New Zealand is a democratic island country in the South Western Pacific Ocean, with an advanced economy and high quality of life.
New Zealand has a long history which starts with the arrival of Polynesian Maori in 800 AD to the pacific island that was uninhabited. The Maori created a distinctive culture in New Zealand over the years.
European explorers and missionaries started coming to the island as early as 1642 but only a century later Europeans began to reach the remote island for settlement purposes. James Cook reached the islands in one of his trips between 1767 to 1771, and gave them the name New Zealand, named after an islands province in the Netherlands.
On 6.2.1840 after negotiations, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown envoys in New Zealand and the representatives of the tribes, declaring New Zealand a British colony, and defining the rights of the Maori and their ownership of the territories they inhabited. This agreement established the State of New Zealand to this day, and it is considered the New Zealand’s Independence Day. New Zealand had belonged to the British crown until 1947, the year in which it received complete independence and became a member of the United Nations.
New Zealand is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, as well as a full member state of the OECD organization of the developed countries.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Queen of England is set as head of state and is represented by the Governor-General.
The government is run by a cabinet headed by a prime minister who heads the largest party. Parliament consists of 120 members of parliament representing different political parties, of which the main ones are the New Zealand Labor Party and the New Zealand National Party. Elections are held once every 3 years.
Facts & Figures
- * (Data were taken from the OECD website)
- Area: 267,700 square kilometers (ranked 76 in the world, bigger than the UK)
- Population density: 16.5 people per square kilometer (amongst the least crowded countries in the world)
- Population: 4.5 million, 90% of the population lives in cities
- Capital: Wellington
- Big city: Auckland, 1.5 million people. (33% of the population)
- GDP per capita (in thousands of dollars): 34.4
- Unemployment percentage: 5.6
- Ages 0-14 years 20%
- Ages 15-24 15%
- Ages 25-54 41%
- Ages 55-64 11%
- Ages 65 and over 13%
- Life expectancy: 82