New Zealand



New Zealand lies in the southern Pacific Ocean, 1,600 km east of Australia its closest neighbour. It is made up of the large North and South Islands and a number of smaller islands, with a total land area of close to 270,000 sq km. It has a diverse multi-cultural population of around 3.8 million people, the majority of whom are of British descent. New Zealand's indigenous Maori make up around 14 percent of the population, people of Polynesian descent make up approximately 6 percent, and people of Asian descent make up a further 6 percent. The people of New Zealand enjoy a year made up of two main seasons, temperate climate zones and a vast array of sports ranging from snow to sea.

Political System

New Zealand's political system is extremely stable and is based on the Westminster system of Parliamentary Democracy. New Zealand has long been a sovereign nation in its own right retaining ties to Britain through New Zealand's membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and to the English Crown, represented in New Zealand by a Governor General appointed by the New Zealand government. The Governor General retains certain residual powers including those of dissolving Parliament in certain situations, and formally assenting to all legislation. New Zealand has a mixed member proportional (MMP) Parliament of 120 seats and elections are held every 3 years.


The independence of the judiciary is an important principle of New Zealand's constitution. Judges are normally selected only from very senior lawyers, and are appointed by the Governor General. The Court structure is hierarchical, beginning with Magistrates Courts, then the High Court, then the Court of Appeal, and finally the Privy Council in London.


In the past 20 years the New Zealand government has accomplished major economic restructuring, moving an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access toward a more industrialised, free market economy that competes globally. This vibrant growth has boosted incomes, broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector, and contained inflationary pressures. Inflation remains among the lowest in the industrial world.

New Zealand has a modern economy linked closely with its nearest neighbour Australia, and enjoys an excellent international banking and financial infrastructure. The New Zealand economy derives its main income from food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining and agricultural sourced products. New Zealand's major trading partners are Australia, the United States and Japan. New Zealand is a member of the World Trade Organisation, the OECD and many other political and economic bodies.


English is the primary and everyday language of New Zealand. New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and you may hear many other languages spoken, including Maori, which is also an official language of New Zealand.


The unit of currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$), currently converted to USD at approx 2:1. There are no foreign exchange restrictions.

Auckland City

Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand for most international travellers. Auckland is a bustling commercial centre with a population of just over one million and rivals the sophistication of many larger international cities.

Many international surveys record Auckland to be one of the top 10 cities in the world in which to live, and the city boasts a wide range of theatres, galleries, museums, five star hotels and top class restaurants. It has the world's largest Polynesian population and a fast growing Asian community. Auckland is the most cosmopolitan city in New Zealand.