New Zealand

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New Zealand

New Zealand (zēˈlənd), island country (2015 est. pop. 4,615,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland.

Land and People

New Zealand comprises the North Island and the South Island (the two principal islands), Stewart Island, and the Chatham Islands. Small outlying islands belonging to New Zealand include the Auckland Islands, the Kermadec Islands, Campbell Island, the Antipodes, Three Kings Island, Bounty Island, the Snares Islands, and the Solander Islands. Dependencies are Tokelau and Ross Dependency. The Cook Islands and Niue, both internally self-governing, are in free association with New Zealand.

The North Island is known for its active volcanic mountains and its hot springs. The country's longest river (the Waikato) and largest lake (Taupo) are both on the North Island. On the South Island, the massive Southern Alps extend almost the length of the island, and in the southwest are beautiful fjords. The largest areas of virgin forest are in the southern and northern extremities of the South Island. Among the unusual animals native to New Zealand are the kiwi, certain species of parrot, the tuatara (survivor of a prehistoric order of reptiles), and various frogs and reptiles. New Zealand has no native land mammals other than bats. Large oyster beds are found in the Foveaux Strait between Stewart Island and the South Island. Extensive areas of New Zealand have been set aside as national parks, including the Fiordland, Kahurangi, Mt. Aorangi-Cook, and Tongariro parks.

More than 85% of the population lives in urban areas. In addition to Wellington and Auckland, the principal cities are Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Hutt City, and Invercargill. People of European descent constitute about 74% of the population. The Maori, New Zealand's indigenous inhabitants, now make up about 15% of the population, with most living on the North Island. Some 12% of the population is of Asian descent, while Pacific Islanders make up over 7%, and an increasing portion of the population is born overseas (25% in 2013). (Intermarriage has resulted in mixed descent and overlap in the various ethnic groupings.) Both English and Maori are official languages. New Zealand has no established religion; the three largest faiths are Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian.


Agriculture, historically the mainstay of the economy, now employs only 10% of the population. Beginning in the 1980s, New Zealand transformed its highly protected and regulated economy into one that was much more privatized, market oriented, and deregulated, and services and industry now make up a much greater percentage of the gross domestic product. The agricultural sector has diversified from a reliance on sheep raising to such additional enterprises as dairying, forestry, and horticulture. Wheat, barley, potatoes, legumes, fruits (including wine grapes), and vegetables are grown; wool, beef, lamb, mutton, and fish are additional agricultural products. The mining sector produces coal, gold, iron, and natural gas. There is extensive food processing and wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, and transportation equipment are manufactured. Banking, insurance, and tourism are also important. The principal exports are dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fruit, crude oil, wine, and fish. Imports include petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and equipment, vehicles and vehicle parts, textiles, electronics, and plastic. The main trading partners are China, Australia, the United States, and Japan.


New Zealand is governed under The Consitution Act of 1986, adopted in 1987, as well as other legal documents. The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by the governor-general, is the head of state. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the governor-general following legislative elections. Members of the 120-seat unicameral parliament (the House of Representatives) are elected by popular vote for three-year terms using a system of mixed constituency and proportional representation. Administratively, the country is divided into 16 regions and one territory (the Chatham Islands). New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.


New Zealand has been inhabited since at least A.D. 1000 by Polynesian Maoris. The first European to visit was the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who stopped there during his voyage of 1642–43. New Zealand was charted by Capt. James Cook on his three voyages (1769–78). Between 1792 and 1840, sealing, whaling, and trading led to European settlement. In a series of intertribal wars between 1815 and 1840, tens of thousands of Maoris died.

In 1840 the first settlement was made at Wellington by a group sent by the New Zealand Company, founded by Edward Gibbon Wakefield. In that year the Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed to the Maoris the full possession of their land in exchange for their recognition of British rule. But as European settlement increased, Maori opposition to land settlement resulted in continuing conflict from 1860 to 1872.

Originally part of New South Wales (Australia), New Zealand became a separate colony in 1840 and received a large measure of self-government after 1852. In 1907 it assumed complete self-government as the Dominion of New Zealand, but, preferring that Great Britain handle most of its foreign affairs, did not confirm the Statute of Westminster (1931) until 1947.

New Zealand has been a leader in progressive social legislation. It was the first country to grant (1893) women the right to vote. A comprehensive social security system was begun in 1898 with the enactment of an old age pension law.

During World War I and World War II, New Zealand fought on the side of the Allies, and it joined the UN forces in the Korean War. New Zealand also sent troops to aid U.S. forces in South Vietnam in the 1960s. In 1951, New Zealand joined in a mutual defense treaty with the United States and Australia. This pact was suspended in 1986 after David Lange's Labor government refused to let U.S. ships with nuclear arms enter its ports; although defense cooperation has resumed since then, the ban remains in effect. In the 1970s the government and the Maori tribes (iwi) began negotiations that subsequently led to the settling of many Maori claims and improved financial status for most tribes. In 1997, Jenny Shipley of the National party, which had been in power since 1990, became New Zealand's first woman prime minister.

The Labor party, led by Helen Clark, and its center-left coalition defeated the National party in the 1999 elections and formed a minority government. Clark's coalition retained power, again as a minority government, after the 2002 elections. After the court of appeals ruled in 2004 that Maoris could pursue land claims to New Zealand's beaches and seabed, the government passed legislation that nationalized the contested areas in an effort to prevent Maoris from gaining an exclusive legal title to them. The law alienated the government's Maori supporters and prompted the establishment of a Maori political party.

Parliamentary elections in Sept., 2005, resulted in a narrow victory for Labor, which secured a plurality of the seats. Clark formed a government with the support of three smaller parties, including the anti-immigration New Zealand First party. Clark and Labor lost the Nov., 2008, parliamentary elections to John Key, a wealthy former currency trader, and the National party, and Key became prime minister of a center-right coalition government. A strong earthquake in Sept., 2010, and a second one in Feb., 2011, caused widespread damage in Christchurch.

Key and the National-led coalition remained in power after the Nov., 2011, elections. In the Sept., 2014, parliamentary elections, the National party won an outright majority. Earthquakes in Nov., 2016, again caused significant damage in central New Zealand (on both islands), but the earthquake was strongest mainly in rural areas, where there was catastrophic transportation infrastructure damage. Key stepped down as National party leader and prime minister in December; Deputy Prime Minister Bill English succeeded him.

In the Sept., 2017, elections, the National party won a plurality, but Labor, led by Jacinda Ardern, was able to form (October) a coalition with the New Zealand First party and secured the support of the Green party. A anti-immigrant terror attack by an Australian on two mosques in Christchurch, in which 51 were murdered, stunned the country in Mar., 2019. In 2020 the country successfully ended community spread of COVID-19 in May, and subsequently ended disease-related restrictions except for strict border controls intended to prevent the disease's recurrence. Ardern and Labor won a majority in the Oct., 2020, elections; her new government again had the support of the Green party.


See K. B. Cumberland and J. W. Fox, New Zealand: A Regional View (1964); A. H. McLintock, ed., An Encyclopedia of New Zealand (3 vol., 1966); G. R. Hawke, The Making of New Zealand (1985); G. McLauchlan, ed., Encyclopedia of New Zealand (52 vol., 1986–87); K. Sinclair, A History of New Zealand (4th rev. ed. 1991); G. W. Rice, ed., Oxford History of New Zealand (2d ed. 1992).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New Zealand


New Zealand is a state in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and a member of the British Commonwealth. It occupies the North Island (114,700 sq km) and the South Island (150,600 sq km), which are separated by Cook Strait; the small Three Kings Islands, Stewart Island, and The Snares; and various coastal islets. New Zealand also includes the outlying islands of Campbell, Antipodes, Chatham, Bounty, Auckland, and Kermadec, the Tokelau Islands, administered as an overseas territory; and the Cook Islands and Nieu Island in the central Pacific Ocean. The total area of New Zealand is 268,700 sq km. Population, 3 million (1973). The capital is Wellington. The country is divided into 109 counties, and 13 statistical areas have been established for the collection of statistical information.

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Its constitution consists of a large number of laws and customs; the basic constitution was adopted by the British Parliament in 1852. Officially, the head of state is the British monarch. He is represented by the governor-general, whom he appoints on the advice of the New Zealand government for a five-year term. The governor-general plays a minor role in political life, although formally he has broad powers. He heads the executive branch, is a member of the House of Representatives, appoints the prime minister, and confirms legislation. The Executive Council, composed of all the ministers, is an advisory body under the governor-general. The chief executive body is the government (cabinet), headed by the prime minister.

The House of Representatives, a unicameral parliament (until 1950 it was bicameral), is the highest legislative authority. It consists of 87 members (83 of European origin and four Maori’s), elected for three-year terms. All citizens who have reached the age of 20 may vote. Local government bodies—the councils of counties, boroughs, and urban and rural districts—are subordinate to the central administration.

The judicial system is headed by the Supreme Court and includes the Court of Appeal and courts of original jurisdiction. A system of arbitration courts has been established; the decisions of these courts are binding in labor disputes between employers and workers.

Coasts. The islands of New Zealand extend for 1,700 km from northeast to the southwest. Their shores, washed by the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, are either rocky or rimmed by sandy dunes. The largest bays are Hauraki, Plenty, Hawke, Tasman, and Canterbury.

Terrain. Some three-fourths of New Zealand’s area is covered by mountains, highlands, and hills. Lowlands are found along the coast, for example, Southland Plain on the South Island, and along river valleys. In the central part of the North Island, the less mountainous of the two islands, is the volcanic plateau, an area of seismic activity. Earthquakes are frequent (100–200 annually), and there are active volcanoes, geysers, hot mineral springs, and emissions of hot steam and gases. The high Southern Alps extend through the South Island. The average elevation of the mountains exceeds 2,000 m, and their highest peak is Mount Cook (3,764 m). Whereas the western slopes of the mountains are steep, their eastern slopes descend gently to the piedmont Canterbury Plains, the largest plains area in New Zealand.

Geological structure and mineral resources. New Zealand is part of the Cenozoic geosynclinal region. Along the northwestern coast of the South Island stretches the Hokonui zone, composed of Paleozoic geosynclinal formations, crushed into folds and breached by Permian and Upper Cretaceous granitoids. Shallow-water deposits of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic lie unconformably on the Paleozoic formations. To the southeast, separated by a fault, is the alpine zone, which also encompasses western and central North Island. In the alpine zone, a stratum of siliceous graywacke rock of the Permian and Lower Cretaceous, crushed into folds with the formation of mantles, has been superimposed over spilites of the Upper Carboniferous. The graywacke is covered by weakly dislocated marine deposits of the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene-Neocene, as well as by rhyolite and ignimbrite of the Anthropogene. The Northland zone, containing accumulations of geosynclinal Cenozoic deposits, extends through southeastern North Island. Along the southwestern coast of the North Island, in the North Taranaki Bight, there are shelf deposits of oil and gas. Other mineral resources include small deposits of iron, copper, complex ores, gold, and bituminous and brown coal.

Climate. New Zealand has a subequatorial marine climate, becoming temperate in the extreme south. The average July temperature (winter) is 12°C in the north and 5°C in the south, and the average January (summer) temperature is 19°C in the north and 14°C in the south. Precipitation occurs throughout the year and ranges from 2,000–5,000 mm per year in the western mountain regions to 400–700 mm in the east. Snow is found only in the mountains. The total area of glaciation in the Southern Alps is 1,000 sq km, and the largest glaciers are Tasman (29 km long), Franz Josef, and Fox.

Rivers and lakes. Rising in the mountains, New Zealand’s deep rivers are an important source of hydroelectric power. The largest river, the 354-km Waikato on the North Island, is navigable for 100 km. There are many lakes of vocanic, tectonic, and glacial origin. Lake Taupo on the North Island is the largest in Oceania, covering 612 sq km.

Soils and vegetation. The subtropical regions have yellow soils; the Canterbury Plains, chernozems; the basins of the South Island, chestnut soils; and the mountain regions, mountain-forest and mountain-meadow soils. Forests, which have generally survived only in the most inaccessible mountain regions, cover 6.3 million hectares (ha), or 23.3 percent of the country’s area. Forests of indigenous species, such as the kauri, rimu, and taraire, cover 5.7 million ha, and forests of introduced species (pine, cypress, poplar) cover 600,000 ha. More than 75 percent of the local flora is endemic, with perennial evergreen species predominating.

Fauna. New Zealand’s animal life is the oldest in the world. The only mammals are rats, dogs, and bats; of the reptiles, the tuatara is especially characteristic. Entire animal populations (especially birds) and plant communities have been destroyed through hunting, the cutting of forests, and the proliferation of animals introduced by settlers, including rats, cats, dogs, and such farm animals as rabbits, goats, and pigs. Most bird species have become rare, including the kiwi, kakapo, Porphyrio poliocephalus, and Rallus aquaticus.

Preserves. There are nine national parks, of which the largest is Fiordland on the South Island. Several small islands off the coast of New Zealand are bird sanctuaries.

New Zealanders constitute the bulk of the population and include Anglo-New Zealanders (about 2.4 million; 1973, estimate) and Maoris (more than 230,000). In addition, there are Englishmen and small numbers of Scots, Anglo-Australians, Dutch, Irish, Samoans, aborigines from the Cook Islands, Chinese, and Indians. English is the official language. Most of the people are Christians; Anglicans constitute about 34 percent of the population, Presbyterians about 22 percent, Catholics about 16 percent, and Methodists about 7 percent. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

Between 1963 and 1973 the population grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent. The country had an economically active population of 1,150,200 in 1973, of whom 25 percent were employed in manufacturing; 12 percent in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; 17 percent in commerce; 9 percent in transport and communications; 21 percent in services; and 16 percent in other sectors. In 1966, 85 percent of the gainfully employed were wage earners, both blue- and white-collar workers; 7.1 percent were entrepreneurs employing workers; and 7 percent were farmers and other persons not using hired labor. In 1971 about 72 percent of the population lived on the North Island and 28 percent on the South Island. The average population density is 11 persons per sq km, with the greatest concentrations occurring in the coastal, plains, and hill regions. Urban dwellers constituted 81.5 percent of the population in 1971, and 56 percent of all city dwellers lived in Wellington (139,400 in 1973), Christ-church, Auckland, Dunedin, and Lower Hutt.

The history of the settlement of New Zealand has been insufficiently studied. According to some sources, even before the ancestors of the Maoris migrated to the islands from central Polynesia between the tenth and 14th centuries, there were tribes living here that subsequently either disappeared or were assimilated by the Maoris. New Zealand was discovered by the Dutch navigator A. Tasman in 1642, but it was first explored in the second half of the 18th century by the Englishman J. Cook. At this time the Maoris, numbering between 200,000 and 300,000, had a primitive communal system. Their main occupations were agriculture, hunting, and fishing; in some areas wild fruit was an important source of food.

The first permanent European settlements date from the early 19th century, and the seizure of Maori land began soon thereafter. In 1839 the New Zealand Land Company, formed in Great Britain, sent the first organized group of settlers to New Zealand; these settlers founded Wellington. In 1840 the British imposed a treaty on the Maori chiefs, by which the latter ceded to the British queen “all rights and sovereignty.” New Zealand became a British colony. In 1843 the Maoris began an armed struggle against the British colonists, known as the Maori wars. Most of the fighting took place on the North Island. Only in 1872 were the last pockets of Maori resistance crushed. European colonization of New Zealand cut short the Maoris’ natural historical development. The “gold fever” brought on by the discovery of gold on the South Island in the 1860’s gave strong impetus to immigration. Between 1847 and 1860 the number of Europeans doubled, reaching 65,000; by 1868 it exceeded 225,000. Large sheep farms were established on land taken from the Maoris (in 1871 the country had more than 10 million sheep).

All economic and political power was concentrated in the hands of the landed oligarchy. Under pressure from small farmers, workers, and new settlers, who found themselves in difficult circumstances, the government of the Liberal Party (which was formed shortly before the elections of 1891 and existed until the 1930’s) adopted laws in the 1890’s providing for the mandatory sale of large tracts of land to the government, which then resold the land to small farmers. Laws were also enacted introducing government credit, and other measures were taken to encourage small farms. The Liberal Party’s policies weakened the landed oligarchy. Universal suffrage was introduced in 1893. A series of labor and social welfare reforms were adopted in the 1890’s, a period of growing class struggle. A minimum wage was established, the workweek was shortened, and pensions were introduced (1898). V. I. Lenin characterized these measures, called “state socialism” in bourgeois writings, as an attempt by the bourgeoisie to bribe the workers with social reforms (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 28, p. 512).

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rapid growth of capitalism in New Zealand, developing as an offshoot of British capitalism. The predominance of British capital tranformed New Zealand into a supplier of agricultural commodities and raw materials to Great Britain. New Zealand produced chiefly wool, meat, and butter, which were sold in the mother country.

In 1907, New Zealand became a dominion. Its population by now had reached 1 million. The Labour Party of New Zealand was founded in 1916. During World War I, New Zealand fought on the British side, and its forces within the British Army served in France and the Middle East. After the war New Zealand was granted a mandate over the former German colony of Western Samoa and (together with Great Britain and Australia) over Nauru.

Under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, the workers’ movement in New Zealand grew stronger, and the Communist Party of New Zealand was founded in 1921. During the 1920’s New Zealand developed into an independent capitalist state. In accordance with the decisions of the imperial conference of 1926, which were incorporated in the Statute of Westminster in 1931, New Zealand received full autonomy in foreign and domestic affairs. Until World War II, however, Great Britain controlled the dominion’s foreign policy and was “responsible for its defense.” In 1938, Great Britain accounted for about 85 percent of New Zealand’s exports and 50 percent of its imports. Because of New Zealand’s dependence on foreign markets it was severely affected by the world economic crisis of 1929–33. By 1932 the number of unemployed exceeded 80,000. In the early 1930’s a semifascist movement called the New Zealand Legion emerged.

The Labour Party was victorious in the election of 1935 and remained in power until 1949. The party’s program called for stabilization of the economy, expansion of social welfare, and “redistribution” of national income. The Labour victory was largely the result of the inability of the National government, in power from 1931 to 1935, to deal with the economic crisis. Under constant pressure “from below,” the Labour government carried out a number of measures to improve the working people’s condition. The social welfare system was expanded, and a state medical service was instituted. The formation of the New Zealand nation, which began at the end of the 19th century, was essentially completed during the period between the two world wars.

On Sept. 3, 1939, New Zealand declared war on fascist Germany and entered World War II. Its forces participated in military operations in Greece and North Africa and fought against Japan in the Pacific Ocean. The country’s economy grew during the war.

Industry developed rapidly in the postwar years; between 1945 and 1973 the number of industrial workers tripled. However, New Zealand’s highly developed agriculture continued to be the mainstay of the economy. In the mid-1960’s British capital investments accounted for more than half of all foreign investments, and American investments were steadily increasing. The National Party, formed in 1936, controlled the government from 1949 to 1972, with the exception of the period from 1957 to 1960, when the Labour Party came to power. It was the country’s largest bourgeois party and sought to undermine the standard of living and rights of the working people. A strike movement unfolded. New Zealand’s largest strike, involving 25,000 workers, occurred between February and July 1951. There was another upsurge in the strike movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1966 the Socialist Unity Party was formed, which sought to continue the revolutionary traditions of the New Zealand workers’ movement. While seeking new markets for agricultural commodities, the ruling circles also promoted intensive industrial development.

The political ties between Great Britain and New Zealand weakened during the war and in the postwar period, although Great Britain continued to wield political influence, for example, the ANZUK agreement on the defense of Malaysia and Singapore. New Zealand’s foreign policy came increasingly under the influence of the USA. It joined ANZUS in 1951 and SEATO in 1954, and its forces fought on the side of the USA in the Korean War and in Vietnam. In 1961 the government was compelled to grant independence to Western Samoa, which officially became a sovereign country on Jan. 1, 1962. In 1968, Nauru also received its independence. The late 1960’s and early 1970’s were marked by growing economic ties with Japan and the strengthening of economic, political, and military cooperation with Australia. In August 1969, Australia and New Zealand concluded an agreement providing for “integration, standardization, and cooperation” in defense and armaments, and in July 1972 a standing joint committee on defense was established.

The Labour Party was returned to power in the parliamentary elections of November 1972. Its preelection campaign called for gradual withdrawal from SEATO, a review of the country’s obligations in the ANZUK bloc, and greater equality within ANZUS. In December 1972 the Labour government recalled its military instructors from South Vietnam. It sought to pursue a more independent policy in international affairs, stressing non-military cooperation with the USA and Great Britain and taking initial steps to develop relations with the USSR and other socialist countries. A characteristic feature of the Labour Party’s foreign policy is regionalism—expansion of ties with Australia and Japan, establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and assumption of a more active political role in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. In domestic affairs, the Labour government introduced a new system of social welfare and pension security. Initially wages were increased, but later a freeze was imposed. The working people showed their discontent with the policy of wage freezing. In 1975 the National Party won a majority of votes.


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Zheleznova, I. L., and I. A. Lebedev. Kivi. Moscow, 1966.
Malakhovskii, K. V. Britaniia iuzhnykh morei. Moscow, 1973.
Cambridge History of the British Empire, vol. 7, part 2. London, 1933.
Condliffe, J. B., and W. T. G. Airey. A Short History of New Zealand [9th ed. Christchurch], 1960.
Burdon, R. M. The New Dominion: A Social and Political History of New Zealand, 1918–1939. London, 1965.
Prichard, M. F. An Economic History of New Zealand to 1939. London, 1970.


The Labour Party was officially established in 1916. The National Party, founded in 1936, upholds the interests of the big bourgeoisie and the wealthy farmers. The New Zealand Social Credit Political League, founded in 1954, supports capitalism but criticizes certain aspects of the capitalist system of finance and credit. The Communist Party of New Zealand was founded in 1921. In the 1960’s its leadership departed from the general line of the international communist movement. The Socialist Unity Party of New Zealand, founded in 1966, is a Marxist-Leninist Party.

The first trade unions were organized in the 1870’s. The largest association is the New Zealand Federation of Labour, founded in 1937, which had a membership of 250,000 in 1973.


General characteristics. New Zealand’s economy rests on a highly developed capitalist agriculture, in which animal husbandry plays the leading role. In 1971 industry accounted for 28 percent of the gross national product and agriculture for about 25 percent. Industry developed rapidly in the 1960’s and early 1970’s; between 1938–39 and 1969–70 the value of the manufacturing output increased nearly 15 times. New Zealand is the capitalist world’s leading exporter of butter (ranking fourth in production), the second leading exporter of wool (its wool clip is second only to Australia’s), and the third leading exporter of cheese and meat (holding seventh and 12th place, respectively, in production). Foreign capital investments amounted to $576 million between 1960–61 and 1970–71 and came mainly from Great Britain (40 percent), the USA, and Canada. In 1970–71 about 70 percent of foreign investments were channeled into industry (including 34 percent into ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, 12 percent into machine building, 10 percent into mining, and 5.5 percent into the meat and dairy industries), 15 percent into commerce, and 7 percent into finance and insurance. State-monopoly regulation is increasing; the government controls the purchase and sale of agricultural products, imports, the construction of ports, highways, and water supply systems, and the development of new land. The state owns electric power stations, railroads, and coal mines, and it invests in mixed stock companies.

Agriculture. New Zealand’s agriculture is highly intensive and mechanized. It is export-oriented and specializes in livestock products. According to data provided by the farm census of 1960, 64.4 percent of all farmland was owned by large farmers (those with farms of more than 400 hectares [ha]; farms of this size accounted for 9 percent of all farms), 32.9 percent of all farmland was held by middle-level farmers (with farms from 40 to 400 ha, accounting for 60 percent of all farms), and 2.7 percent of the farmland was owned by small farmers (with farms of less than 40 ha, accounting for 31 percent of all farms). Of the country’s 17.6 million ha of agricultural land in 1969,9.2 million ha were cultivated (89 percent under sown pastures, 4.5 percent under field crops, and 0.2 percent under gardens and orchards), and 8.4 million ha were natural pastures and meadows. In 1971 there were 96,000 tractors, 5,800 harvester-threshers, 29,600 milking machines, and more than 71,000 machines for shearing sheep. Mineral fertilizers and lime are widely used to maintain soil fertility and ensure an abundant grass crop. In 1971 about 10,000 tons of nitrogenous fertilizer, 347,000 tons of phosphorus fertilizer, and 116,400 tons of lime fertilizer were used. Livestock is raised for dairy, meat, or meat and wool purposes. In 1960 dairy farms accounted for about 38 percent of all farms, sheep farms for about 41.5 percent, cattle farms for about 2 percent, and multipurpose farms for about 6 percent. Between 1929 and 1960 the number of small farms steadily declined, and the number of medium-sized farms increased. The main suppliers of commodities for the market are the medium and large farms. In 1973 the country had 9.1 million head of cattle (of which 2.2 million were dairy cows) and 500,000 hogs; there were 61 million sheep in 1972. (See Table 1 for the output of the principal livestock products.)

Table 1. Output of principal livestock products (tons)
1Average annual
Cheese ...................101,000101,500104,900
Wool (unwashed) .............179,000285,000320,000

Dairy farming is well developed on the Auckland Peninsula, in the western part of the North Island, on the Canterbury Plains, and on the Southland Plains. Cattle raising for meat purposes is concentrated on the Auckland Peninsula, in the river valleys of the North Island, around Nelson, and on the Canterbury Plains. Sheep raising for meat and wool is found everywhere, and Merino sheep, a wool breed, are raised in the mountain regions of the South Island. Crop cultivation is of secondary importance. Wheat is grown on the Canterbury Plains; in 1972, 116,000 ha were planted to wheat, yielding 427,000 tons. Citrus fruits are grown on the Auckland Peninsula; apples and pears, in the western part of the North Island; apricots, peaches, and cherries, in the intermontane basins of the southern part of the South Island; and vegetables, in all parts of the country. Fishing and whaling are also important; 66,000 tons of fish were caught in 1971.

Industry. New Zealand’s industry is dominated by manufacturing. After World War II, although the traditional sectors— light industry and food processing—continued to grow, their relative share declined. Meanwhile, the relative share of such industries as the pulp and paper industry, the chemical industry, metallurgy, and electrical machine building increased, as well as the manufacture of means of production. The mining industry began to develop in the 1960’s. Titanomagnetite sands are being worked on the North Island (143,500 tons in 1970), and natural gas is extracted near New Plymouth (301 million cu m in 1971). Iron ore is mined on the South Island at Onekaka; copper ore, on the Auckland Peninsula near Parakao; lead and zinc, on the North Island near Te Aroha; bituminous coal, on the South Island (419,000 tons in 1972); and brown coal, on the North Island (1.7 million tons in 1971). New Zealand’s goldfields produced 293 kg of gold in 1971.

In 1971 the rated capacity of electric power stations was 4.1 gigawatts (GW), with hydroelectric stations accounting for 3.3 GW. In 1972–73, 17.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kW-hr) of electricity were produced. The largest electric power plants on the North Island are the Maraetai hydroelectric power plant (360 megawatts [MW]) on the Waikato River and the Marsden steam power plant (240 MW), and the largest hydroelectric installations on the South Island are the Benmore plant (540 MW) on the Waitaki River, the Roxburgh plant (320 MW) on the Clutha River, and the Manapouri plant (400 MW) on the Waiau River.

Small factories and workshops predominate in the manufacturing industry; in 1968–69 there were 10,500 enterprises employing 229,100 workers. The food-processing industry ranks first in value of output (1971); most meat-packing plants are located in port cities, and creameries and dairies are generally found in small towns. Second place belongs to machine building, mainly transport and electrical machinery (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin), followed by woodworking, including pulp and paper (Kawerau, Kinlith, Tokoroa); light industry, mainly textiles; the chemical industry, represented by petroleum refineries at Whangarei and Marsden Point and fertilizer plants in various port cities; and metallurgy (ferrous in Glenbrook and nonferrous in Bluff). The largest cement works are at Dunedin and near Nelson and Whangarei, and china is also produced. In 1972 the country produced 83,000 automobiles and buses, 168,000 refrigerators, 141,000 radios, 32,000 television sets, 899,000 tons of cement, 2.2 million tons of chemical fertilizer, including 341,000 tons of phosphate fertilizer (calculated in terms of 100 percent nutritive substances), 591,000 tons of pulp, 459,000 tons of paper and cardboard, and 1.8 million cu m of lumber.

Transport. Maritime transport plays an important role in foreign trade. In late 1971 the nation’s fleet numbered 772 vessels, of which only 72 were used in cabotage and shipments to the Pacific islands, and the remainder were small boats, such as launches and yachts. Transoceanic shipping is done on foreign vessels (English, American, Japanese). The largest ports are Whangarei (handling 26 percent of the country’s freight turnover), Auckland (18 percent), Wellington (14 percent), Tauranga (10 percent), Lyttelton (7 percent), Picton (6 percent), Napier, and Bluff. In 1972 there were 4,800 km of railroad track (narrow gauge), of which 109 km were electrified. The railroads of the North and South islands are linked by four ferries. In 1972 the country had 94,900 km of motor-vehicle roads, of which 40,600 km were paved. In 1971 there were 918,700 passenger cars and 181,800 trucks. International airports are located near Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Domestic air service is provided by New Zealand National Airways Corporation, and international flights are handled by Air New Zealand and five foreign companies.

Foreign trade. In 1972 exports totaled NZ$1,369,800,000, and imports, NZ$1,149,600,000. Meat accounts for 29 percent of the value of exports; dairy products, for 24 percent (including butter, 13 percent and cheese, 5 percent); wool, for 17 percent; pulp and paper, for 3 percent; and fruit, leather, livestock, and other products, for 27 percent. Machinery and equipment constitute 38 percent of imports by value; various industrial products, 25 percent; chemical products, 12.4 percent; petroleum, 5.8 percent; mineral raw materials, 4 percent; and foodstuffs and other goods, 14.8 percent. The major trading partners are (1972) Great Britain (30.9 percent of the value of exports and 28.5 percent of the value of imports), other Common Market countries (10.8 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively), Australia (8.2 percent and 23 percent), the USA (15.3 percent and 10.1 percent), Canada (3.0 percent and 3.1 percent), and Japan (9.6 percent and 11.2 percent).

Tourism is an important source of revenue. In 1971–72, New Zealand was visited by 176,600 persons, mainly from Australia, the USA, and Great Britain. Revenues from tourism totaled NZ$47 million in 1971, up from $22 million in 1968. The monetary unit is the New Zealand dollar. By the rate of exchange of the State Bank of the USSR, on Aug. 1, 1974, NZ$1 equaled 1.14 rubles.


Andreeva, V. M. Novaia Zelandiia. Moscow, 1963.
Zheleznova, I. L., and I. A. Lebedev. KM. Moscow, 1966.
Andreeva, V. M., K. V. Malakhovskii, and A. S. Petrikovskaia. Novaia Zelandiia. Moscow, 1974.
Condliffe, J. B. The Economic Outlook for New Zealand. Wellington, 1969.
Money, D. C. Australia and New Zealand, part 2, New Zealand. London, 1958.
Rutherford, J., M. Logan, and G. Missen. New Viewpoints in Economic Geography. Sydney, 1969.


In 1973, New Zealand’s armed forces consisted of an army of more than 5,000 men, an air force of about 4,500 men and 70 airplanes and helicopters, and a navy of some 3,000 men and a squadron of patrol ships. The governor-general is the commander in chief, and the minister of defense has direct supervision over the armed forces. The army is staffed by volunteers. Arms are of American and Australian manufacture.

Medicine and public health. According to data provided by the World Health Organization, the birth rate in 1971 was 22.7 per 1,000; the mortality rate was 8.5 per 1,000; and the infant mortality was 16.5 per 1,000 live births. In 1968 the average life expectancy was 68.1 years for men and 74.2 years for women. Among the Maoris infectious and parasitic diseases predominate, including tuberculosis, epidemic hepatitis, and children’s infections. Such diseases as ischemic heart disease and malignant tumors predominate among Europeans. The incidence of measles, parotitis, chickenpox, and dysentery is higher among Maori than European children. Enterobiasis, echinococcosis, and leptospirosis are common. On the Tokelau Islands from 14.1 percent to 21.9 percent of the population suffers from wuchereriasis. Noninfectious diseases include dental caries, diabetes, and kidney diseases.

Social welfare is based on state aid and is financed through tax revenues. A worker who wishes to receive old-age benefits at the age of 60 must pass a humiliating “means test” on income. At the age of 65 such benefits are replaced by a general pension. The maximum payments for pensions and benefits are about one-fourth of the average wage of a hired worker.

In 1970 there were 188 state and 149 private hospitals with 28,700 beds, or ten beds per 1,000 inhabitants. Outpatient care was provided by private doctors, as well as by 90 hospital ambulatory divisions and 25 industrial medical centers. In 1971 there were 4,500 doctors (one per 632 inhabitants), of whom 2,300 worked in state institutions, 1,100 dentists, 2,300 pharmacists, and about 49,000 medical assistants. Doctors are trained at the University of Otago in Dunedin and at the University of Auckland. In 1970–71, 4.4 percent of the state budget was allocated for public health.


Veterinary services. New Zealand is free of the most dangerous animal diseases owing to its insular location, its good veterinary service, its strict regulations on importing animals and livestock products, the absence of many insect carriers of disease, and the small-scale migration of birds. Among the diseases that have been recorded are malignant catarrhal fever (259 outbreaks in 1973), paratuberculosis (60 outbreaks), mastitis, anaerobic diseases, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, tuberculosis, necrobacillosis, brucellosis, pasteurellosis, vibriosis, rhinotracheitis, and ecthyma. Diseases of fowl include leukosis, infectious bronchitis, coccidiosis, Marek’s disease, and smallpox. Prior to 1964 veterinary specialists were graduates of Australian schools, but since then they have been trained in New Zealand. There were 736 veterinarians in 1975.


The present system of education was established under the Education Act of 1964. At the age of three or four children may enroll in private preschool institutions, either kindergartens or play centers; 43,200 children attended such preschools in 1972. At the age of five or six they enter primary school. Under the law all children must attend school between the ages of six and 15, and most of them are enrolled in eight-year primary schools. Secondary schools generally offer a four- or five-year course of study. In 1971–72, 519,200 students were enrolled in primary schools and 190,700 in secondary schools. Teacher training is given at teachers colleges; those who have completed four years of secondary school enroll in a three-year course of training, and university graduates are given a one-year course of training.

In 1971–72, 9,300 persons were enrolled in teacher training programs. Higher education is provided by the Universities of Auckland (founded in 1882), Otago in Dunedin (1869), and Canterbury (1873); Lincoln College in Christchurch; Victoria University of Wellington (1897); Massey University in Palmerston North (1926); and the University of Waikato in Hamilton (1964). In 1971–72 about 37,300 students were enrolled in universities. There are also technical institutes, which admit students who have completed three or four years of secondary school education. These institutes had an enrollment of 99,000 students in 1971–72.

Among the largest libraries are the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington (comprising five libraries with more than 3.8 million volumes), the public libraries in Auckland (more than 535,000 volumes) and Wellington (more than 349,000 volumes), and the university libraries at Otago (more than 400,000 volumes) and Auckland (440,000 volumes). Museums include the National Art Gallery in Wellington; art galleries in Auckland, Dunedin, and Gisborne; and the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.


Systematic research in the natural and technical sciences began in the early 1860’s, when the first learned societies and scientific institutions were organized. The New Zealand Society (1861), the Canterbury Philosophical Institute (1862), and other learned societies united to form the New Zealand Institute in 1867. Among the first scientific institutions were the New Zealand Geological Survey (1865), the Colonial Museum (1865), and the Colonial Laboratory (1865). Research focused on the country’s natural environment and resources. From the late 19th century agricultural research became increasingly important. The Department of Agriculture was established in 1893, and by 1972 it maintained 12 experimental stations and research centers.

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research was organized in 1926. It supervises scientific work throughout the country and channels government money into research by universities, private scientific organizations, and learned societies. In 1973 the department comprised 13 divisions, including those of chemistry (founded 1907), applied mathematics (1949), entomology (1936), ecology (1960), plant diseases (1936), grasslands (1936), and geophysics (1951), with its network of geophysical and seismic stations, as well as the Antarctic Division (1959), which operates Scott Base, established in 1957. The department also maintains institutes of nuclear research (1959), oceanography (1958), and wheat research (1928) and the Bureau of Soils (1946). Private scientific institutions receiving state subsidies include institutes of the dairy industry (1927, Massey University) and the meat industry (1955) and the Wool Research Organization (1961, Lincoln College). Astronomical studies are conducted at the Carter Observatory (1939), the Mount John Observatory (1965), and the Astronomical Society Observatory (1920). The Christchurch Observatory conducts geophysical research. The Medical Research Council, founded in 1950, coordinates medical research, most of which is conducted in institutes and university clinics. The social sciences are studied in universities, the Council for Educational Research, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, the Organization for the Study of Agricultural Economics, and various learned societies.

In 1970–71 scientific institutions employed some 3,700 persons, of whom about 1,270 were specialists. Of the NZ$35.8 million spent on scientific work that year, 78.6 percent came from the government (0.52 percent of the gross national product). Although primary attention is given to agricultural research, problems relating to the environment, mineral exploration and exploitation, the use of geothermal energy, and medicine are also emphasized. The Royal Society of New Zealand, called the New Zealand Institute prior to 1933, functions as an academy of sciences and includes 30 autonomous branches, learned societies, and institutes (1973).

In 1973 eight daily newspapers with a total circulation of about 750,000 copies were published in New Zealand. The largest daily newspapers are the New Zealand Herald, founded in 1863 (circulation, more than 225,000); Auckland Star, founded in 1870 (circulation, 140,000); The Evening Post, founded in 1865 (100,000); The Dominion, founded in 1907 (78,500); and The Press, founded in 1861 (70,000). The largest weeklies are New Zealand Truth, founded in 1904 (circulation, 230,000); New Zealand Women’s Weekly, founded in 1934 (230,000); and the Sunday Times, founded in 1965 (143,000). The country’s news agency is the New Zealand Press Association, founded in 1873.

The government-operated New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, founded in 1962, controls radio and television broadcasting. There are also several private radio companies. The New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation has 49 medium-wave radio stations and two shortwave radio transmitters, as well as four television centers and a system of retransmission stations.


New Zealand literature is developing in the English language. A Maori written language was created in the early 19th century on a basis of the Latin alphabet. It was used to record Maori folklore, the best collections of which are G. Grey’s Deeds of the Ancestors (1854) and A. T. Ngata’s Songs (1928). Maori authors write mainly in English; the best-known Maori writers are the novelist R. Paki (born 1900), the lyric poet H. Tuwhare (born 1922), noted for his collection Fall, Rain! (1970), and the poet and novelist R. Habib (born 1933).

The first works of New Zealand literature were written within the mainstream of English literary traditions and appeared between the 1850’s and 1880’s. Romantic poetry was composed by A. Domett (1811–87), the author of the narrative poem Ranolf and Amohia (1872), and T. Bracken (1843–98). W. Golder (1810–76) and J. Barr (1809–89) introduced the theme of freedom into New Zealand poetry. Colonial life was described in such autobiographical works as Station Life in New Zealand (1870) by M. A. Barker (1831–1911), and the “colonial novel,” represented by the works of J. White (1826–91) and G. H. Wilson (1883–1905), portrayed the adventures of immigrant squatters, the “gold fever,” and the patriarchal society of the Maoris.

The poetry of the 1890’s, tinged with awakening national feeling, is best represented by the collection New Zealand and Other Poems (1898) by W. Pember Reeves (1857–1932) and the collections of Jessie Mackay (1864–1938), notably The Spirit of the Rangatira (1889), in which she attacked social inequality. The idea of the historical doom of the indigenous peoples was reflected in the novels of J. Weston (1850–1928) and H. B. Vogel (1868–1947), in the collection Tales of a Dying Race (1901) by A. A. Grace (1867–1942), and in the stories and sketches of W. Baucke (1848–1931), published in the collection Where the White Man Treads Across the Pathway of the Maori (1905). Bourgeois civilization was criticized in Philosopher Dick (1891), a novel by G. Chamier (1842–1915). The atmosphere of the New Zealand hinterland was evoked in The Land of the Lost (1902), a novel by W. Satchell (1860–1942).

Cultural stagnation and economic hardship caused many writers to emigrate in the early 20th century. The works of Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) are thus part of both New Zealand and English literature. Jane Mander (1877–1949), who advocated equality for women, published the novels Story of a New Zealand River (1920) and The Passionate Puritan (1922). The humorous stories about farmers by F. Anthony (1891–1925), collected in Me and Gus (published posthumously in 1938), attest to the democratization of the literary hero. Tutira, published in 1921 by W. H. Guthrie-Smith (1861–1940), is a unique chronicle of life on a sheep farm.

The economic crisis and class conflict of the 1930’s led to emergence of an independent national literature. Progressive literary and social-literary journals appeared: Phoenix (1932), Tomorrow (1934), and Soviet News (1932–36; edited by the poet G. Watson, 1912–45). Much poetry of social protest was written. A. R. D. Fairburn (1904–57), R. A. K. Mason (born 1905), W. D’Arcy Cresswell (1896–1960), A. Mulgan (1881–1962), A. Curnow (1911), and D. Glover (1912) called for an end to spiritual dependence on the mother country and showed the bankruptcy of bourgeois democracy. A religious outlook characterizes the poetry of J. R. Hervey (1899–1958), Ursula Bethall (1874–1945), and Eileen Duggan (born 1900). In prose the realistic current was represented by the exposé novels Children of the Poor (1934), The Hunted (1936), and Civilian Into Soldier (1937) by J. Lee (born 1891), Passport to Hell (1936) by Robin Hyde (1906–39), and Man Alone (1939) by J. Mulgan (1911–45). New Zealand’s historical past is re-created in the novels So They Began (1936) by J. Guthrie (1905–55) and R. Hyde’s Check to Your King (1936). The short story became a leading genre; the contradictions of bourgeois society are shown in the collections Conversation With My Uncle (1936) and A Man and His Wife (1940) by F. Sargeson (born 1903). Nelle Scanlan (born 1892) published a family “saga” in four volumes between 1932 and 1939, beginning with Pencarrow.

National self-awareness grew stronger after World War II. Landfall, founded in 1947, became the leading literary journal. The New Zealand Poetry Annual was published from 1951 to 1964, and Poetry of New Zealand has appeared annually since 1971. The poems of D. Glover, notably those in the collection Sings Harry (1951), are imbued with democratic ideas, and the verse of J. Baxter (born 1926) reflects a disillusionment with bourgeois civilization. Moral and philosophical problems predominate in the poetry of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Among the outstanding poets of the postwar decades are C. Brasch (1909–73), L. Johnson (born 1924), A. Campbell (born 1925), K. Smithyman (born 1922), and K. Sinclair (born 1922). The participation of New Zealanders in World War II is described in the novels For the Rest of Our Lives (1947) by D. Davin (born 1913), Brave Company (1951) by G. Wilson, I’ll Soldier No More (1958) by M. K. Joseph (born 1914), and Fear in the Night

(1959) and An Affair of Men (1961) by E. Brathwaite (born 1924). A young man’s confrontation with the world of bourgeois Philistinism and bigotry is the central theme of F. Sargeson’s novel I Saw in My Dream (1949) and D. Davin’s novel Roads From Home (1949). The dull routine of provincial life is the subject of the novel The Last Pioneer (1963) by D. Ballantyne (born 1924) and Coal Flat (1963) by B. Pearson (born 1922). M. Gee (born 1931) satirizes New Zealand life. In his novel Forbush and the Penguins (1965), G. Billing (born 1936) depicts the cruelty of life. Oppression of the indigenous people and racial prejudice in contemporary New Zealand society are exposed in the novel Maori Girl (1960) and short stories by N. Hilliard (born 1929) and in the stories of J. R. Cole (born 1916) and R. Finlayson (born 1904).

Janet Frame (born 1924) writes about psychic and sexual abnormalities and the inability of people to communicate; however, her novels Owls Do Cry (1957) and The Rainbirds (1968) also contain social criticism. Realism and romanticism are blended in Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s novels, of which the best known is Spinster (1959). Psychological stories based on real events were written by B. Crump (1935), A. P. Gaskell (1913), O. Middleton (1925), P. Wilson (1922), B. Mitcalfe (1931), M. Duggan (1922), M. Shadbolt (1932), and H. Shaw (1913). The development of a national literature has been hampered by the overwhelming amount of commercial English and American literature on the market.


Novozelandskie rasskazy. Moscow, 1963.
Reid, J. C. Creative Writing in New Zealand. Auckland, 1946.
Mulgan, A. Great Days in New Zealand Writing. Wellington, 1962.
New Zealand Short Stories. London, 1966.
Stevens, J. The New Zealand Novel, 1960–1965, 2nd ed. Wellington, 1966.
Rhodes, H. W. New Zealand Fiction Since 1945. Dunedin, 1968.
An Anthology of Twentieth Century New Zealand Poetry. London, 1970.
Bertram, J. Towards a New Zealand Literature. Dunedin, 1971.
Essays on New Zealand Literature. London, 1973.


The oldest examples of Maori art are ornamental bone carvings, petroglyphs, and rock paintings depicting people, boats, animals, and the moa bird. By the time the British began to colonize New Zealand, the Maoris were building fortified villages, wood dwellings, meeting houses, and barns with gabled roofs and were decorating buildings, boats, and everyday objects with brightly colored carvings reflecting their rich and original culture. The images of mythical heroes created by the poetic imagination of the Maoris were majestic and awesome. Dynamic curvilinear designs covered the carved wall panels of houses and war clubs.

Cities with rectangular networks of streets and open spaces and greenery in the centers were built from the second half of the 19th century. The neoclassical and neo-Gothic buildings that prevailed in the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s gave way to modern structures of reinforced concrete with steel frames and wood decorations. New Zealand’s one-story buildings are constructed according to English models but have distinctive local features (large awnings, wide bedroom balconies) and are effectively blended into the landscape. Housing in Maori regions and villages is somewhat more primitive.

An indigenous school of art arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. G. Lindauer, F. Hodgkins, and C. F. Goldie painted portraits of the Maoris and scenes from their daily life. The canvases of P. van der Velden and J. Nairn evoked the country’s natural beauty. The Canterbury school, whose foremost representative was A. Nicoll, produced landscapes noted for their vitality and decorative generalization. Contemporary art is best represented by the large-scale paintings of L. Mitchell, the sculpture of R. Gross, the cityscapes of E. Page, and the industrial scenes of J. Weeks. New Zealand life and the legends and ornamental motifs of the Maoris are poetically evoked in the wood sculpture and wood engravings of E. Mervyn Taylor.


Vystavka zhivopisi i grafiki Novoi Zelandii: Katalog. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Bakhta, V. M. Aotearoa. Moscow, 1965.
McCormick, E. H. Letters and Art in New Zealand. Wellington, 1940.
Brown, G. H., and H. Keith. An Introduction to New Zealand Painting. 1839–1967. London-Auckland, 1969.

Professional theater appeared only in the 20th century. Amateur opera and dramatic groups, organized by various societies, schools, and universities, performed in many cities from the 1930’s. Touring professional companies were formed beginning in the 1950’s—the New Zealand Players (disbanded in 1960), Southern Comedy Players (1962–70, appearing at the Playhouse in Dunedin), Downstage (Wellington), and the Community Arts Service Theatre. In 1960 a professional New Zealand ballet was established, as well as a number of amateur ballet groups. Interesting work is being done at the semiprofessional Central Theater in Auckland and the Globe Theatre, a private theater directed by the professional actors Rosalie and Patrie Carey (the theater was founded in Dunedin in 1958 and has occupied a small building there since 1961). Prominent directors of the 1960’s and early 1970’s were S. Byrne, R. Barker, and C. Cathcart. Among the most popular actors were I. Ralston, R. Stone, and D. Fairmaid. Playwriting has only recently begun to develop in New Zealand. Successful one-act plays have been written by J. Baxter, J. Coppard, A. Curnow, and F. Sargeson. Various dramatic and musical groups participated in the 21st Auckland festival of music, drama, and art, held in 1969.


The first film made in New Zealand was a short documentary produced in 1898. In 1912 the National Film Unit, a state film studio, was established in Wellington. During World War I newsreels about the war were issued, and in the 1920’s, mainly travel films. The director R. Hayward was the first to produce feature films. His best films— On the Friendly Road (1936) and Love the Maoris (1972)—deal with the relations between the pakeha (whites) and Maoris. In 1936 the English documentary filmmaker J. Grierson helped organize a group of motion-picture directors who made socially and artistically important documentaries, notably Letter to Tokyo, Cabotage Vessel (C. Holmes, director), Legend of the Wanganui River (A. Pery), and The Hot Land (J. Finey). Artistic cinematography does not receive financial support from the state. Several “independent” directors have organized private film studios and finance their own films, for example, Broken Barriers (directed by R. Mirams and J. O’Shea) and Runaway (directed by J. O’Shea and J. Graham). The state-owned film studio produces only short documentary films. In 1971, 50 documentaries were produced, and 230 movie theaters were in operation. The best-known film actors are H. Morrison and N. Down, who has acted in British films since 1950.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

New Zealand

Official name: New Zealand

Capital city: Wellington

Internet country code: .nz

Flag description: Blue with the flag of the United Kingdom in the upper hoist-side quadrant with four red five-point­ed stars edged in white centered in the outer half of the flag; the stars represent the Southern Cross constellation

National anthems: “God Defend New Zealand” and “God Save the Queen”

Geographical description: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Total area: 104,440 sq. mi. (270,500 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Nationality: noun: New Zealander(s); adjective: New Zealand

Population: 4,115,771 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: European 77%, Maori 14.6%, other Polyne­sian Pacific peoples 6.9%, other 1.5%

Languages spoken: English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)

Religions: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presby­terian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, other 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26%

Legal Holidays:

ANZAC DayApr 25
Boxing DayDec 26
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Labour DayOct 3, 2011; Oct 1, 2012; Oct 7, 2013; Oct 6, 2014; Oct 5, 2015; Oct 3, 2016; Oct 2, 2017; Oct 1, 2018; Oct 7, 2019; Oct 5, 2020; Oct 4, 2021; Oct 3, 2022; Oct 2, 2023
New Year's holidayJan 1
Queen Elizabeth II BirthdayJun 6, 2011; Jun 4, 2012; Jun 3, 2013; Jun 2, 2014; Jun 1, 2015; Jun 6, 2016; Jun 5, 2017; Jun 4, 2018; Jun 3, 2019; Jun 1, 2020; Jun 7, 2021; Jun 6, 2022; Jun 5, 2023
Waitangi DayFeb 6
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.

New Zealand

an independent dominion within the Commonwealth, occupying two main islands (the North Island and the South Island), Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, and a number of minor islands in the SE Pacific: original Maori inhabitants ceded sovereignty to the British government in 1840; became a dominion in 1907; a major world exporter of dairy products, wool, and meat. Official languages: English and Maori. Religion: Christian majority, nonreligious and Maori minorities. Currency: New Zealand dollar. Capital: Wellington. Pop.: 3 905 000 (2004 est.). Area: 270 534 sq. km (104 454 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005