new zealand

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses ‒ that of the North and South Islands ‒ and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east...

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New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses ‒ that of the North and South Islands ‒ and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 CE and developed a distinctive Māori culture, and Europeans first made contact in 1642 CE. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Māori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars. In 1840 the British and Māori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in much Māori land being confiscated in the mid North Island. Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote during the 1890s, and a welfare state being established from the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty, although the United States later, until 2010, suspended the treaty after New Zealand banned nuclear weapons. New Zealand is part of the intelligence sharing among the Anglosphere countries, the UKUSA Agreement. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but the 1970s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. Markets for New Zealand's agricultural exports have diversified greatly since the 1970s, with once-dominant exports of wool being overtaken by dairy products, meat, and recently wine.

During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. Most notable are the large number of unique bird species, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals. With a mild maritime climate, the land was mostly covered in forest. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions caused by the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates clashing beneath the earth's surface.

The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent portraits of Māori. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving, weaving and tattooing become more mainstream. Many artists now combine Māori and Western techniques to create unique art forms. The country's culture has also been broadened by globalisation and increased immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia. New Zealand's diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

some cities

experiences (2)

have you spent time in new zealand? share your experiences

3

new zealand - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/30/13.

What brought you to New Zealand? Where were you before?

I was a bit fed up with life at home. Unsatisfied with my relationship with family, friends and dating. Honestly, I just wanted to get away and have a fresh start. New York.

Describe the city you live in in New Zealand.

Currently Wellington. It's pretty hip, there's lots of students, arts, shows. The waterfront is gorgeous. Cool cafes and bars. The weather can be really bad (it's the windy city) but I like it. I first lived in Nelson which was a dream but there are no jobs there. I hope to retire there in many years.

What are the the people of New Zealand like?

I'd say they are more open minded. If you have an alternative lifestyle people don't seem to judge. I heard so much about the friendliness before coming here, and I can't say it's that dramatically different. They are in the South Island, but I think it's the same as any small town.

Was making friends and meeting people in New Zealand in general easy or difficult?

Making friends was always an issue for me, and since high school I had made very few. I definitely did better in New Zealand then I ever did in the states. It was hard at first, but I think...

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2

new zealand - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/08/13.

I have been in New Zealand for just about 8 months. I came straight to Wellington. I turned 21 in NZ. Wellington is the windiest city in the world. I'm not sure how it's possible, but the wind blows from all directions. You could be walking into the wind, turn the corner, and still be walking into the wind. Coupled with the rain that happens more often than not, it makes for pretty miserable weather. The wind pierces through your clothes so it feels colder than it is and the houses are not insulated so there is no escaping the cold (even though it never reaches freezing temperatures).

The upside is there is a lot of creativity that springs forward from having to find ways to pass the time inside. It's the kind of city that always has a market or an art exhibit going on, people walk around sans shoes, and any time there's a sliver of sun, the entire population is hanging out by the water front. It's a capital city, but it feels more like a small village because you constantly see the same faces around you.

I moved to New Zealand on a bit of a whim. I had finished school in the US (specifically the midwest) and knew it was a perfect time to move. At first, I was thinking about a...

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demographics

population

4,327,944 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

European 56.8%, Asian 8%, Maori 7.4%, Pacific islander 4.6%, mixed 9.7%, other 13.5% (2006 Census)

languages

English (official) 91.2%, Maori (official) 3.9%, Samoan 2.1%, French 1.3%, Hindi 1.1%, Yue 1.1%, Northern Chinese 1%, other 12.9%, New Zealand Sign Language (official)

religions

Protestant 38.6% (Anglican 13.8%, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed 10%, Christian (no denomination specified) 4.6%, Methodist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Baptist 1.4%, other Christian 3.8%), Roman Catholic 12.6%, Maori Christian 1.6%, Hindu 1.6%, Buddhist 1.3%, other religions 2.2%, none 32.2%, other or unidentified 9.9% (2006 Census)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 20.2% (male 448,838/ female 426,799)

15-64: 15-64 years: 66.2% (male 1,434,723/ female 1,428,693)

65+: 65 years and over: 13.6% (male 270,468/ female 318,423) (2012 est.)

urbanization

86% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

80.71 years

obesity rate

26.5% (2007)

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

19 years

economics

cost of living

7/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free...

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Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes - but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income rose for ten consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms, but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, helping fuel a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for economic managers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007-08; international capital inflows attracted to the high rates further strengthened the currency and housing market, however, aggravating the current account deficit. The economy fell into recession before the start of the global financial crisis and contracted for five consecutive quarters in 2008-09. In line with global peers, the central bank cut interest rates aggressively and the government developed fiscal stimulus measures. The economy posted a 2% decline in 2009, but pulled out of recession late in the year, and achieved 1.7% growth in 2010 and 2% in 2011. Nevertheless, key trade sectors remain vulnerable to weak external demand. The government plans to raise productivity growth and develop infrastructure, while reining in government spending.

major industries

food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining

food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining

gdp per capita

$28,000 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

1.3% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 4.9% industry: 23.5% services: 71.6% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

6.5% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

NA%

gini index

36.2 (1997) country comparison to the world: 83