New Zealand

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

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.

Geography

Area

total: 268,838 sq km
land: 264,537 sq km
water: 4,301 sq km

Climate

temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

5,109,702 (2023 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.)

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.)

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.)

Population growth rate

1.06% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

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 Christopher LUXON (since 27 November 2023); Deputy Prime Minister Winston PETERS (since 27 November 2023)

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)

Economy

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)

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

Real GDP per capita

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

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Exports

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

Exports - partners

China 33%, Australia 12%, United States 11%, Japan 6%, South Korea 3% (2021)

Exports - commodities

milk cream powders, lumber, beef, butter, mutton (2021)

Imports

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

Imports - partners

China 22%, Australia 15%, United States 7%, Japan 6%, Thailand 5% (2021)

Imports - commodities

cars, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, delivery trucks, broadcasting equipment, gas turbines (2021)

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.)


Page last updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024