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The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. That same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both world wars. New Zealand's full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances. New Zealand assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.


Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Natural Resources

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

Population - distribution

English (de facto official) 89.8%, Maori (de jure official) 3.5%, Samoan 2%, Hindi 1.6%, French 1.2%, Northern Chinese 1.2%, Yue 1%, other or not stated 20.5%, New Zealand Sign Language (de jure official)
Auckland 1.344 million; WELLINGTON (capital) 383,000 (2015)
Conventional long form
Conventional short form
New Zealand
Local long form
Local short form
parliamentary democracy (New Zealand Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Geographic coordinates
41 18 S, 174 47 E
Time difference
UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Over the past 40 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.
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -5,152,234,056
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 47,670,984,501
Exports of goods and services
US$ 48,915,776,077
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,526,636,550
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 14,835,896,171
dairy products, sheep, beef, poultry, fruit, vegetables, wine, seafood, wheat and barley
agriculture, forestry, fishing, logs and wood articles, manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, real estate services, tourism
dairy products, meat and edible offal, logs and wood articles, fruit, crude oil, wine
China 17.6%, Australia 16.9%, US 11.8%, Japan 6% (2015)
petroleum and products, mechanical machinery, vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, textiles
China 19.5%, Australia 11.9%, US 11.7%, Japan 6.6%, Germany 4.7%, Thailand 4.1% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
The political and economic situation is good. A basically stable and efficient business environment nonetheless leaves room for improvement. Corporate default probability is low on average.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is very good. Corporate financial information is available and reliable. Debt collection is efficient. Institutional quality is very good. Intercompany transactions run smoothly in environments rated A1.
  • Proximity to Asia and Australia
  • Touristic appeal and large agricultural sector
  • Public debt under control
  • Dynamic demographics
  • Economy reliant on foreign investments
  • High levels of household and corporate debt (especially in the agricultural sector)
  • Dependence on Chinese demand
  • Shortage of skilled labor

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