Country Information New Zealand

  • Capital: Wellington
  • Dimensions: approx.1268.680 km²
  • Population: 4.143.279 inhabitants
  • Population density: 15,3 people per km²
  • Religion: 24 % Anglicans, 18% Presbyterians, 15% Catholics, 18% Atheists
  • Official Languages: English, Maori
  • Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Commonwealth)
  • Climate: subtropical to moderate
  • Unemployment: 3.5 % (2007)

Dimensions of the country

New Zealand consists of two Islands, the North and the South Islands. However, there are 700 smaller islands that are also New Zealand territory. The whole landmass of the country is only 268,680 km" and that makes it smaller than Italy, but a little bigger than Great Britain. The North Island is the most populated with approx. 2/3 of all New Zealanders living there. 


Compared to the rest of world New Zealand is with only 15 persons per km² a rather sparsely populated country. Approx. 67 % of the population are off European descend, in particular with roots on the British Isles, in Germany, Italy, Poland or the Netherlands. The Maori, the indigene population, make up approx. 14% of the population. The fastest growing population group with approx. 10% is Asians.  


New Zealand has a moderate, Mediterranean climate. Most of the country has mild temperatures, moderate rain falls and a lot of sun hours. The climate is defined by the mountains and the ocean. 


  • 13th/14th century: Colonization of the country through Polynesians.
  • 1642: Dutch man Abel Tasman discovers the South Island of New Zealand, but does not touch ground.
  • 1643: Hendrik Brouwer reaches New Zealand and calls it Nova Zeelandia
  • 1769: James Cook is the first to sail around the North Island and then the South Island. He takes possession of the country for the English Crown.
  • In the following years first Europeans settle, in particular whalers and sealers, but also missionaries. Illnesses they bring to the country deplete the Maori population strongly.
  • 1819: First armed conflicts between Maori and Whites
  • 1840: Contract of Waitangi: Maori chiefs recognize the sovereignty of the British Crown. The following years bring a systematic British occupation of the Islands
  • 1843 - 1847 Maori Wars
  • 1865: Wellington becomes New Zealand's capital
  • 1893: New Zealand is the first country to introduce Women's Right to Vote.
  • 1907: Gains dominion status in the British Commonwealth
  • 1908: First railroad line between Auckland and Wellington
  • 1914: First World War. New Zealand occupies Samoa.
  • WW II: New Zealand sends troops to support England.
  • 1951: ANZUS treaty signed with the United States and Australia which will later be cancelled by the US due to New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy in 1984
  • 1973: After Great Britain joined the EU, New Zealand tumbles into a severe economic crisis.
  • 1992: New Zealand gets seat in the United Nations Security Council


Until Great Britain joined the European Union in 1973 the country was by far New Zealand's most important trade partner.

New Zealand tumbled into an economic crisis until the mid eighties. After the government made some drastic changes, New Zealand has developed into one of the most deregulated and privatized economies in the world. The unemployment rate was only 3.6 % at the end of 2004.