New Zealand

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand sometime between A.D. 1250 and 1300. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Great Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.



total: 268,838 sq km

land: 264,537 sq km

water: 4,301 sq km


temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Natural resources

natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone

People and Society


5,053,004 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

European 64.1%, Maori 16.5%, Chinese 4.9%, Indian 4.7%, Samoan 3.9%, Tongan 1.8%, Cook Islands Maori 1.7%, English 1.5%, Filipino 1.5%, New Zealander 1%, other 13.7% (2018 est.)


English (de facto official) 95.4%, Maori (de jure official) 4%, Samoan 2.2%, Northern Chinese 2%, Hindi 1.5%, French 1.2%, Yue 1.1%, New Zealand Sign Language (de jure official) 0.5%, other or not stated 17.2% (2018 est.)


Christian 37.3% (Catholic 10.1%, Anglican 6.8%, Presbyterian and Congregational 5.2%, Pentecostal 1.8%, Methodist 1.6%, Church of Jesus Christ 1.2%, other 10.7%), Hindu 2.7%, Maori 1.3%, Muslim, 1.3%, Buddhist 1.1%, other religion 1.6% (includes Judaism, Spiritualism and New Age religions, Baha'i, Asian religions other than Buddhism), no religion 48.6%, objected to answering 6.7% (2018 est.)

Population growth rate

1.17% (2022 est.)


Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Wellington

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor-General Dame Cindy KIRO (since 21 October 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Jacinda ARDERN (since 26 October 2017); Deputy Prime Minister Grant ROBERTSON (since 2 November 2020)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Representatives - commonly called Parliament (120 seats for 2020-23 term); 72 members directly elected in 65 single-seat constituencies and 7 Maori constituencies by simple majority vote and 48 directly elected by closed party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 3-year terms)


Economic overview

high-income Pacific island economy; strong agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and energy sectors; reliant on Chinese market for exports; sustained growth; low unemployment; high living standards; sharp growth post COVID-19 lockdown

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$215.6 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$42,400 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, beef, kiwi fruit, apples, potatoes, mutton, grapes, wheat, barley, green onions/shallots


agriculture, forestry, fishing, logs and wood articles, manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, real estate services, tourism


$50.43 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

China 28%, Australia 14%, United States 9%, Japan 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

dairy products, sheep/goat meats, lumber, beef products, fresh fruits (2019)


$47.86 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 18%, Australia 15%, United States 9%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, delivery trucks, gas turbines (2019)

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

Page last updated: Monday, September 12, 2022