Photos of New Zealand

Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, South Island.

Introduction

Background

Polynesians settled New Zealand between the late 1200s and the mid-1300s. They called the land Aotearoa, which legend holds is the name of the canoe that Kupe, the first Polynesian in New Zealand, used to sail to the country; the name Aotearoa is now in widespread use as the local Maori name for the country. By the 1500s, competition for land and resources led to intermittent fighting between different Maori tribes as large game became extinct. Dutch explorer Abel TASMAN was the first European to see the islands in 1642 but left after an encounter with local Maori. British sea captain James COOK arrived in 1769, followed by whalers, sealers, and traders. The UK only nominally claimed New Zealand and included it as part of New South Wales in Australia. Concerns about increasing lawlessness led the UK to appoint its first British Resident in New Zealand in 1832, although he had few legal powers. In 1835, some Maori tribes from the North Island declared independence. Fearing an impending French settlement and takeover, the majority of Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British in 1840. Land tenure issues stemming from the treaty are still being actively negotiated in New Zealand.

The UK declared New Zealand a separate colony in 1841 and granted limited self-government in 1852. Different traditions of authority and land use led to a series of wars between Europeans and various Maori tribes from the 1840s to the 1870s. Along with disease, these conflicts halved the Maori population. In the 1890s, New Zealand initially expressed interest in joining independence talks with Australia but ultimately opted against it and changed its status to an independent dominion in 1907. New Zealand provided more than 100,000 troops during each World War, many of whom fought as part of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). New Zealand reaffirmed its independence in 1947 and signed the Australia, New Zealand, and US (ANZUS) Treaty in 1951. Beginning in 1984, New Zealand began to adopt nuclear-free policies, contributing to a dispute with the US over naval ship visits that led the US to suspend its defense obligations to New Zealand in 1986.

In recent years, New Zealand has explored reducing some of its ties to the UK. There in an active, minority movement to change New Zealand to a republic, and in 2015-16, a referendum on changing the New Zealand flag to remove the Union Jack failed, 57% to 43%.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates

41 00 S, 174 00 E

Area

total: 268,838 sq km

land: 264,537 sq km

water: 4,301 sq km

note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

comparison ranking: total 77

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of North Carolina; about the size of Colorado

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

15,134 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate

temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Terrain

predominately mountainous with large coastal plains

Elevation

highest point: Aoraki/Mount Cook 3,724 m; note - the mountain's height was 3,764 m until 14 December 1991 when it lost about 10 m in an avalanche of rock and ice; erosion of the ice cap since then has brought the height down another 30 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 388 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 43.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.4% (2018 est.)

other: 25.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

7,000 sq km (2014)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Taupo - 610 sq km

Population distribution

over three-quarters of New Zealanders, including the indigenous Maori, live on the North Island, primarily in urban areas

Natural hazards

earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity

volcanism: significant volcanism on North Island; Ruapehu (2,797 m), which last erupted in 2007, has a history of large eruptions in the past century; Taranaki has the potential to produce dangerous avalanches and lahars; other historically active volcanoes include Okataina, Raoul Island, Tongariro, and White Island; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Geography - note

note 1: consists of two main islands and a number of smaller islands; South Island, the larger main island, is the 12th largest island in the world and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps; North Island is the 14th largest island in the world and is not as mountainous, but it is marked by volcanism

note 2: New Zealand lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: almost 90% of the population lives in cities and over three-quarters on North Island; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world

People and Society

Population

total: 5,161,211

male: 2,584,607

female: 2,576,604 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 125; male 125; total 125

Nationality

noun: New Zealander(s)

adjective: New Zealand

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.)

note: based on the 2018 census of the usually resident population; percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one ethnic group

Languages

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.)

note: shares sum to 124.1% due to multiple responses on the 2018 census

Religions

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.)

note: based on the 2018 census of the usually resident population; percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one religion

Age structure

0-14 years: 19% (male 503,120/female 475,490)

15-64 years: 64.2% (male 1,674,407/female 1,638,276)

65 years and over: 16.9% (2024 est.) (male 407,080/female 462,838)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.4

youth dependency ratio: 29

elderly dependency ratio: 24.4

potential support ratio: 4.1 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 37.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 37.2 years

female: 38.6 years

comparison ranking: total 80

Population growth rate

0.95% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 96

Birth rate

12.6 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 137

Death rate

6.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 126

Net migration rate

3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Population distribution

over three-quarters of New Zealanders, including the indigenous Maori, live on the North Island, primarily in urban areas

Urbanization

urban population: 87% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.92% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.673 million Auckland, 422,000 WELLINGTON (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

7 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 156

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 199

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 81.2 years

female: 84.8 years

comparison ranking: total population 23

Total fertility rate

1.85 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 131

Contraceptive prevalence rate

79.9% (2014/15)

note: percent of women aged 16-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Physician density

3.62 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.6 beds/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

30.8% (2016)

comparison ranking: 22

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.17 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 2.88 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.62 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.26 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 32

Tobacco use

total: 13.7% (2020 est.)

male: 15% (2020 est.)

female: 12.3% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 111

Education expenditures

6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 42

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 20 years

male: 20 years

female: 21 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

water quality and availability; rapid urbanization; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Marine Life Conservation

Climate

temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Land use

agricultural land: 43.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.4% (2018 est.)

other: 25.4% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 87% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.92% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.5% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 65

Revenue from coal

0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 38

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.61 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 34.38 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 34.3 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 3.405 million tons (2016 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Taupo - 610 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 500 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 1.18 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

327 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: New Zealand

abbreviation: NZ

etymology: Dutch explorer Abel TASMAN was the first European to reach New Zealand in 1642; he named it Staten Landt, but Dutch cartographers renamed it Nova Zeelandia in 1645 after the Dutch province of Zeeland; British explorer Captain James COOK subsequently anglicized the name to New Zealand when he mapped the islands in 1769

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Wellington

geographic coordinates: 41 18 S, 174 47 E

time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

time zone note: New Zealand has two time zones: New Zealand standard time (UTC+12) and Chatham Islands time (45 minutes in advance of New Zealand standard time; UTC+12:45)

etymology: named in 1840 after Arthur WELLESLEY, the first Duke of Wellington and victorious general at the Battle of Waterloo

Administrative divisions

16 regions and 1 territory*; Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Chatham Islands*, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Otago, Southland, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, Wellington, West Coast

Dependent areas

Tokelau (1)

Independence

26 September 1907 (from the UK)

National holiday

Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840); Anzac Day (commemorated as the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)

Constitution

history: New Zealand has no single constitution document; the Constitution Act 1986, effective 1 January 1987, includes only part of the uncodified constitution; others include a collection of statutes or "acts of Parliament," the Treaty of Waitangi, Orders in Council, letters patent, court decisions, and unwritten conventions

amendments: proposed as bill by Parliament or by referendum called either by the government or by citizens; passage of a bill as an act normally requires two separate readings with committee reviews in between to make changes and corrections, a third reading approved by the House of Representatives membership or by the majority of votes in a referendum, and assent of the governor-general; passage of amendments to reserved constitutional provisions affecting the term of Parliament, electoral districts, and voting restrictions requires approval by 75% of the House membership or the majority of votes in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2020

Legal system

common law system, based on English model, with special legislation and land courts for the Maori

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of New Zealand

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

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 Christopher LUXON (since 27 November 2023)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor-general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor-general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor-general

note: according to Prime Minister LUXON, the Winston PETERS of the New Zealand First Party would be the deputy prime minister in the first half of the term while Act party leader, David SEYMOUR, would take the role for the second half of the term

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Representatives - commonly called Parliament (121 seats for 2023-26 term); 72 members directly elected in 65 single-seat constituencies and 7 Maori constituencies by simple majority vote and 49 directly elected by closed party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 3-year terms)

elections: last held on 14 October 2023 (next scheduled for October 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 38.1%, Labor Party 26.9%, Green Party 11.6%, ACT Party 8.6%, New Zealand First 6.1%; Maori Party 3.1%; seats by party - National Party 48, Labor Party 34, Green Party 15, ACT Party 11, New Zealand First 8, Maori Party 6; composition - 67 men, 56 women; percentage of women 45.5%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices, including the chief justice); note - the Supreme Court in 2004 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final appeals court

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general upon the recommendation of the attorney- general; justices appointed until compulsory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; tribunals and authorities; district courts; specialized courts for issues related to employment, environment, family, Maori lands, youth, military; tribunals

Political parties and leaders

ACT New Zealand [David SEYMOUR]
Green Party [Marama DAVIDSON and James SHAW]
New Zealand First Party or NZ First [Winston PETERS]
New Zealand Labor Party [Chris HIPKINS]
New Zealand National Party [Christopher LUXON]
Te Pāti Māori [Debbie NGAREWA-PACKER and Rawiri WAITITI]

International organization participation

ADB, ANZUS, APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF, SICA (observer), Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNTSO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Rosemary BANKS (since 17 June 2024)

chancery: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 328-4800

FAX: [1] (202) 667-5277

email address and website:
wshinfo@mfat.govt.nz

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/americas/united-states-of-america/

consulate(s) general: Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas Stewart UDALL (since 1 December 2021) note - also accredited to Samoa

embassy: 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington 6011

mailing address: 4370 Auckland Place, Washington DC  20521-4370

telephone: [64] (4) 462-6000

FAX: [64] (4) 499-0490

email address and website:
AucklandACS@state.gov

https://nz.usembassy.gov/

consulate(s) general: Auckland

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four red five-pointed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (four, five-pointed stars), kiwi (bird), silver fern; national colors: black, white, red (ochre)

New Zealand coat of arms:
New Zealand coat of arms

National anthem

name: "God Defend New Zealand"

lyrics/music: Thomas BRACKEN [English], Thomas Henry SMITH [Maori]/John Joseph WOODS

note: adopted 1940 as national song, adopted 1977 as co-national anthem; New Zealand has two national anthems with equal status; as a commonwealth realm, in addition to "God Defend New Zealand," "God Save the King" serves as a royal anthem (see United Kingdom); "God Save the King" normally played only when a member of the royal family or the governor-general is present; in all other cases, "God Defend New Zealand" is played

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (2 natural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand (n); Tongariro National Park (m); New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands (n)

Economy

Economic overview

high-income, globally integrated Pacific island economy; strong agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism sectors; reliant on Chinese market for exports; slow recovery from post-COVID recession and inflation; challenges of fiscal deficits, below-average productivity, and curbing greenhouse gas emissions

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$231.534 billion (2022 est.)
$225.116 billion (2021 est.)
$214.054 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 64

Real GDP growth rate

2.85% (2022 est.)
5.17% (2021 est.)
-0.65% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 142

Real GDP per capita

$45,200 (2022 est.)
$44,000 (2021 est.)
$42,100 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 41

GDP (official exchange rate)

$248.102 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

7.17% (2022 est.)
3.94% (2021 est.)
1.71% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 113

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA (2011)

Moody's rating: Aaa (2002)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2011)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.5% (2017 est.)

services: 72.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 59; industry 136; agriculture 123

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 27% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -26.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, beef, kiwifruit, apples, grapes, lamb/mutton, potatoes, wheat, barley, onions (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

3.94% (2021 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 98

Labor force

2.971 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 111

Unemployment rate

3.3% (2022 est.)
3.78% (2021 est.)
4.6% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 53

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 11.4% (2021 est.)

male: 12.2%

female: 10.6%

comparison ranking: total 140

Average household expenditures

on food: 12.2% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 5.2% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Remittances

0.27% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.26% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $76.694 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $88.593 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 21

Public debt

54.27% of GDP (2022 est.)
50.99% of GDP (2021 est.)
46.15% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 91

Taxes and other revenues

29.77% (of GDP) (2022 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 28

Current account balance

-$21.627 billion (2022 est.)
-$14.804 billion (2021 est.)
-$2.401 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 197

Exports

$57.485 billion (2022 est.)
$54.923 billion (2021 est.)
$50.173 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 66

Exports - partners

China 28%, Australia 11%, US 11%, Japan 6%, South Korea 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

milk, beef, wood, sheep and goat meat, butter (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$71.35 billion (2022 est.)
$62.984 billion (2021 est.)
$48.118 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 58

Imports - partners

China 21%, Australia 14%, US 8%, South Korea 7%, Singapore 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, plastic products, garments, trucks (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$14.4 billion (2022 est.)
$16.114 billion (2021 est.)
$13.733 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 65

Debt - external

$190.621 billion (2019 est.)
$192.327 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
1.577 (2022 est.)
1.414 (2021 est.)
1.542 (2020 est.)
1.518 (2019 est.)
1.445 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 10.412 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 41.466 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.712 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 133; consumption 58; installed generating capacity 66

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 13.2% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 0.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 6.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 58.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

geothermal: 17.7% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

biomass and waste: 3.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

production: 3.036 million metric tons (2022 est.)

consumption: 2.441 million metric tons (2022 est.)

exports: 1.278 million metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 727,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 7.575 billion metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 12,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 154,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 40.993 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 3.77 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

consumption: 3.819 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 31.149 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

31.998 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 3.687 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 21.018 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 7.293 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 71

Energy consumption per capita

120.219 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 36

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 757,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 78

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5.947 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 119

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

the growth areas in in New Zealand’s telecom market have been in mobile broadband and fiber; New Zealand’s mobile market continues to undergo significant developments; the coverage of LTE networks has been supported by the Rural Broadband Initiative rollout, which added a significant number of mobile sites to new or underserved areas; the market is undergoing additional consolidation; offering fixed and mobile services

(2023)

domestic: fixed-line roughly 13 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership 114 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 64; landing points for the Southern Cross NEXT, Aqualink, Nelson-Levin, SCCN and Hawaiki submarine cable system providing links to Australia, Fiji, American Samoa, Kiribati, Samo, Tokelau, US and around New Zealand; satellite earth stations - 8 (1 Inmarsat - Pacific Ocean, 7 other) (2019)

Broadcast media

state-owned Television New Zealand operates multiple TV networks and state-owned Radio New Zealand operates 3 radio networks and an external shortwave radio service to the South Pacific region; a small number of national commercial TV and radio stations and many regional commercial television and radio stations are available; cable and satellite TV systems are available, as are a range of streaming services (2019)

Internet users

total: 4.896 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 96% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 95

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,764,984 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 61

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 15 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 199

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 17,249,049 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,349,300,000 (2018) mt-km

Airports

202 (2024)

comparison ranking: 31

Heliports

62 (2024)

Pipelines

331 km condensate, 2,500 km gas, 172 km liquid petroleum gas, 288 km oil, 198 km refined products (2018)

Railways

total: 4,128 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 4,128 km (2018) 1.067-m gauge (506 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 42

Roadways

total: 94,000 km

paved: 61,600 km (includes 199 km of expressways)

unpaved: 32,400 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 54

Merchant marine

total: 117 (2023)

by type: container ship 2, general cargo 12, oil tanker 3, other 100

comparison ranking: total 84

Ports

total ports: 22 (2024)

large: 2

medium: 1

small: 10

very small: 9

ports with oil terminals: 14

key ports: Auckland, Bluff Harbor, Gisborne, Manukau Harbor, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Otago Harbor, Picton, Tauranga, Timaru, Wellington, Whangarei

Military and Security

Military and security forces

New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF): New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force (2024)

note: the New Zealand Police, under the Minister of Police, are responsible for internal security

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2023)
1.3% of GDP (2022)
1.3% of GDP (2021)
1.5% of GDP (2020)
1.4% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 103

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 12,200 active-duty troops including active reservists (6,600 Army; 2,800 Navy; 2,800 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the NZDF is equipped mostly with Western-supplied weapons and equipment with the US as the leading provider (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription (2023)

note 1: New Zealand opened up all military occupations to women in 2000; in 2022, women accounted for about 20% of armed forces personnel

note 2: as of 2022, the NZDF’s program for recruiting foreign volunteers had been suspended

Military deployments

small numbers of NZ military personnel are deployed on a variety of international missions in Africa, Antarctica, the Asia-Pacific region, and the Middle East (2024)

Military - note

the NZDF is a small military with considerable overseas experience; it supports the country’s national security objectives by protecting New Zealand’s sovereignty, promoting its interests, safeguarding peace and security, and conducting peacekeeping, humanitarian, and other international missions

New Zealand is a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily

New Zealand has been part of the Australia, New Zealand, and US Security (ANZUS) Treaty since 1951; however, the US suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand in 1986 after New Zealand implemented a policy barring nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from its ports; the US and New Zealand signed the Wellington Declaration in 2010, which reaffirmed close ties between the two countries, and in 2012 signed the Washington Declaration, which provided a framework for future security cooperation and defense dialogues; in 2016, a US naval ship conducted the first bilateral warship visit to New Zealand since the 1980s; New Zealand has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2024)

Space

Space agency/agencies

New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA; established 2016 under the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment); Center for Space Science and Technology (CSST; established 2017) (2024)

Space launch site(s)

Mahia Peninsula Launch Complex (Hawke's Bay) (2024)

Space program overview

the New Zealand space sector model is mostly based on commercial space; NZSA and CSST primarily focus on developing space policy and strategy, bringing commercial space talent to New Zealand, and encouraging the commercial development of space technologies, particularly satellites and satellite/space launch vehicles (SLV); manufactures and launches satellites; builds and launches commercial SLVs; researches and develops a range of other space-related technologies, including propulsion systems; has a national space strategy; participates in international space programs and partners with a range of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of Australia, Canada, the EU and its member states, the European Space Agency (ESA) and its member states, South Africa, and the US; has a small, but growing commercial space sector  (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

significant consumer of amphetamines