New Zealand Background Information

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. In 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 Quickstats

  • Population: 4,115,771 (July 2007 est.)
  • Area: 268,680 sq km
  • Density: 15 /km² (193rd)
  • GDP (total): $103.873 billion (53th)
  • GDP (per capita): $25,272 (29th)
  • Literacy: 99%

Languages of New Zealand

Useful to know

  • Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
  • Dial code: +64

International Trade

External sites

More Resources

Recent blog posts