them unique to the country. More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country.

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 selected areas. According to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, New Zealand is considered a “strong performer” in environmental protection, ranking 14th out of 132 assessed countries.


New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity(PPP) per capita of roughly NZ$47,784. The currency is the New Zealand dollar, informally known as the “Kiwi dollar”; it also circulates in the Cook Islands (see Cook Islands dollar), Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. New Zealand was ranked sixth in the 2013 Human Development Index, fourth in The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, and 13th in INSEAD’s 2012 Global Innovation Index.
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Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist destinations.

Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand’s economy, focussing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax, gold, kauri gum, and native timber. With the development of refrigerated shipping in the 1880s meat and dairy products were exported 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 Community and other compounding factors, such as the 1973 oil and 1979 energy crisis, 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. Since 1984, successive governments engaged in major macroeconomic restructuring (known first as Rogernomics and then Ruthanasia), rapidly transforming New Zealand from a highly protectionist economy to a liberalised free-trade economy.

Unemployment peaked above 10 percent in 1991 and 1992, following the 1987 share market crash, but eventually fell to a record low of 3.4 percent in 2007 (ranking fifth from twenty-seven comparable OECD nations). However, the global financial crisis that followed had a major impact on New Zealand, with the GDP shrinking for five consecutive quarters, the longest recession in over thirty years, and unemployment rising back to 7 percent in late 2009. At May 2012, the general unemployment rate was around 6.7 percent, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 13.6 percent. In the September 2014 quarter, unemployment was 5.4%. 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 years, however, a “brain gain” has brought in educated professionals from Europe and lesser developed countries.


New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, particularly in agricultural products. Exports account for a high 24 percent 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%). Its major export partners are Australia, United States, Japan, China, and the United Kingdom. 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. 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 New Zealand’s economy, contributing $15.0 billion to New Zealand’s total GDP and supporting 9.6 percent of the total workforce in 2010. International visitors to New Zealand increased by 3.1 percent in the year to October 2010 and are expected to increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually up to 2015.

In 1984 New Zealand eliminated agricultural subsidies.


Wool has historically been one of New Zealand’s major exports.

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 2009, dairy products accounted for 21 percent ($9.1 billion) of total merchandise exports, and the country’s largest company, Fonterra, controls almost one-third of the international dairy trade. Other agricultural exports in 2009 were meat 13.2 percent, wool 6.3 percent, fruit 3.5 percent and fishing 3.3 percent. 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.


In 2008, oil, gas and coal generated about 69 percent of New Zealand’s gross energy supply while 31% was generated from renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power and geothermal power.

New Zealand’s transport network comprises 93,805 kilometres (58,288 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 Auckland commuter services which are operated by Transdev. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers. Most international visitors arrive via air and New Zealand has six international airports, but currently only the Auckland and Christchurch airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji.

The New Zealand Post Office had a monopoly over telecommunications until 1987 when Telecom New Zealand was formed, initially as a state-owned enterprise and then privatised in 1990. Telecom was rebranded as Spark New Zealand in 2014. Chorus, which was split from Telecom in 2011, still owns the majority of the telecommunications infrastructure, but competition from other providers has increased. The United Nations International Telecommunication Union ranks New Zealand 12th in the development of information and communications infrastructure, having moved up four places between 2008 and 2010.

Water supply and sanitation

class=”hatnote relarticle mainarticle”>Main article: Water supply and sanitation in New Zealand
Water supply and sanitation in New Zealand is universal and of good quality in urban areas. It is provided by local government called Territorial Authorities in New Zealand. Territorial Authorities consist of 14 city councils in urban areas and 53 district councils in rural areas. The legal framework includes the Health Act 1956 amended in 2007, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Resource Management Act 1991.



New Zealand’s historical population (black) and projected growth (red)

As of June 2015, the population of New Zealand is estimated at 4.597 million. New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53 percent living in the four largest cities of Auckland, Christchurch,Wellington, and Hamilton. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2010 Auckland was ranked the world’s 4th most liveable city and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.


New Zealand population pyramid at the 2013 Census.

Life expectancy for New Zealanders in 2012 was 84 years for females, and 80.2 years for males. Life expectancy at birth is forecast to increase from 80 years to 85 years in 2050 and infant mortality is expected to decline. New Zealand’s fertility rate of 2.1 is relatively high for a developed country, and natural births account for a significant proportion of population growth. Consequently, the country has a young population compared to most industrialized nations, with 20 percent of New Zealanders being 14 years old or younger. By 2050 the population is forecast to reach 5.3 million, the median age to rise from 36 years to 43 years and the percentage of people 60 years of age and older to rise from 18 percent to 29 percent. Despite the high life expectancy, mortality from heart disease is higher in New Zealand than it is in various other developed Western countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Ethnicity and immigration

In the 2013 census, 74.0% of New Zealand residents identified ethnically as European, and 14.9% as Māori. Other major ethnic groups include Asian (11.8%) and Pacific peoples (7.4%). The population has become more diverse in recent decades: in 1961, the census reported that the population of New Zealand was 92 percent European and 7 percent Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities sharing the remaining 1 percent.


Lion dancers perform at the Auckland Lantern Festival.

While the 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 others reject this appellation. The word Pākehā 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 Australian policies. There was also significant Dutch, Dalmatian, Italian, and German immigration, together with indirect European immigration through Australia, North America, South America and South Africa. Following the Great Depression policies were relaxed and migrant diversity increased. 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. Just over 25% of New Zealand’s population was born overseas, with the majority (52%) living in the Auckland region. In the late 2000s, Asia overtook the UK and Ireland as the largest source of overseas migrants; at the 2013 census, 31.6% of overseas-born New Zealand residents were born in Asia (mainly China, India, the Philippines and South Korea), while 26.5% were born in the UK and Ireland. Australia, the Pacific Islands, and South Africa are also significant sources of migrants. 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 98 percent of the population. New Zealand English 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. Hence, the New Zealand pronunciation of words such as “bad”, “dead”, “fish” and “chips” sound like “bed”, “did”, “fush” and “chups” to non-New Zealanders.

After the Second World War, Māori were discouraged 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. It has recently undergone a process of revitalisation, being declared one of New Zealand’s official languages in 1987, and is spoken by 4.1 percent of the population. There are now Māori language immersion schools and two Māori Television channels, the only nationwide television channels to have the majority of their prime-time content delivered in Māori. Many places have both their Māori and English names officially recognised. Samoan is one of the most widely spoken languages in New Zealand (2.3 percent), followed by French, Hindi, Yue (Cantonese, Spoken in Hong Kong) and Northern Chinese. New Zealand Sign Language is used by about 28,000 people. It was declared one of New Zealand’s official languages in 2006.


Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority 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 percent, 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 the adult population 14.2 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 30.4 percent have some form of secondary qualification as their highest qualification and 22.4 percent have no formal qualification. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment ranks New Zealand’s education system as the 7th best in the world, with students performing exceptionally well in reading, mathematics and science.
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A Rātana church

Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its society is among the most secular in the world. In the 2013 Census, 55.0 percent of the population identified with one or more religions, including 49.0 percent identifying as Christians. Another 41.9 percent indicated that they had no religion. The main Christian denominations areRoman Catholicism (12.6 percent), Anglicanism (11.8 percent), Presbyterianism (8.5 percent) and “Christian not further defined” (i.e. people identifying as Christian but not stating the denomination, 5.5 percent). The Māori-based Ringatūand Rātana religions (1.4 percent) are also Christian. Other significant minority religions include Hinduism (2.3 percent), Buddhism (1.5 percent) and Islam (1.2 percent). The indigenous Māori Christians tend to be associated with the Anglican and Catholic churches, while Pacific people tend to be Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic and Latter-day Saint adherents.


140px-KupeWhekeEarly 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 (whanau), sub-tribes (hapu) 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 American, Australian, 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 higher education became more available and cities expanded urban culture began to dominate. Even though the majority of the population now lives in cities, much of New Zealand’s art, literature, film and humour has rural themes.


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 “noble savages”, exotic beauties or friendly natives. The country’s isolation delayed the influence of European artistic trends allowing local artists to developed their own distinctive style of regionalism. During the 1960s and 70s 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.


Portrait of Hinepare of Ngāti Kahungunu by Gottfried Lindauer, showing chin moko,pounamu hei-tiki and woven cloak

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.

Media and entertainment

New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, 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 South-East 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 USA. 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.

Radio first arrived in New Zealand in 1922 and television in 1960. The number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s. In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement. The highest grossing New Zealand movies include: Boy, The World’s Fastest Indian, Once Were Warriors, and Whale Rider. Deregulation in the 1980s saw a sudden increase in the numbers of radio and television stations.

New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming, along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country’s diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives, have encouraged some producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand. The New Zealand media industry is dominated by a small number of companies, most of which are foreign-owned, although the state retains ownership of some television and radio stations. Between 2003 and 2008, Reporters Without Borders consistently ranked New Zealand’s press freedom in the top twenty. As of 2011, New Zealand was ranked 13th worldwide in press freedom by Freedom House, with the 2nd freest media in the Asia-Pacific region after Palau.



A haka performed by the New Zealand national rugby league teambefore a game.

A haka is a war cry by the Maori people with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet

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, netball, tennis and cricket have the highest rates of adult participation, while netball, rugby union and football (soccer) is popular among young people. Around 54 percent 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. Horseracing was also a popular spectator sport and became part of the “Rugby, Racing and Beer” culture during the 1960s. 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 has competitive international teams in rugby union, netball, cricket, rugby league, and softball and has traditionally done well in triathlons, rowing, yachting and cycling. New Zealand participated at the Summer Olympics in 1908 and 1912 as a joint team with Australia, before first participating on its own in 1920. The country has ranked highly on a medals-to-population ratio at recent Games. The All Blacks, the national men’s rugby union team, are the most successful in the history of international rugby and the reigning World Cup champions. New Zealand is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism and strong mountaineering tradition. Other outdoor pursuits such as cycling, fishing, swimming, running, tramping, canoeing, hunting, snow sports and surfing are also popular. The Polynesian sport of waka ama racing has increased in popularity and is now an international sport involving teams from all over the Pacific.
The Emerald Lakes, Mt Tongariro.

October 20, 2015 / by / in
History of New Zealand


The history of New Zealand dates back at least 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture centred on kinship links and land. The first European explorer to sight New Zealand was Abel Janszoon Tasman on 13 December 1642. Captain James Cook, who reached New Zealand in October 1769 on the first of his three voyages, was the first European explorer to circumnavigate and map New Zealand.

From the late 18th century, the country was regularly visited by explorers and other sailors, missionaries, traders and adventurers. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and various Māori chiefs, bringing New Zealand into the British Empire and giving Māori equal rights with British citizens. There was extensive British settlement throughout the rest of the century. War and the imposition of a European economic and legal system led to most of New Zealand’s land passing from Māori to Pākehā (European) ownership, and most Māori subsequently became impoverished.

From the 1890s the New Zealand parliament enacted a number of progressive initiatives, including women’s suffrage and old age pensions. From the 1930s the economy was highly regulated and an extensive welfare state was developed. Meanwhile, Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and from the 1950s Māori began moving to the cities in large numbers. This led to the development of a Māori protest movement which in turn led to greater recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi in the late 20th century. In the 1980s the economy was largely deregulated and a number of socially liberal policies, such as decriminalisation of homosexuality, were put in place. Foreign policy involved support for Britain in the world wars, and close relations after 1940 with the United States and Australia. Foreign policy after 1980 became more independent especially in pushing for a nuclear-free region. Subsequent governments have generally maintained these policies, although tempering the free market ethos somewhat.

Polynesian foundation


Māori whānau from Rotorua in the 1880s. Many aspects of Western life and culture, including European clothing and architecture, became incorporated into Māori society during the 19th century.

New Zealand was originally settled by Polynesians from Eastern Polynesia. The most current reliable evidence strongly indicates that initial settlement of New Zealand occurred around 1280 CE. Previous dating of some Kiore (Polynesian rat) bones at 50 – 150 CE has now been shown to have been unreliable; new samples of bone (and now also of unequivocally rat-gnawed woody seed cases) match the 1280 CE date of the earliest archaeological sites and the beginning of sustained, anthropogenic deforestation.

The descendants of these settlers became known as the Māori, forming a distinct culture of their own. The separate settlement of the tiny Chatham Islands in the east of New Zealand about 1500 CE produced the Moriori people; linguistic evidence indicates that the Moriori were mainland Māori who ventured eastward.

The original settlers quickly exploited the abundant large game in New Zealand, such as moa, large flightless ratites that were pushed to extinction by about 1500. As moa and other large game became scarce or extinct, Māori culture underwent major change, with regional differences. In areas where it was possible to grow taro and kūmara, horticulture became more important. This was not possible in the south of the South Island, but wild plants such as fernroot were often available and cabbage trees were harvested and cultivated for food. Warfare also increased in importance, reflecting increased competition for land and other resources. In this period, fortified pā became more common, although there is debate about the actual frequency of warfare. As elsewhere in the Pacific, cannibalism was part of warfare.

Leadership was based on a system of chieftainship, which was often but not always hereditary, although chiefs (male or female) needed to demonstrate leadership abilities to avoid being superseded by more dynamic individuals. The most important units of pre-European Māori society were the whānau or extended family, and the hapū or group of whānau. After these came the iwi or tribe, consisting of groups of hapū. Related hapū would often trade goods and co-operate on major projects, but conflict between hapū was also relatively common. Traditional Māori society preserved history orally through narratives, songs, and chants; skilled experts could recite the tribal genealogies (whakapapa) back for hundreds of years. Arts included whaikōrero (oratory), song composition in multiple genres, dance forms including haka, as well as weaving, highly developed wood carving, and tā moko (tattoo).

Birds, fish and sea mammals were important sources of protein.  Māori cultivated food plants which they had brought with them from Polynesia, including sweet potatoes (called kūmara), taro, gourds, and yams. They also cultivated the cabbage tree, a plant endemic to New Zealand, and exploited wild foods such as fern root, which provided a starchy paste.

Explorers and other visitors


First map of New Zealand, drawn by Captain James Cook.

The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were the crew of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who arrived in his ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen. Tasman anchored at the northern end of the South Island in Golden Bay (he named it Murderers’ Bay) in December 1642 and sailed northward to Tonga following a clash with local Māori. Tasman sketched sections of the two main islands’ west coasts. Tasman called them Staten Landt, after the States-General of the Netherlands, and that name appeared on his first maps of the country. In 1645 Dutch cartographers changed the name to Nova Zeelandia in Latin, from Nieuw Zeeland, after the Dutch province of Zeeland. It was subsequently Anglicised as New Zealand by British naval captain James Cook of HM Bark Endeavour who visited the islands more than 100 years after Tasman during 1769–1770. Cook returned to New Zealand on both of his subsequent voyages.

Various claims have been made that New Zealand was reached by other non-Polynesian voyagers before Tasman, but these are not widely accepted. Peter Trickett, for example, argues in Beyond Capricorn that the Portuguese explorer Cristóvão de Mendonça reached New Zealand in the 1520s, and the Tamil bell discovered by missionary William Colenso has given rise to a number of theories, but historians generally believe the bell ‘is not in itself proof of early Tamil contact with New Zealand’.

From the 1790s, the waters around New Zealand were visited by British, French and American whaling, sealing and trading ships. Their crews traded European goods, including guns and metal tools, for Māori food, water, wood, flax and sex. Māori were reputed to be enthusiastic and canny traders. Although there were some conflicts, such as the killing of French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne and the destruction of the Boyd, most contact between Māori and European was peaceful. From the early 19th century missionaries began settling in New Zealand and attempting to convert Māori to Christianity and control the considerably lawless European visitors.

Māori response

The effect of contact on Māori varied. In some inland areas life went on more or less unchanged, although a European metal tool such as a fish-hook or hand axe might be acquired through trade with other tribes. At the other end of the scale, tribes that frequently encountered Europeans, such as Ngā Puhi in Northland, underwent major changes.

Pre-European Māori had no distance weapons except for tao (spears) and the introduction of the musket had an enormous impact on Māori warfare. Tribes with muskets would attack tribes without them, killing or enslaving many. As a result, guns became very valuable and Māori would trade huge quantities of goods for a single musket. For over two decades the Musket Wars raged until a new balance of power was achieved after most tribes had acquired muskets. In 1835, the peaceful Moriori of the Chatham Islands were attacked, enslaved, and nearly exterminated by mainland Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama Māori. In the 1901 census, only 35 Moriori were recorded although the numbers subsequently increased.

Around this time, many Māori converted to Christianity. The reasons for this have been hotly debated, and may include social and cultural disruption caused by the Musket Wars and European contact. Other factors may have been the appeal of a religion that promotes peace and forgiveness, a desire to emulate the Europeans and to gain a similar abundance of material goods, and the Māori’s polytheistic culture that easily accepted the new God.

European settlement

European settlement increased through the early decades of the 19th century, with numerous trading stations established, especially in the North. The first full-blooded European infant in the territory, Thomas King, was born in 1815 in the Bay of Islands. Kerikeri, founded in 1822, and Bluff founded in 1823, both claim to be the oldest European settlements in New Zealand.

Many Europeans bought land from Māori, but misunderstanding and different concepts of land ownership led to conflict and bitterness. In 1839, the New Zealand Company announced plans to buy large tracts of land and establish colonies in New Zealand. This alarmed the missionaries, who called for British control of European settlers in New Zealand.

British sovereignty

In 1788 the colony of New South Wales had been founded. According to Captain Phillip’s amended Commission, dated 25 April 1787, the colony included all the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean within the latitudes of 10°37’S and 43°39’S which included most of New Zealand except for the southern half of the South Island. In 1825 with Van Diemen’s Land becoming a separate colony, the southern boundary of New South Wales was altered to the islands adjacent in the Pacific Ocean with a southern boundary of 39°12’S which included only the northern half of the North Island. However, these boundaries had no real impact as the New South Wales administration had little interest in New Zealand.

In response to complaints about lawless sailors and adventurers in New Zealand, the British government appointed James Busby as Official Resident in 1832. In 1834 he encouraged Māori chiefs to assert their sovereignty with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1835. This was acknowledged by King William IV. Busby was provided with neither legal authority nor military support and was thus ineffective in controlling the European population.

Treaty of Waitangi

In 1839, the New Zealand Company announced its plans to establish colonies in New Zealand. This, and the continuing lawlessness of many of the established settlers, spurred the British to take stronger action. Captain William Hobson was sent to New Zealand to persuade Māori to cede their sovereignty to the British Crown. In reaction to the New Zealand Company’s moves, on 15 June 1839 a new Letters patent was issued to expand the territory of New South Wales to include all of New Zealand. Governor of New South Wales George Gipps was appointed Governor over New Zealand. This was the first clear expression of British intent to annex New Zealand.

On 6 February 1840, Hobson and about forty Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Copies of the Treaty were subsequently taken around the country to be signed by other chiefs. A significant number refused to sign or were not asked but, in total, more than five hundred Māori eventually signed.

The Treaty gave Māori sovereignty over their lands and possessions and all of the rights of British citizens. What it gave the British in return depends on the language-version of the Treaty that is referred to. The English version can be said to give the British Crown sovereignty over New Zealand but in the Māori version the Crown receives kawanatanga, which, arguably, is a lesser power (see interpretations of the Treaty). Dispute over the true meaning and the intent of either party remains an issue.

Britain was motivated by the desire to forestall other European powers (France established a very small settlement at Akaroa in the South Island later in 1840), to facilitate settlement by British subjects and, possibly, to end the lawlessness of European (predominantly British and American) whalers, sealers and traders. Officials and missionaries had their own positions and reputations to protect.

Māori chiefs were motivated by a desire for protection from foreign powers, the establishment of governorship over European settlers and traders in New Zealand, and to allow for wider settlement that would increase trade and prosperity for Māori.

Hobson died in September 1842. Robert FitzRoy, the new governor, took some legal steps to recognise Māori custom. However, his successor, George Grey, promoted rapid cultural assimilation and reduction of the land ownership, influence and rights of the Māori. The practical effect of the Treaty was, in the beginning, only gradually felt, especially in predominantly Māori regions.

Colonial period

The European population of New Zealand grew explosively from fewer than 1000 in 1831 to 500,000 by 1881. Some 400,000 settlers came from Britain, of whom 300,000 stayed permanently. Most were young people and 250,000 babies were born. The passage of 120,000 was paid by the colonial government. After 1880 immigration slacked off and growth was due chiefly to the excess of births over deaths.

Administered at first as a part of the Australian colony of New South Wales, New Zealand became a colony in its own right on 1 July 1841. It was divided into three provinces that were reorganised in 1846 and in 1853, when they acquired their own legislatures, and then abolished in 1876. The country rapidly gained some measure of self-government through the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, which established central and provincial government.

The Maori tribes at first sold the land to the settlers, but the government voided the sales in 1840. Now only the government was allowed to purchase land from the Maori, who received cash. The government bought practically all the useful land, then resold it to the New Zealand Company, which promoted immigration, or leased it for sheep runs. The Company resold the best tracts to British settlers; its profits were used to pay the travel of the immigrants from Britain.

Because of the vast distances involved, the first settlers were self-sufficient farmers. By the 1840s, however, large scale sheep ranches were exporting large quantities of wool to the textile mills of England. Most of the first settlers were brought over by a programme operated by the New Zealand Company (inspired by Edward Gibbon Wakefield) and were located in the central region on either side of Cook Strait, and at Wellington, Wanganui, New Plymouth and Nelson. These settlements had access to some of the richest plains in the country and after refrigerated ships appeared in 1882, they developed into closely settled regions of small-scale farming. Outside these compact settlements were the sheep runs. Pioneer pastoralists, often men with experience as squatters in Australia, leased lands from the government at the annual rate of £5 plus £1 for each 1,000 sheep above the first 5,000. The leases were renewed automatically, which gave the wealthy pastoralists a strong landed interest and made them a powerful political force. In all between 1856 and 1876, 8.1 million acres were sold for £7.6 million, and 2.2 million acres were given free to soldiers, sailors and settlers.

Gold discoveries in Otago (1861) and Westland (1865), caused a worldwide gold rush that more than doubled the population in a short period, from 71,000 in 1859 to 164,000 in 1863. The value of trade increased fivefold from £2 million to £10 million. As the gold boom ended Premier Julius Vogel borrowed money from British investors and launched in 1870 an ambitious programme of public works and infrastructure investment, together with a policy of assisted immigration. Successive governments expanded the program with offices across Britain that enticed settlers and gave them and their families one-way tickets.

Wakefield’s vision

British writer Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862) exerted a far-reaching influence. His plans for systematic British colonization focused on a free labour system, in contrast to slavery that existed in the United States and convict labour in Australia. Inspired by evangelical religion and abolitionism, Wakefield’s essays (1829 to 1849), condemned both slavery and indentured and convict labour, as immoral, unjust, and inefficient. Instead, he proposed a government sponsored system in which the price of farm land was set at a high enough level to prevent urban workers from easily purchasing it and thus leaving the labour market. His colonisation programs were over-elaborate and operated on a much smaller scale than he hoped for, but his ideas influenced law and culture, especially his vision for the colony as the embodiment of post-Enlightenment ideals, the notion of New Zealand as a model society, and the sense of fairness in employer-employee relations.


Although norms of masculinity were dominant, strong minded women originated a feminist movement starting in the 1860s, well before women gained the right to vote in 1893. Middle class women employed the media (especially newspapers) to communicate with each other and define their priorities. Prominent feminist writers included Mary Taylor, Mary Colclough (pseud. Polly Plum), and Ellen Ellis. The first signs of a politicized collective female identity came in crusades to pass the Contagious Diseases Prevention Act.

Feminists by the 1880s were using the rhetoric of “white slavery” to reveal men’s sexual and social oppression of women. By demanding that men take responsibility for the right of women to walk the streets in safety, New Zealand feminists deployed the rhetoric of white slavery to argue for women’s sexual and social freedom. Middle class women successfully mobilized to stop prostitution, especially during the First World War.

Maori women developed their own form of feminism, derived from Maori nationalism rather than European sources.

In 1893 Elizabeth Yates was elected mayor of Onehunga; an able administrator, she cut the debt, reorganised the fire brigade, and improved the roads and sanitation. Many men were hostile and she was defeated for reelection. Hutching argues that after 1890 women were increasingly well organized through the National Council of Women, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Women’s International League, and the Housewives Union, and others. By 1910 they were campaigning for peace, and against compulsory military training, and conscription. They demanded arbitration and the peaceful resolution of international disputes. The women argued that womenhood (thanks to motherhood) was the repository of superior moral values and concerns and from their domestic experience they knew best how to resolve conflicts


Before 1877 numerous schools were operated by the provincial government or churches, or by private subscription. No one was required to attend and many children did not attend any school, especially farm children whose labour was important to the family economy. The quality of education varied widely amongst those providing it. The Education Act 1877 established New Zealand’s first free national system of primary education. It established standards of quality of education, and reduce the secular influence on education. It became compulsory for children from ages 5 to 15 to attend primary school.



“First Scottish Colony for New Zealand” — 1839 poster advertising emigration from Scotland to New Zealand. Collection of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.

From 1840 there was considerable European settlement, primarily from England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland; and to a lesser extent the United States, India, and various parts of continental Europe, including the province of Dalmatia in what is now Croatia, and Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic. Already a majority of the population by 1859, the number of white settlers (called Pākehā by Māori) increased rapidly to reach a million by 1911.

In the 1870s and 1880s, several thousand Chinese men, mostly from Guangdong province, migrated to New Zealand to work on the South Island goldfields. Although the first Chinese migrants had been invited by the Otago Provincial government they quickly became the target of hostility from white settlers and laws were enacted specifically to discourage them from coming to New Zealand

Māori adaptation and resistance

Māori had welcomed Pākehā for the trading opportunities and guns they brought. However it soon became clear that they had underestimated the number of settlers that would arrive in their lands. Iwi (tribes) whose land was the base of the main settlements quickly lost much of their land and autonomy through government acts. Others prospered—until about 1860 the city of Auckland bought most of its food from Māori who grew and sold it themselves. Many iwi owned flour mills, ships and other items of European technology, some exported food to Australia. Although race relations were generally peaceful in this period, there were conflicts over who had ultimate power in particular areas—the Governor or the Māori chiefs. One such conflict was the Northern or Flagstaff War of the 1840s, during which the town of Kororareka was destroyed.

As the Pākehā population grew, pressure grew on Māori to sell more land. A few tribes had become nearly landless and others feared losing their lands. Land is not only an economic resource, but also the basis of Māori identity and a connection with their ancestors. Land was held communally, it was not given up without discussion and consultation—or loss during warfare.

Pākehā had little understanding of all that and accused Māori of holding onto land they did not use efficiently. Competition for land was a primary cause of the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, in which the Taranaki and Waikato regions were invaded by colonial troops and Māori of these regions had much of their land taken from them. The wars and confiscation left bitterness that remains to this day.

Some iwi sided with the government and, later, fought with the government. They were motivated partly by the thought that an alliance with the government would benefit them, and partly by old feuds with the iwi they fought against. One result of their co-operation strategy was the establishment of the four Māori seats in parliament, in 1867.

After the wars, some Māori began a strategy of passive resistance, most famously at Parihaka in Taranaki. Others continued co-operating with Pākehā. For example, tourism ventures were established by Te Arawa around Rotorua. Resisting and co-operating iwi both found that the Pākehā desire for land remained. In the last decades of the century, most iwi lost substantial amounts of land through the activities of the Native Land Court. This was set up to give Māori land European-style titles and to establish exactly who owned it. Due to its Eurocentric rules, the high fees, its location remote from the lands in question, and unfair practices by many Pākehā land agents, its main effect was to directly or indirectly separate Māori from their land.

The combination of war, confiscations, disease, assimilation and intermarriage, land loss leading to poor housing and alcohol abuse, and general disillusionment, caused a fall in the Māori population from around 86,000 in 1769 to around 70,000 in 1840 and around 48,000 by 1874, hitting a low point of 42,000 in 1896. Subsequently their numbers began to recover.

South Island


The settlement of English in the North Island and northern South Island and Scottish in the Deep South is reflected in the dominance of Anglicanism and Presbyterianism in the respective regions.

While the North Island was convulsed by the Land Wars, the South Island, with its low Māori population, was generally peaceful. In 1861 gold was discovered at Gabriel’s Gully in Central Otago, sparking a gold rush. Dunedin became the wealthiest city in the country and many in the South Island resented financing the North Island’s wars. In 1865 Parliament defeated a proposal to make the South Island independent by 17 to 31.

The South Island contained most of the Pākehā population until around 1900 when the North Island again took the lead and has supported an ever greater majority of the country’s total population through the 20th century and into the 21st.

Scottish immigrants dominated the South Island and evolved ways to bridge the old homeland and the new. Many local Caledonian societies were formed. They organized sports teams to entice the young and preserved an idealized Scottish national myth (based on Robert Burns) for the elderly. They gave Scots a path to assimilation and cultural integration as Scottish New Zealanders.



The prewar era saw the advent of party politics, with the establishment of the First Liberal government. The landed gentry and aristocracy ruled Britain at this time. New Zealand never had an aristocracy but it did have wealthy landowners who largely controlled politics before 1891. The Liberal Party set out to change that by a policy it called “populism.” Richard Seddon had proclaimed the goal as early as 1884: “It is the rich and the poor; it is the wealthy and the landowners against the middle and labouring classes. That, Sir, shows the real political position of New Zealand.” The Liberal strategy was to create a large class of small land-owning farmers who supported Liberal ideals. The First Liberal government also established the basis of the later welfare state, with old age pensions, developed a system for settling industrial disputes, which was accepted by both employers and trade unions. In 1893 it extended voting rights to women, making New Zealand the first country in the world to enact universal female suffrage.

To obtain land for farmers the Liberal government from 1891 to 1911 purchased 3.1 million acres of Maori land. The government also purchased 1.3 million acres from large estate holders for subdivision and closer settlement by small farmers. The Advances to Settlers Act of 1894 provided low-interest mortgages, while the Agriculture Department disseminated information on the best farming methods.

The 1909 Native Land Act allowed the Maori to sell land to private buyers. By 1920 Maori still owned five million acres by 1920; they leased three million acres and used one million acres for themselves. The Liberals proclaimed success in forging an egalitarian, antimonopoly land policy. The policy built up support for the Liberal party in rural North Island electorates. By 1903 the Liberals were so dominant that there was no longer an organized opposition in Parliament.

New Zealand gained international attention for its reforms, especially how the state regulated labour relations. Of special note were innovations in the areas of maximum hour regulations, minimum wage laws, and compulsory arbitration procedures. The goal was to encourage unions but discourage strikes and class conflict. The impact was especially strong on the reform movement in the United States.

Coleman argues that the Liberals in 1891 lacked a clearcut ideology to guide them. Instead they approached the nation’s problems pragmatically, keeping in mind the constraints imposed by democratic public opinion. To deal with the issue of land distribution, they worked out innovative solutions to access, tenure, and a graduated tax on unimproved values.


Major changes occurred during this decade. The economy grew from one based on wool and local trade to the export of wool, cheese, butter and frozen beef and mutton to Britain, a change enabled by the invention of refrigerated steamships in 1882. Refrigerated shipping remained the basis of New Zealand’s economy until the 1970s. New Zealand’s highly productive agriculture gave it probably the world’s highest standard of living, with fewer at the rich and poor ends of the scale.

In the 1880–1914 era the banking system was weak and there was little foreign investment, so businessmen had to build up their own capital. Historians have debated whether the “long depression” of the late 19th century stifled investment, but the New Zealanders found a way around adverse conditions. Hunter has studied the experiences of 133 entrepreneurs who started commercial enterprises between 1880 and 1910. The successful strategy was to deploy capital economizing techniques, and reinvesting profits rather than borrowing. The result was slow but stable growth that avoided bubbles and led to long-lived family owned firms.

Dominion and Realm

New Zealand initially expressed interest in joining the proposed Federation of the Australian colonies, attending the 1891 National Australia Convention in Sydney. Interest in the proposed Australian Federation faded and New Zealand decided against joining the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, and instead changed from being a colony to a separate “dominion” in 1907, equal in status to Australia and Canada


In New Zealand, prohibition was a moralistic reform movement begun in the mid-1880s by the Protestant evangelical and Nonconformist churches and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and after 1890 by the Prohibition League. It never achieved its goal of national prohibition. It was a middle-class movement which accepted the existing economic and social order; the effort to legislate morality assumed that individual redemption was all that was needed to carry the colony forward from a pioneering society to a more mature one. However, both the Church of England and the largely Irish Catholic Church rejected prohibition as an intrusion of government into the church’s domain, while the growing labour movement saw capitalism rather than alcohol as the enemy. Reformers hoped that the women’s vote, in which New Zealand was a pioneer, would swing the balance, but the women were not as well organized as in other countries. Prohibition had a majority in a national referendum in 1911, but needed a 60% majority to pass. The movement kept trying in the 1920s, losing three more referenda by close votes; it managed to keep in place a 6pm closing hour for pubs and Sunday closing. The Depression and war years effectively ended the movement.

First World War

The country remained an enthusiastic member of the British Empire, and 100,000 men fought in World War I (see New Zealand Expeditionary Force). New Zealand forces took Western Samoa from Germany in the early stages of the war, and New Zealand administered the country until Samoan Independence in 1962. The heroism of the soldiers in the failed Gallipoli campaign made their sacrifices iconic in New Zealand memory, and secured the psychological independence of the nation.


After the war New Zealand signed the Treaty of Versailles (1919) joined the League of Nations and pursued an independent foreign policy, while its defense was still controlled by Britain. New Zealand depended on Britain’s Royal Navy for its military security during the 1920s and 1930s. Officials in Wellington trusted Conservative Party governments in London, but not Labour. When the British Labour Party took power in 1924 and 1929, the New Zealand government felt threatened by Labour’s foreign policy because of its reliance upon the League of Nations. The League was distrusted and Wellington did not expect to see the coming of a peaceful world order under League auspices. What had been the Empire’s most loyal dominion became a dissenter as it opposed efforts the first and second British Labour governments to trust the League’s framework of arbitration and collective security agreements.

The governments of the Reform and United parties between 1912 and 1935 followed a “realistic” foreign policy. They made national security a high priority, were skeptical of international institutions, and showed no interest on the questions of self-determination, democracy, and human rights. However the opposition Labour Party was more idealistic and proposed a liberal internationalist outlook on international affairs.

The Labour Party emerged as a force in 1919 with a Socialist platform. Its won about 25% of the vote. However its appeals to working class solidarity were not effective because a large fraction of the working class voted for conservative candidates of the Liberal and Reform parties. (They merged in 1936 to form the National Party.) As a consequence the Labour party was able to jettison its support for socialism in 1927 (a policy made official in 1951), as it expanded its reach into middle class constituencies. The result was an jump in strength to 35% in 1931, 47% in 1935, and peaking at 56% in 1938. From 1935 the First Labour Government showed a limited degree of idealism in foreign policy, for example opposing the appeasement of Germany and Japan.


Like most other countries, New Zealand was hard hit by the Great Depression of the 1930s, which affected the country via its international trade, with farming export drops then going on to affect the money supply and in turn consumption, investment and imports. The country was most affected around 1930-1932, when average farm incomes for a short time dipped below zero, and the unemployment rates peaked. Though actual unemployment numbers were not officially counted, the country was affected especially strongly in the North Island.

Unlike later years, there were no public benefit (‘dole’) payments — the unemployed were given ‘relief work’, much of which was however not very productive, partly because the size of the problem was unprecedented. Women also increasingly registered as unemployed, while Maori received government help through other channels such as the land development schemes organised by Apirana Ngata. In 1933, 8.5% of the unemployed were organised in work camps, while the rest received work close to their homes. Typical occupations in relief work were road work (undertaken by 45% of all part-time and 19% of all full-time relief workers in 1934, with park improvement works (17%) and farm work (31%) being the other two most common types of work for part-time and full-time relief workers respectively)

Labour in power

Attempts by the conservative Liberal-Reform coalition to deal with the situation with spending cuts and relief work were ineffective and unpopular. In 1935, the First Labour Government was elected, and the post-depression decade showed that average Labour support in New Zealand had roughly doubled comparable to pre-depression times. By 1935 economic conditions had improved somewhat, and the new government had more positive financial conditions. Savage proclaimed that, “Social Justice must be the guiding principle and economic organization must adapt itself to social needs.”

The new government quickly set about implementing a number of significant reforms, including a reorganisation of the social welfare system and the creation of the state housing scheme. Labour also gained Maori votes by working closely with the Rātana movement. Savage was idolized by the working classes, and his portrait hung on the walls of many houses around the country. The newly created welfare state promised government support to individuals “From the cradle to the grave,” according to the Labour slogan. It included free health care and education and state assistance for the elderly, infirm, and unemployed. The opposition attacked the Labour Party’s more left-wing policies, and accused it of undermining free enterprise and hard work. The Reform Party and the United Party merged to become the National Party, and would be Labour’s main rival in future years. However the welfare state system was retained and expanded by successive National and Labour governments until the 1980s

Second World War

When World War II broke out in 1939, New Zealanders saw their proper role as defending their proud place in the British Empire. It contributed some 120,000 troops. They mostly fought in North Africa, Greece/Crete, and Italy, relying on the Royal Navy and later the United States to protect New Zealand from the Japanese forces. Japan had no interest in New Zealand in the first place; it had already overreached when it invaded New Guinea in 1942. (There were a few highly publicized but ineffective Japanese scouting incursions.) The 3rd New Zealand Division fought in the Solomons in 1943-44, but New Zealand’s limited manpower meant 2 Divisions could not be maintained, and it was disbanded and its men returned to civilian life or used to reinforce the 2nd Division in Italy. Cooperation with the United States set a direction of policy which resulted in the ANZUS Treaty between New Zealand, America and Australia in 1951, as well as participation in the Korean War.

Fedorowich and Bridge argue that the demands of War produced long-term consequences the relationship with the government in London. The key component was the office of the high commissioner. By 1950 it was the main line of communications between the British and New Zealand governments.

Montgomerie shows that the war dramatically increased the roles of women, especially married women, in the labour force. Most of them took traditional female jobs. Some replaced men but the changes here were temporary and reversed in 1945. After the war, women left traditional male occupations and many women gave up paid employment to return home. There was no radical change in gender roles but the war intensified occupational trends under way since the 1920s


Mainstream New Zealand culture was deeply British and conservative, with the concept of “fairness” holding a central role. From the 1890s, the economy had been based almost entirely on the export of frozen meat and dairy products to Britain, and in 1961, the share of New Zealand exports going to the United Kingdom was still at slightly over 51%, with approximately 15% more going to other European countries. This system was irreparably damaged by Britain joining the European Economic Community in 1973, at a time of global economic upheaval regarding energy prices. Britain’s accession to the European Community forced New Zealand to not only find new markets, but also re-examine its national identity and place in the world.

Maori urbanisation

Māori always had a high birth rate; that was neutralized by a high death rate until modern public health measures became effective in the 20th century when tuberculosis deaths and infant mortality declined sharply. Life expectancy grew from 49 years in 1926 to 60 years in 1961 and the total numbers grew rapidly. Many Māori served in the Second World War and learned how to cope in the modern urban world; others moved from their rural homes to the cities to take up jobs vacated by Pākehā servicemen. The shift to the cities was also caused by their strong birth rates in the early 20th century, with the existing rural farms in Māori ownership having increasing difficulty in providing enough jobs. Māori culture had meanwhile undergone a renaissance thanks in part to politician Apirana Ngata. World War II saw the beginning of a mass Māori migration to the cities, and by the 1980s 80% of the Māori population was urban, in contrast to only 20% before the war. The migration led to better pay, higher standards of living and longer schooling, but also exposed problems of racism and discrimination. By the late 1960s, a protest movement had emerged to combat racism, promote Māori culture and seek fulfilment of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Urbanisation proceeded rapidly across the land. In the late 1940s, town planners noted that the country was “possibly the third most urbanised country in the world”, with two thirds of the population living in cities or towns. There was also increasing concern that this trend was badly managed, with it being noted that there was an “ill-defined urban pattern that appears to have few of the truly desirable urban qualities and yet manifests no compensating rural characteristics.”

The “Muldoon years”: 1975–1984

The country’s economy suffered in the aftermath of the 1973 global energy crisis, the loss of New Zealand’s biggest export market upon Britain’s entry to the European Economic Community, and rampant inflation. Robert Muldoon, Prime Minister from 1975 to 1984, and his Third National government responded to the crises of the 1970s by attempting to preserve the New Zealand of the 1950s. He attempted to maintain New Zealand’s “cradle to the grave” welfare state, which dated to 1935. His government sought to give retirees 80% of the current wage, which would require large-scale borrowing; critics said it would bankrupt the treasury. Muldoon’s response to the crisis also involved imposing a total freeze on wages, prices, interest rates and dividends across the national economy. His conservatism and antagonistic style exacerbated an atmosphere of conflict in New Zealand, most violently expressed during the 1981 Springbok Tour. In the 1984 elections Labour promised to calm down the increasing tensions, while making no specific promises; it scored a landslide victory.

However, Muldoon’s Government was not entirely backward looking. Some innovations did take place, for example the Closer Economic Relations (CER) free-trade programme with Australia to liberalise trade, starting in 1982. The aim of total free trade between the two countries was achieved in 1990, five years ahead of schedule. Also, in 1983 the term “dominion” was replaced with “realm” by letters patent.

Contemporary history

In 1984, the Fourth Labour government was elected amid a constitutional and economic crisis. Unexpectedly, the Labour government between 1984-1990 launched a major policy of restructuring the economy radically reducing the role of government. A political scientist reports:

“Between 1984 and 1993, New Zealand underwent radical economic reform, moving from what had probably been the most protected, regulated and state-dominated system of any capitalist democracy to an extreme position at the open, competitive, free-market end of the spectrum.”

The economic reforms were led by finance minister Roger Douglas (finance minister (1984-1988), who enacted fundamental, radically neo-liberal and unexpectedly pro-free market reforms known as Rogernomics. This involved removing many of the favours and barriers that had long insulated the economy from world trends. It involved floating the New Zealand dollar, cutting government spending, reducing most taxes and introducing a sales tax (GST), and removing most subsidies. Rogernomics resembled the contemporaneous policies of Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the U.S. Rogernomics was a rapid programme of deregulation and public-asset sales. Subsidies were phased out to farmers and consumers. High finance was partly deregulated. Restrictions on foreign exchange were relaxed and the dollar was allowed to float and seek its natural level on the world market. The tax on high incomes was cut in half from 65% to 33%. The shares exchange entered a bubble, which then burst. Shares had a total value of $50 billion in 1987 and only $15 billion in 1991; Belich says that at one point the crash was “the worst in world.” Overall the economic growth fell from 2% a year to 1%.

Strong criticism of Rogernomics came from the left, especially from Labour’s traditional union and leftist support-base; Lange broke with Douglas’s policies in 1987; both men were forced out and Labour was in confusion.

Other fourth Labour government innovations included greater recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi through the Waitangi Tribunal, Homosexual Law Reform, the Constitution Act 1986 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights.

The Fourth Labour Government also revolutionised New Zealand’s foreign policy, making the country a nuclear-free zone and effectively leaving the ANZUS alliance. Immigration policy was liberalised, allowing an influx of immigrants from Asia. Previously most immigrants to New Zealand had been European and especially British, apart from some migrants from other Pacific Islands such as Samoa

Continuing reform under National

Voters unhappy with the rapid speed and far-reaching extent of reforms elected a National government in 1990, led by Jim Bolger. However the new government continued the economic reforms of the previous Labour government, in what was known as Ruthanasia. Unhappy with what seemed to be a pattern of governments failing to reflect the mood of the electorate, New Zealanders in 1992 and 1993 voted to change the electoral system to Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), a form of proportional representation. New Zealand’s first MMP election was held in 1996. Following the election National was returned to power in coalition with the New Zealand First Party.

With the end of the Cold War in 1991, the nation’s foreign policy turned increasingly to issues of its nuclear-free status and other military issues; its adjustment to neoliberalism in international trade relations; and its involvement in humanitarian, environmental, and other matters of international diplomacy.

21st century

The Fifth Labour government led by Helen Clark was elected in 1999. It maintained most of the previous governments’ economic reforms — restricting government intervention in the economy much more so than previous governments — while putting more of an emphasis on social policy and outcomes. For example, employment law was modified to give more protection to workers, and the student loan system was changed to eliminate interest payments for New Zealand resident students and graduates. Helen Clark’s Labour government remained in power for nine years before being replaced in 2008 by New Zealand’s Fifth National government led by John Key.

New Zealand retains strong but informal links to Britain, with many young New Zealanders travelling to Britain for their “OE” (overseas experience) due to favourable working visa arrangements with Britain. Despite New Zealand’s immigration liberalisation in the 1980s, Britons are still the largest group of migrants to New Zealand, due in part to recent immigration law changes which privilege fluent speakers of English. One constitutional link to Britain remains — New Zealand’s head of State, the Queen in Right of New Zealand, is a British resident. However, British imperial honours were discontinued in 1996, the Governor-General has taken a more active role in representing New Zealand overseas, and appeals from the Court of Appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council were replaced by a local Supreme Court of New Zealand in 2003. There is public debate about whether New Zealand should become a republic, and public sentiment is divided on the issue.

Foreign policy has been essentially independent since the mid-1980s. Under Prime Minister Clark, foreign policy reflected the priorities of liberal internationalism. She stressed the promotion of democracy and human rights; the strengthening of the role of the United Nations; the advancement of anti-militarism and disarmament; and the encouragement of free trade. She sent troops to the Afghanistan War, but did not contribute combat troops to the Iraq War although some medical and engineering units were sent.

John Key led the National Party to victory in both the November 2008 and the November 2011 general elections. Key leads the Fifth National Government of New Zealand which entered government at the beginning of the late-2000s recession in 2008. In his first term, Key’s government implemented a GST rise and personal tax cuts. In February 2011, a major earthquake in Christchurch, the nation’s second largest city, significantly impacted the national economy and the government formed the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in response. In its second term, Key’s government announced a policy of partial privatisation of state-owned assets. In foreign policy, Key announced the withdrawal of New Zealand Defence Force personnel from their deployment in the war in Afghanistan, signed the Wellington Declaration with the United States and pushed for more nations to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership.

Tourism and agriculture are now the major industries that contribute to New Zealand’s economy. The traditional agricultural products of meat, dairy and wool has been supplemented by other products such as fruit, wine and timber.

Credit Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

September 23, 2015 / by / in , ,
The New Zealand Flag


The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars represent the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.

The flag of New Zealand outside theBeehive in Wellington.

New Zealand’s first flag, the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, was adopted before New Zealand became a British colony. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs in 1834, the flag was of a St George’s Cross with another cross in the canton containing four stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1841, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for restricted use in 1869 and became the national flag in 1902. It is the British Blue Ensign, incorporating a stylised representation of the Southern Cross showing the four brightest stars in the constellation. Each star varies slightly in size. The Union Flag in the canton recalls New Zealand’s colonial ties to Britain. The flag proportion is 1:2 and the colours are red (Pantone 186C), blue (Pantone 280C) and white. Proportion and colours are identical to the Union Flag.


Flag of the United Tribes

220px-The_flag_post_by_the_treaty_house_-_WaitangiThe flag pole at Waitangi, flying (left – right) the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, the Ensign of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Union Flag, 5 February 2006.

The need for a flag of New Zealand first became clear when the trading ship Sir George Murray, built in the Hokianga, was seized by Customs officials in the port of Sydney. The ship had been sailing without a flag, a violation of British navigation laws. New Zealand was not a colony at the time and had no flag. Among the passengers on the ship were two high-ranking Māori chiefs, believed to be Patuone and Taonui. The ship’s detainment was reported as arousing indignation among the Māori population. Unless a flag was selected, ships would continue to be seized. The first flag of New Zealand was adopted 9 March 1834 by a vote made by the United Tribes of New Zealand, a meeting of Māori chiefs convened at Waitangi by British resident James Busby. The United Tribes later made theDeclaration of Independence of New Zealand at Waitangi in 1835.

Three flags were proposed, all designed by the missionary Henry Williams, who was to play a major role in the translation of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The chiefs rejected two other proposals which included the Union Flag, in favour of a modified St George’s Cross or theWhite Ensign, which was the flag used by Henry Williams on the Church Missionary Society ships. This flag became known as the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand  and was officially gazetted in New South Wales in August 1835, with a general description not mentioning fimbriation or the number of points on the stars.a The need for a flag was pressing, not only because New Zealand-built ships were being impounded in Sydney for not flying a national flag, but also as a symbol of the independence declared by the Māori chiefs. The flag is still flown on the flag pole at Waitangi, and can be seen on Waitangi Day.

Flag of the United Tribes
Proposed flag of New Zealand 1834
Proposed flag not adopted by Māori; it included the Union Flag and lacked sufficient red.
The Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand.
Initial design of the United Tribes flag.
Initial design of the United Tribes flag.
The Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand.

Union Flag

After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the British Union Flag was used, although the former United Tribes flag was still used by a number of ships from New Zealand and in many cases on land. The New Zealand Company settlement at Wellington, for example, continued to use the United Tribes flag until ordered to replace it by Governor William Hobson in May 1840 (following his declaration of British sovereignty).

Flags based on defaced Blue ensign


First Lieutenant Albert Hastings Markham, designer of the Flag of New Zealand.

The first flag of New Zealand to be based on the British blue ensign was introduced in 1867 following the Colonial Navy Defence Act 1865, which required all ships owned by colonial governments fly the defaced Royal Navy blue ensign with a Colonial badge. New Zealand did not have a Colonial badge, or indeed a Coat of Arms of its own at this stage, and so the letters “NZ” were simply added to the blue ensign. In 1869 the First Lieutenant of the Royal Navy vessel HMS Blanche, Albert Hastings Markham, submitted a design to Sir George Bowen, the Governor of New Zealand, for a national ensign for New Zealand. It was initially used only on government ships, but was adopted as the de facto national flag in a surge of patriotism arising from the Second Boer War in 1902. To end confusion between various designs of the flag, the Liberal Government passed the Ensign and Code Signals Bill, which was approved by King Edward VII on 24 March 1902, declaring the flag as New Zealand’s national flag. The United Tribes flag design also features on the back of the Second Boer War medals presented to soldiers who served in the war, which indicates that the United Tribes flag was used widely in New Zealand until around this time.

Flags based on defaced Blue ensign
The Blue Ensign.
The Blue Ensign.
The flag of New Zealand, 1867–1869.
The flag of New Zealand, 1867–1869.
Code Signals Flag, 1899.
Code Signals Flag, 1899.[11]


The national flag is defined in legislation as “the symbol of the Realm, Government, and people of New Zealand” and like most other laws, can be changed by a simple majority in Parliament.

Entrenchment proposal

In March 1994 the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jim Bolger made statements supporting a move towards a New Zealand republic. In response Christian Democrat MP Graeme Lee introduced a Flags, Anthems, Emblems, and Names Protection Amendment Bill. If passed, the Bill would have entrenched the Act that governs the flag and added New Zealand’s anthems, requiring a majority of 65 percent of votes in Parliament before any future legislation could change the flag. The Bill passed its first reading but was defeated at its second reading, 26 votes to 37.

New Zealand flag debate

220px-Koru_flag.svgThe “Koru Flag” from 1983 by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, one of many proposals for an alternative flag
Debate on keeping or changing the New Zealand Flag started before May 1973, when a remit to change the flag was voted down by the Labour Party at their national conference. In November 1979 when the Minister of Internal Affairs, Allan Highet, suggested that the design of the flag should be changed, and sought an artist to design a new flag with a silver fern on the fly.

The proposal attracted little support however. In 1998 Prime Minister Jenny Shipley backed Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler’s call for the flag to be changed. Shipley, along with the New Zealand Tourism Board, backed the quasi-national silver fern flag, using a white silver fern on a black background as a possible alternative flag, along the lines of the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag. On 5 August 2010 Labour list MPCharles Chauvel introduced a members Bill for a consultative commission followed by a referendum on the New Zealand flag.[

Similar flags

The New Zealand flag was the first national flag to incorporate the stars of the Southern Cross constellation, and remains distinctive as the only national flag that includes only those stars from the constellation that actually form the cross itself. The newer Australian flag is a variant of the flag of New Zealand, both having the Union Flag in the canton and the Southern Cross on the fly. The cross on the New Zealand flag is composed of the four prime stars of the Southern Cross constellation, each being a red five pointed star with a white outline. The Australian flag has six white stars, five of which have seven points (the Commonwealth Star) and a five pointed star, Epsilon Crucis, the smaller star of the Southern Cross constellation which does not form part of the actual cross itself is also included. Australia’s flag features a large Commonwealth Star below the Union Flag as it is a symbol of Australia. Many other flags also contain the Southern Cross. Some as far back as the 1823/24 National Colonial Flag for Australia

Other flags of New Zealand

This gallery presents other flags of New Zealand.

Other flags of New Zealand
Naval Ensign of New Zealand
Royal Standard
Government Ensign of New Zealand for use on New Zealand Government-owned ships; note: identical to New Zealand Flag
Air Force Ensign of New Zealand
Naval Ensign
Maori sovereignty movement flag
Civil Ensign
Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand
Blue Ensign for government ships
Royal Standard of New Zealand
Air Force Ensign
Flag of New Zealand Police
Tino Rangatiratanga, national Māori flag
Ensign of yacht clubs registered in New Zealand
New Zealand Police
Civil Air Ensign of New Zealand
Yacht Club Ensign
Civil Air Ensign


“His Excellency the Governor is pleased to direct it to be notified, for general information, that a Despatch has recently been received from the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, conveying His Majesty’s approbation of an arrangement made by this Government for complying with the wishes of the Chiefs of New Zealand to adopt a National Flag in their collective capacity, and also, of the Registrar of Vessels, built in that country, granted by the Chiefs and certified by the British Resident, being considered as valid instruments, and respected as such in the intercourse which those Vessels may hold with the British Possessions. The following is a description of the Flag which has been adopted: A Red St. George’s Cross on a White ground. In the first quarter, a Red St. George’s Cross on a Blue ground, pierced with four white stars.”  As a vehicle flag, the flag of New Zealand is authorized to be used by the Prime Minister, Government Ministers, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and Consuls-General. No defacement of the flag is done in any of these cases.

February 27, 2014 / by / in
List of active New Zealand military aircraft

List of active New Zealand military aircraft is a list of military aircraft currently in service with the Armed Forces of New Zealand. For aircraft no longer in service see List of aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy.

Royal New Zealand Air Force

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Quantity Note
Beechcraft T-6 Texan II T-6A Texan II.jpg  United States Trainer aircraft 11 11 on order and to be delivered by 2015-2016
AgustaWestland AW109 20110428 OH K1001337 0003 - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg  Italy Light utility helicopter 5 plus one purchased for spares
Beechcraft Super King Air WN 10-0209-003 - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg  United States 5 Leased, first delivery 1988.
Bell UH-1 Iroquois NZ3814 - Flickr - 111 Emergency.jpg  United States UH-1H 13
Boeing 757 RNZAF Boeing 757 KvW.jpg  United States Transport 757-200 2
Kaman SH-2 Seasprite NZ Defence Force assistance to OP Rena - Flickr - NZ Defence Force (31).jpg  United States Maritime warfare SH-2G(NZ) 5
Lockheed P-3 Orion AK 06-0019-10 - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg  United States Maritime patrol P-3K 6 Originally delivered from 1966 as P-3Bs, upgraded in the 1990s.
Lockheed C-130 Hercules Aircraft around Wellington - Flickr - 111 Emergency (35).jpg  United States Tactical transport C-130H 5
NHIndustries NH90 First flight of a RNZAF NH-90.jpg  France Medium transport helicopter TTH 4 Four more on order
PAC CT/4 Airtrainer RNZAF Red Checkers - Flickr - 111 Emergency.jpg  New Zealand Basic trainer CT/4E 12 First delivered in 1988

Royal New Zealand Air Force Historic Flight

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Quantity Note
de Havilland Tiger Moth  United Kingdom Basic trainer 1
North American Harvard North American Harvard - Flickr - 111 Emergency.jpg  United States Intermediate trainer 1
February 27, 2014 / by / in
List of New Zealand Rover Moots

There have been 71 National Rover Moots in New Zealand. The first was the Dominion Rover Scout Moot at New Brighton Racecourse, Christchurch in 1936 although there was a North island Moot in 1935.

Previous Moots

List based on the New Zealand Badgers Club “The Histories Book: A History of New Zealand Scout District Badges” 4th Edition 2014 (preprint edition)

Year Name Location
1935 North Island Rover Moot Chateau Tongariro
1936 1st Dominion Rover Moot New Brighton Racecourse, Christchurch
1937 2nd Dominion Rover Moot Racecourse Hill, Lansdowne, Masterton
1938 3rd Dominion Rover Moot Timaru
1939 4th Dominion Rover Moot Heretaunga, Upper Hutt
1940 5th Dominion Rover Moot Christchurch
1944 6th Dominion Rover Moot Rangiora, Canterbury
Date? 7th Dominion Rover Moot Lower Hutt
Date? 8th Dominion Rover Moot Dunedin
Date? 9th Dominion Rover Moot Rotorua
1951 10th Dominion Rover Moot Tatum Park Hutt
1952 11th Dominion Rover Moot Cracroft House, Cashmere, Christchurch
1953 12th Dominion Rover Moot The Narrows, Ngaruawahia
1954 13th Dominion Rover Moot Timaru
1955 14th Dominion Rover Moot Wanganui
1956 15th Dominion Rover Moot Waiora, Otago
1957 16th Dominion Rover Moot Levin
1959 17th Dominion Rover Moot Little River, Banks Peninsula
1960 18th Dominion Rover Moot Palmerston North
1961 19th Dominion Rover Moot Raincliff, Timaru
1962 20th Dominion Rover Moot Ness Valley, Clevedon
1963 21st Dominion Rover Moot Waiora, Dunedin
1964 22nd Dominion Rover Moot Dunedin
1964/5 Regional Rover Moot Waiora, Dunedin
1965 23rd Dominion Rover Moot (Hoiho Moot) Tauranga
1966 24th National Rover Moot Blue Skies, Christchurch
1967 25th National Rover Moot Brookfield, Wellington
1968 26th National Rover Moot Waiora
1969 27th National Rover Moot Wanganui
1970 28th National Rover Moot (Mania-o-roto) Ashburton
1971 29th National Rover Moot Camp Sladdin, South Auckland
1972 30th National Rover Moot Blue Skies, Christchurch
1973 31st National Rover Moot Brookfield, Wellington
1974 32nd South Pacific Rover Moot Christchurch
1975 33rd National Rover Moot Scoutlands Wanganui
1976 34th National Rover Moot Timaru
1977 35th National Rover Moot Motumoana, Auckland
1978 36th National Rover Moot Dunedin
1979 37th National Rover Moot Waikato
1980 38th National Rover Moot Brookfield, Wellington
1981 39th National Rover Moot Lincoln Univeristy, Canterbury
1982 40th National Rover Moot Manawatu
1983 41st National Rover Moot Rotorua
1984 42nd National Rover Moot Oamaru
1985 43rd National Rover Moot New Plymouth
1986 44th National/5th Asia-Pacific Rover Scout Moot (Golden Jubilee Moot) Christchurch
1987 45th National Rover Moot Auckland
1988 46th National Rover Moot Southland
1989 47th National Rover Moot Wellington
1990 48th National Rover Moot (Aorangi) Timaru
1991 49th National Rover Moot Queenstown
1992 50th National Rover Moot (The Golden Moot ) Feilding
1993 51st National Rover Moot (‘Monsta’ Moot_ Auckland
1994 52nd National Rover Moot (The Moot) Lincoln, Canterbury
1995 53rd National Rover Moot (Absolutely Positively Moot) Wellington
1996 54th National Rover Moot (Medieval Moot) Kerikeri High School, Northland
1997 55th National Rover Moot (Scottish Moot) Logan Park High School, Dunedin
1998 56th National Rover Moot (RARC UP) Wanganui
1999 57th National Rover Moot (Rock Moot) Nelson
2000 58th National Rover Moot (Nautical Moot) Auckland
2001 59th National Rover Moot (Dam Moot) Fairlie, South Canterbury
2002 60th National Rover Moot (Welly Moot) Brookfield Outdoor Education Centre, Wellington
2003 61st National Rover Moot (Gumboot Moot) Ruakawa, Wanganui
2004 62nd National Rover Moot (Skool Moot) Te Kauri Park, Oparau, Waikato
2005 63rd National Rover Moot (Medieval Moot) Eyrewell Forest, Canterbury
2006 64th National Rover Moot (Winterless Wonderland Moot) Dargaville, Northland
2007 65th National Rover Moot (I Am Moot) Waiora, Dunedin
2008 66th National Rover Moot (Midnight Moot) Otaki
2009 67th National Rover Moot (Jafa Moot) Helensville
2010 68th National Rover Moot (Hero Moot Omaka, Canterbury
2011 69th National Rover Moot (Sm69th Moot Waiotapu – Rotorua
2012 70th National Rover Moot (Windback Moot Trefoil Park, Kaikohe, Northland
2013 71st National Rover Moot (Rapa Moot Wairarapa Pursuits Centre, Masterton, Wairarapa
February 27, 2014 / by / in
List of New Zealand military bases

This is a list of current New Zealand Defence Force bases. For further detail and/or history please consult the more specific articles for NZ’s three military arms – the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal New Zealand Navy and New Zealand Army.

Royal New Zealand Air Force


  • RNZAF Base Auckland, Whenuapai and Hobsonville Airfields, Auckland.
  • RNZAF Base Ohakea near Palmerston North, Manawatu.
  • RNZAF Base Woodbourne, Blenheim.

Other RNZAF Facilities

  • RNZAF Dip Flat, Nelson Lakes District.
  • Air Movements Rongotai, Wellington Airport, Wellington.
  • Air Movements Harewood, Christchurch.
  • RNZAF Museum, Wigram, Christchurch.

Royal New Zealand Navy

see also Naval bases of the Royal New Zealand Navy

RNZN Bases

  • Devonport Naval Base, Auckland. Incorporates the Naval Support Command and HMNZS Philomel, which in turn incorporates the Naval College Tamaki (formerly HMNZS Tamaki).

Other RNZN Facilities

  • Naval Communications Station Irirangi, near Waiouru, Central North Island.
  • Whangaparaoa Training Camp, Hibiscus Coast, Auckland.
  • Kauri Point Armament Depot, Birkenhead, Auckland
  • Narrowneck Naval Facility, Narrowneck Beach, Auckland
  • Naval Reserve units:
    • HMNZS Ngapona, Auckland.
      • Satellite unit, PHQ Tauranga, Tauranga.
    • HMNZS Olphert, Wellington.
    • HMNZS Pegasus, Christchurch.
    • HMNZS Toroa, Dunedin.

New Zealand Army

NZ Army Camps

  • Auckland Army Centre, Auckland.
  • Papakura Military Camp, Auckland.
  • Waiouru Military Camp, Waiouru.
  • Linton Military Camp, Palmerston North, Manawatu.
  • Trentham Military Camp, Upper Hutt, Wellington.
  • Burnham Military Camp, Christchurch.

Other NZ Army Facilities

  • Tekapo Training Area.
  • QEII Army Memorial Museum at Waiouru.

Tri-service Facilities

  • Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Central Wellington
  • Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, Trentham, Upper Hutt, Wellington.
  • Various NZDF Administrative and Recruiting centres throughout New Zealand
  • Hokowhitu Campus, Palmerston North, Manawatu.
February 20, 2014 / by / in
List of New Zealand organisations with royal patronage

This is a list of New Zealand organisations with designated royal status.

  • Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers
  • Corps of Royal New Zealand Military Police
  • Royal Aeronautical Society (New Zealand Division)
  • Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Akarana Yacht Club
  • Royal Arcadian Yacht Club
  • Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
  • Royal Christchurch Musical Society
  • Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
  • Royal Dunedin Male Choir
  • Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations
  • Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand
  • Royal New Zealand Aero Club
  • Royal New Zealand Air Force
  • Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum
  • Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Army Dental Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
  • Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Ballet
  • Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation
  • Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
  • Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals
  • Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport
  • Royal New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal New Zealand Curry Club
  • Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  • Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps
  • Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind
  • Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
  • Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
  • Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Royal New Zealand Navy
  • Royal New Zealand Pipe Bands’ Association
  • Royal New Zealand Plunket Society
  • Royal New Zealand Police College
  • Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association
  • Royal New Zealand Show
  • Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
  • Royal New Zealand Well Digger’s Association
  • Royal New Zealand Women’s Army Corps
  • Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
  • Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
  • Royal School of Church Music New Zealand
  • Royal Scottish Country Dance Society New Zealand Branch
  • Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Wanganui Opera House
  • Royal Wellington Golf Club

Royal Family members with honorary military appointments

Name Appointments
Honorary Military Appointments in the New Zealand Defence Force
The Queen[1]
  • Captain-General of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
  • Captain-General of the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers
  • Air Commodore-in-Chief, New Zealand Territorial Air Force
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Auckland Regiment (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own) (until 1964)
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Wellington Regiment (until 1964)[N 1]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (until 1996; disbanded)
The Duke of Edinburgh[2]
  • Field Marshal in the New Zealand Army
  • Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy
  • Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  • Colonel-in-Chief, New Zealand Infantry Corps (formerly)
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Hawkes Bay Regiment (formerly)
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Otago and Southland Regiment (formerly)
The Prince of Wales[3]
  • Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Duke of York[4]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
  • (“The Duke of York’s own”; since 1996 formation)[N 2][5]
The Princess Royal[6]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals (since 1977)[N 3][7]
The Duchess of Gloucester[8]
  • Colonel Commandant of the Royal New Zealand Army Education Corps (since 1985).
Former Honorary Military Appointments
Princess Alexandra of Kent
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Wellington and West Coast and Taranaki Regiment (until 1964)

[N 1]

Edward VIII[9]
  • Honorary Colonel, Queen Alexandra’s (Wellington West Coast) Mounted Rifles
  • Honorary Colonel, Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
  • Honorary Colonel, The Auckland Regiment (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own)
  • (all appointments relinquished upon his abdication in 1936)
George VI[10]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Artillery
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Auckland Regiment
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother[11]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps (from 1947)
The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon[12]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Infantry Corps (until 1964)
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Northland Regiment (until 1964)[N 1]
The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn [13]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool’s Own)
The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester[14]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester[15]
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport
  • Colonel-in-Chief, Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps


  1. Until the re-organisation of the infantry arm of the New Zealand army in 1964.
  2. In 1998, the Duke of York presented the Prince Andrew Banner to the RNZALR in a ceremony in Palmerston North. He last visited the Regiment between 28 September and 2 October 2005
  3. In 2006, the Princess Royal’s visit to New Zealand included visits to the Corps of Signals.


  1. “H.M. Elizabeth II”.
  2. “HRH Prince Philip”.
  3. “HRH Prince Charles”.
  4. “HRH Prince Andrew”.
  5. “Duke of York to Visit Army Logistic Regiment” (Press release). New Zealand Defence Force. 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2005-07-21.[dead link]
  6. “HRH Princess Anne”. Archived from the original on 2006-05-15. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  7. “The Princess Royal arriving in New Zealand” (Press release). Monarchist League of New Zealand. 2006-07-08. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  8. “HRH Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  9. “HM Edward VIII”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  10. “HM George VI”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  11. “HM The Queen Mother”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  12. “HRH Princess Margaret”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  13. “HRH Prince Arthur”. Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  14. “HRH Prince Henry”. Retrieved 2006-07-21.[dead link]
  15. “H.R.H Princess Alice”. Archived from the original on 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2006-07-21.

Credit: Wikipedia

February 20, 2014 / by / in
List of New Zealand-related topics

New Zealand


Settlement and early history

Twentieth-century history

Historical figures



Government departments


Law and law enforcement

Overseas territories

Main article: Realm of New Zealand

External relations



Political parties

Office holders

Other articles




Main centres

Lakes and rivers

Hills and mountains

Ecology and environment



National parks


Main article: Economy of New Zealand



Main article: Tourism in New Zealand


Main article: Culture of New Zealand


Main article: New Zealand literature






Main article: Sport in New Zealand

Mass media





New Zealand cuisine



Main article: Māori people

Travel and communications




Air travel

Education and science



Science in New Zealand


February 19, 2014 / by / in