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New Zealand Social Life and Community

New Zealand Social Life and Community

New Zealand has a very dynamic society. Our isolated location in the world, place in the South Pacific, and love of the outdoors, sport, and art make New Zealanders and our culture very unique.

The culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, affects the language, arts, and even the accents of all New Zealanders. A range of odd objects helps demonstrate what it is to be a New Zealander, or 'Kiwi'. These wonderful but weird things are collectively known as 'Kiwiana'.

Today's modern nation of New Zealand is still very young, colonized only in the 1850's. The political system is based on the Westminster parliamentary system inherited from Great Britain but has evolved in recent years to a more European styled party representation system. 

Today Auckland is the world's largest Polynesian city.

  • New Zealanders have gained a reputation as informal, laid back, and friendly people with a proudly egalitarian culture
  • Since 1996 New Zealand's system of government changed to Mixed Member Proportional representation
  • Immigrants continue to make up a significant proportion of the New Zealander population (24%). Because this is still a very green, clean, and spacious land it is very sought after
  • The population lives harmoniously and everyone enjoys the same citizenship rights under the law
  • Although it is around the size of Japan, New Zealand’s population is just over four million making it one of the world’s least populated countries

The Maori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). They first arrived here in waka hourua (voyaging canoes) from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki, over 1000 years ago.

Traditional Maori arts such as Whakairo (carving), Raranga (weaving), Kapa Haka (group performance), Whaikorero (oratory) and Ta Moko (tattooing) are still practised throughout the country. In arts and crafts, Maori are true to their ancestors' ancient techniques but have also developed many new methods and art forms. Contemporary Maori culture includes art, film, poetry, theatre, and hip-hop.

Maori people make up about 15 percent of the New Zealand population and many of them are actively involved in keeping the culture and language alive. Maori language and culture have a big impact on all facets of New Zealand life.

Visitors will immediately become aware of the language as the majority of place names are of Maori origin. At first, they seem very hard to pronounce but just give it a go and you’ll be surprised how easy it really is.

  • The population of New Zealand is 4,6 million people
  • The North Island has 3,6 million people, and the South Island has approximately 1 million people
  • 70% of the population is European (Pakeha), most of British origin/ancestry
  • 14% are of Maori heritage, mostly living in the warmer north
  • Polynesians from Western Samoa, Cook Islands, and other Pacific Islands make up 6% of the population
  • A significant number of immigrants from Asia, particularly of Chinese descent, arrived in the 1980's and now make up 8% of New Zealand’s population. Indian's make up a further 2% of New Zealand's population
  • New Zealanders have gained a reputation as informal friendly people and have developed a proudly egalitarian culture
  • Immigrants continue to make up a significant proportion of the New Zealander population
  • The population lives harmoniously and everyone enjoys the same citizenship rights under the law