New Zealand

Physical geography

Located in Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. Total area: 268,680 sq km. Land area: 268,670 sq km. Coastline: 15,134km. Predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains.


Temperate with sharp regional contrasts.

Economic geography

Since 1984 the government has been reorienting an agrarian economy dependent on a guaranteed British market to a more industrialised, open free market economy that can compete on the global scene.

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

Agriculture: accounts for about nine per cent of GDP and about 11 per cent of the work force; livestock predominates - wool, meat, dairy products all export earners; crops - wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; surplus producer of farm products; fish catch reached a record 503,000 metric tons in 1988.


Population 3,407,277 (July 1995 est.)

A brief history

New Zealand's first settlers were the Maori, Polynesians who endured an epic voyage from the north in open double-hulled canoes. They named their land Aotearoa (Ao teya roa) - Land of the Long White Cloud.

In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman and the crews of his two boats spent Christmas anchored in a bay off the volatile Cook Strait. Before setting off home he named a cluster of offshore islands The Three Kings in homage to the Three Wise Men.

In 1769 Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy circumnavigated New Zealand and claimed the country for Britain. You can visit a monument and statue commemorating his voyage in Gisborne.

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and Maori, resulting in New Zealand becoming a British colony. The site of this historic treaty is preserved in its original state in the Bay of Islands - and every 6th February people gather there to commemorate the anniversary of its signing.

The rest of the 19th century saw a flurry of activity. Farmers carved out rich pastures, while Scotsmen established a replica of their homeland in Dunedin, right down to New Zealand's most famous castle which still survives.


Anglican 24 per cent, Presbyterian 18 per cent, Roman Catholic 15 per cent, Methodist five per cent, Baptist two per cent, other Protestant three per cent, unspecified or none 33 per cent (1986).

Languages spoken by nationals

English (official), Maori.


New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Summer Time, where clocks are advanced one hour, operates from October until March. Because of its position close to the International Date Line, if you are flying west you lose a day coming to New Zealand.


One New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents.

What one should not fail to see

Auckland. With about one million people, this vibrant 'City of Sails' offers all the facilities of most major cosmopolitan areas - including a truly spectacular harbour. From there, you can head to the sub-tropical north and the Bay of Islands, where the opportunities for water-based activities are close at hand. Or you can head south, through the thermal wonders of Rotorua, past tranquil Lake Taupo on to Tongariro National Park for great hiking trips in volcanic terrain. And right at the very south is the nation's capital, Wellington, the centre of New Zealand's cultural life and the jumping off point to the South Island.

If you cross Cook Strait by ferry, your first stop will probably be Marlborough - a gourmet's paradise. Further south you'll see Queenstown - a year round lake resort with startling scenery and a multitude of outdoor activities. Then visit the South Island's largest centre, Christchurch, with its enormous parks and beautiful gardens.

Glaciers, mountains, whale watching, volcanoes.

How to dress

New Zealanders tend to dress informally for most occasions. And in all but the best hotels and nightclubs, fashionably smart clothes (perhaps a jacket for men, trousers and shoes) are all that is necessary. In late autumn, winter and early spring, you would need to have a warm all-season coat with you, and perhaps gloves and a hat if you are heading inland or to the mountains. In late spring, summer and early autumn, garments of cotton and wool washable materials are recommended. Shorts and T-shirt are commonly worn but you should also pack a sweater and light jacket. A waterproof jacket is especially valuable in the wetter northern and western regions.

Main holiday sports

Diving, fishing, hang-gliding, kayaking, trekking, mountain climbing, swimming.

What to eat and drink

Sample classic New Zealand fare of fresh mouth-watering bounty from the land, river and sea. Particularly lamb, venison, salmon, lobster, mussels, scallops, avocado, asparagus and kumara. The national desert is pavalova, comprising meringue and fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit. Many restaurants serve excellent Asian cuisine.

Frontier formalities

Visas & passports

All visitors to New Zealand require passports which must be valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend leaving New Zealand. Visa requirements differ, depending on nationality, purpose of visit and length of stay. Check with the New Zealand diplomatic or consular office in your country.

Main travel routes

New Zealand's relative distance from other population centres make air travel the most common form of transport. New Zealand has two major international airports, with Auckland's (AKL) serving as the gateway to the North Island, and Christchurch's (CHC) serving as the gate-way to the South Island. Wellington's airport (WLG), with its limited length runway, serves international flights only to and from Australia. All three airports have banking and exchange facilities covering the times of international flights.

Auckland Airport is 22 kilometres/14 miles south of the city centre. Travel time ranges between 30 and 45 minutes depending on traffic. Christchurch Airport is 11 kilometres/seven miles from the centre of the city. Travel time takes about 30 minutes. Wellington Airport is eight kilometres/five miles from the centre of the city. Travel time takes about 30 minutes.

New Zealand's national airline is Air New Zealand. It operates an extensive service throughout the Pacific, linking New Zealand to Australia, Asia (including Japan), the Pacific Islands and the USA. It also flies to and from Europe (London Gatwick and Frankfurt) via the USA. Other international airlines serving New Zealand from a variety of countries include Aerolineas Argentinas, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesian, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Polynesian Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai International and United Airlines.

Airport Departure Tax of $NZ20.00 is payable by all travellers upon their departure from New Zealand.

Representatives abroad

NEW ZEALAND - Head Office: New Zealand Tourism Board, PO Box 95, Wellington. Tel: +(64 4) 472 8860, Fax: +(64 4) 478 1736.

AUSTRALIA: Level 8, 35 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, PO Box R1546, Royal Exchange, PO 2000, Sydney, NSW, Tel: (02) 247 5222. Fax: (02) 241 1136 Level 6, 60 Albert Road, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205. Tel: (03) 9686 4800, Fax: (03) 9686 4811.

BRISBANE: Level 12, 145 Eagle Street Brisbane, Qld 4000, GPO Box 2634, Brisbane, Qld 4001. Tel: (07) 3831 8315, Fax: (07) 3831 5337.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: LOS ANGELES, 501 Santa Monica Blvd #300, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tel: (310) 395 7480, Fax: (310) 395 5453.

NEW YORK: 780 3rd Avenue, 1904, New York, NY 10017-2024. Tel: (212) 832 8482, Fax: (212) 832 7602.

CHICAGO: 1111 North Dearborn Street, Suite 2705, Chicago, IL 60610. Tel: (312) 440 1345, Fax: (312) 440 3808.

CANADA: Suite 1200, 888 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver BC, V6C 3K4. Tel: (604) 684 2117, Fax: (604) 684 1265.

GERMANY: Friedrichstrasse 10-12, 60323 Frankfurt am Main. Tel: (69) 97 12 11 (0), Fax: (69) 97 12 11 13.

UK: New Zealand House, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TQ. Tel: (171) 930 1662, Fax: (171) 839 8929 .

HONG KONG: 1501 Universal Trade Centre, 3 Arbuthnot Road, Central - Hong Kong. Tel: 2526 0141, Fax: 2524 1811.

TAIWAN: New Zealand Commerce & Industry Office, Room 2512, 25F International Trade Building, 333 Keelung Road, Section 1 Taipei 10548. Tel: (02) 757 9514, Fax: (02) 757 6114.

SINGAPORE: 391 Orchard Road, # 15-01 Ngee Ann City, 15th Floor, Tower A, Singapore 0923. Tel: 738 5844, Fax: 235 2550.

THAILAND: ITF Tower II, 14th Floor, Unit 14D, 140/40 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500. Tel: (02) 231 6456, Fax: (02) 231 6451.

JAPAN: TOKYO - Shinjuku Monolith 21st Floor, 2-3-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 163-09. Tel: (03) 5381 6331, Fax: (03) 5381 6327.

OSAKA: Meiji Seimei Sakaisuji, Honmachi Building, 2nd Floor, 1-7-15 Minami Honmachi Chuo ku, Osaka-shi 541. Tel: (06) 268 8335 Fax: (06) 268 8412.

KOREA: Room 1608, Sunwha Building, 5-2 Sunwha-Dong Chung-ku, Seoul. Tel: (02) 777 9282, Fax: (02)777 9285.