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Location of New Zealand

New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion; it gained full statutory independence in 1947 and the British monarch remained the head of state. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language, with English being very dominant.

A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, and economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently Jacinda Ardern. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.

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Matauri Bay Rainbow Warrior memorial4.JPG
The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was an operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.

Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two French agents were arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. They were charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As part of a plea bargain, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years, of which they served just over two.

The scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu, and the subject remained controversial. It was twenty years afterwards that the personal responsibility of French President François Mitterrand was admitted.

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The following are images from various New Zealand-related articles on Wikipedia.

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...that the coal-mine railway at Denniston, New Zealand fell a precipitous 510 metres over a track length of only 1.7 kilometres?

...that New Zealand was the first modern nation to give its women the right to vote.

...that Sir Edmund Hillary, a Kiwi (New Zealander), was a beekeeper in Auckland before he became the first man to reach the summit of Nepal's Mt. Everest; the highest peak on earth.

...that Tim Shadbolt, mayor of Waitakere and then Invercargill, said 'I don't care where, as long as I'm mayor' for a television advertisement.

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Most New Zealand place names have Māori or British origins. Both groups used names to commemorate notable people, events, places from their homeland, and their ships, or to describe the surrounding area. It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole of New Zealand before the arrival of Europeans, but post-colonisation the name Aotearoa (commonly translated as 'long white cloud') has been used to refer to the whole country. Dutch cartographers named the islands Nova Zeelandia, the Latin translation of the Dutch Nieuw Zeeland (after the Dutch province of Zeeland). British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.

Many of the early Māori names were replaced by Europeans during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Government amendments in 1894 and the establishment of the New Zealand Geographic Board in the mid-1940s led to the encouragement of original Māori names, although differing spellings and anglicised pronunciations persisted. Many names now have alternative or dual English and Māori names or, in a few rare cases, dual Māori names or dual English names. Most names have never been made official, but if they are mentioned in authoritative publications they are considered recorded names. Colloquial names in New Zealand result from an ironic view of the place's entertainment value, or plays on advertising mottos, or are shortened versions of the full name. Some places tried to capitalise on the success of The Lord of the Rings films by linking themselves to the movies. Read more...

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Looking across Tautuku Bay to the Tautuku Peninsula.

The Tautuku Peninsula is a rocky headland on the south coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located 25 km (15 mi) east of Waikawa, at the western end of a bay (Tautuku Bay) in the area known as the Catlins. There are now numerous cribs (holiday cottages) on the peninsula, but these are mainly reached by four-wheel drive or tractor as no roads reach the peninsula.

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