New Zealand Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > New Zealand > Map Economy History


Parks and Recreation New Zealand Department of Conservation
WWF New Zealand The World Wide Fund For Nature in New Zealand.

Facts About New Zealand

Background: The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand withdrew from a number of defense alliances during the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding native Maori grievances.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Wellington
Currency: 1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

Geography of New Zealand

Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 S, 174 00 E
Map references: Oceania
total: 268,680 sq km
land: 268,670 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 15,134 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Cook 3,764 m
Natural resources: natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 50%
forests and woodland: 28%
other: 8% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,850 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:  Antarctic Seals, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world.

People of New Zealand

Most of the 3.8 million New Zealanders are of British origin. About 15% claim descent from the indigenous Maori population, which is of Polynesian origin. Nearly 75% of the people, including a large majority of Maori, live on the North Island. In addition, 167,000 Pacific Islanders also live in New Zealand. During the late 1870s, natural increase permanently replaced immigration as the chief contributor to population growth and has accounted for more than 75% of population growth in the 20th century. Nearly 85% of New Zealand's population lives in urban areas (with almost one-third in Auckland alone), where the service and manufacturing industries are growing rapidly. New Zealanders colloquially refer to themselves as "Kiwis," after the country' native bird.

Population: 4,035,461 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  22.36%
15-64 years:  66.11% 
65 years and over:  11.53%
Population growth rate: 1.14% 
Birth rate: 14.28 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.56 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 4.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 6.28 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  77.99 years
male:  75.01 years
female:  81.1 years 
Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman 
noun: New Zealander(s)
adjective: New Zealand
Ethnic groups: New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%, Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%
Religions: Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)
Languages: English (official), Maori
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > New Zealand > Map Economy History