Information for this Year's Participants

Part 2: New Zealand

Historical Perspective

The Polynesian Maoris reached New Zealand in about the 900 AD and returned to their homeland. According to carbon dating, around 1300 a small fleet of canoes may have established the first permanent Maori settlement. In 1642, Abel Tasman, a captain on a ship of the Dutch East India Company, with headquarters in Batavia, the Dutch East Indies (the current Jakarta, Indonesia) discovered Australia and �New Zealand�, named after the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. In an encounter with the Maoris on the South Island, 4 members of his crew were killed and he never established a European settlement.

In 1769, the Englishman James Cook sighted the east coast of New Zealand and claimed the country for England. European exploitation followed by whalers, sealers and timber traders. By 1800 dwindling supplies made some exploitation � such as whaling - unprofitable. In the early 1800s, measles, smallpox and intertribal warfare killed about 20,000 Maoris. Around 1840, about 2000 European settlers and a Maori population of about 120,000 lived in New Zealand. Afraid that the French or Americans may lay claim to the islands, the British proclaimed their sovereignty over the islands in 1840 and entered into the Treaty of Waitangi with the Maori population represented by 50 Maori Chiefs. It provided them with the protection, rights and privileges as British subjects. The Treaty also included a clause providing the Europeans with �full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates, Forests and other properties�. Misunderstanding about the treaty arose due the fact that the English and Maori versions carried different meaning. This controversy continues to today. As a result, 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 number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.

Country Overview
New Zealand - Aotearoa in the native Maori language - is a country in the Southern Pacific consisting of two main islands and a number of small offshore islets. With a population of just under 4 million people and a total land area of 27.1 million hectares, the country is characterized by vast unpopulated areas mainly used for the agricultural and forestry industries.

New Zealand is roughly the same size as Great Britain or Colorado. It situated in the temperate zone - although closer to the tropics - and enjoys a climate varying from winter rain and snow, with abundant sunshine and showers to hot, dry summers. It is a fruitful land, rich in field and forest; particularly noted for its meat, wool and dairy products, fruit orchards, vineyards and cereal crops.

Perhaps New Zealand�s biggest attraction to tourists and visitors is its uncluttered beauty � with about a third of the population in the Auckland area. This leaves a lot of open space to be enjoyed and explored. From the majestic fjords and Alps in the south to the native forests and white sandy bays of the north, it is a land of beauty and many contrasts.

Climate: New Zealand�s climate is an oceanic, temperate one with no close landmass to modify it. Lying in the westerly wind belt with alternating patterns moving steadily eastwards, New Zealand�s weather follows a relatively steady six to 10 day cycle.
New Zealand enjoys long sun hours throughout the country. Seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere, i.e. warm October through April and cooler June through August.

The west coast regions - Buller, Westland and Fiordland - have a light-wind climate, with high rainfall and few extremes of temperature. Most places experience on average about 1850 hours of bright sunshine per year. Mean annual rainfall is high, generally increasing southwards, from about 2200 mm in Buller, to 6500mm in Fiordland, and considerably more in the Southern Alps. The summers are mild in the south and warm in the north, with afternoon temperatures often in the twenties, through seldom rising above 25ºC. An exception is the Reefton area, where summers can be hot, with temperatures occasionally reaching the thirties. Winters are cool. February is normally the warmest and most settled month of the year.

Entry Requirements: Passports are required for all visitors to New Zealand. Passports must be valid for a period of not less than three months beyond the date the visitor intends leaving New Zealand. Visitors entering New Zealand do not need any Vaccination certificates.

Geographical Location: 1600 kilometers (1000 miles) in length, New Zealand consists of two major islands- North 115000sq. kilometers ( and South 151000sq. kilometers ( The country is situated 10400 km (6464 miles) south-west of North America, 1.700km(1056 miles) south of Fiji, and 2250 km (1400 miles) east of Australia.

Time Zone: New Zealand, close to the international date line, is 16 hours ahead of US East Coast Time

Language: English is the common language of New Zealanders. The Maori people have their own, and the country�s only indigenous language.

Population: New Zealand has a population of almost 4 million, mostly of British descent; this population also includes 280.000 Maoris. The Maoris, of Polynesian origin, came to New Zealand in a great series of migrations before AD1200. Today, both Maori and Pakeha (European) are a united population, sharing the same legal and citizenship rights.

New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth of States and is politically run as parliamentary democracy under a Mixed Member Proportional Representation government. Its capital is Wellington, located on the southernmost tip of the North Island. Further to the north lies New Zealand�s largest city, Auckland, with a population of one million. The largest city in the South Island is Christchurch.


New Zealand emerged from the Second World War with its industrial and agricultural capacities intact, in a world facing major shortfalls in agricultural and consumer goods. The opportunities for a country with significant productive potential were such that in the early 1950�s New Zealand�s Gross National Product (GNP) per capita was ranked second only to Switzerland. However, New Zealand�s failure to capitalize on this wealth by developing industrial capacity, and its continued reliance on primary commodity products as its main source of income, saw it enter the 1980�s ranked beyond 30th in a list of countries� per capita GNP�s. By 1984 New Zealand was heavily indebted and facing a major currency crisis. A change of Government saw New Zealand embark upon a program of enormous reformation and restructuring, which embraced a market-oriented economic philosophy. A key tenet was that economic efficiency would be optimized if markets were allowed to develop and operate with a minimum of Government intervention. Key measures over the following ten years have included:

removal of producer and exporter subsidies
removal of incentive payments
elimination of import licensing systems and import quotas
heavy reductions in tariff protection
removal of most consumer subsidies
moving the exchange rate mechanism from a fixed to a floating system
orientation of Government services along "user-pays" lines
restructuring the Government sector to improve accountability, reduce costs and focus on priorities
re-orienting certain Government-owned industries to work as closely as possible to a private sector model
sale of some Government-owned industries to the private sector
assigning the Central Bank the role to control inflationary distortion in the economy
improving labor market flexibility substantively through the dissolution of organized labor

It was not until 1993 that the first real evidence of an economic recovery began to appear, but that appearance was both strong and robust. Real GDP growth accelerated to 6.2 percent in the year to June 1995. Unemployment began to track rapidly downward from 9.4 percent in March 1994 to 6.2 percent by the end of 1996. Meanwhile inflation had stabilized at around 2 percent, compared with 20 percent in the mid-1980�s. More recently the New Zealand dollar also gained in strength against the currencies of most of its major trading partners. The present New Zealand Government�s economic vision and strategy for the coming 15 years are outlined in a series of publications titled Path to 2010, Towards 2010, and New Opportunities. The future for the New Zealand economy is promising. The economic reforms of the past decade have created a strong foundation for sustainable economic growth.

The forestry sector plays an increasingly important role in New Zealand�s economy. It is almost entirely based on a planted forest estate of predominantly Pinus radiata. Forests cover 8.0 million hectares, or 29 percent, of New Zealand�s land area. Of this, 6.4 million hectares are indigenous and 1.6 million hectares are planted forests.
Forestry�s contribution to the national GDP has increased, from 3 percent in 1990 to 5.3 percent in 1996. In terms of export contribution, forestry ranks as the third largest contributor behind beef and wool. In the year ended 30 June 1998:

15.2 million cubic metres of wood were harvested from these forests
11.0 million cubic metres were processed on-shore by New Zealand�s industry mix of four pulp and paper companies, five panelboard companies, more than 400 sawmillers and 80 remanufacturers
the roundwood equivalent of 9.7 million cubic metres was exported, in raw and processed form, earning New Zealand $2.2 billion
forestry directly provided jobs for more than 25,500 people
forestry contributed to 5.3 percent of New Zealand�s national income

In global terms New Zealand is a relatively small player, accounting for 1.0 percent of the world�s total supply of wood for industrial purposes. However, the potential for forestry within New Zealand is huge. Based on the existing planted forest estate, New Zealand�s available wood supply is forecast to increase from 16.4 million cubic metres in the year ended 31 March 1998 to almost 30 million cubic metres by 2010, an increase of around 80 percent. Looking forward to 2010, it could:

cover 2.5 million hectares, or 9 percent, of New Zealand�s total land area
account for 1.9 percent of the world�s industrial roundwood (based on current total world production)
have invested up to $6.5 billion in new wood processing facilities (the investment comprising a mix of sawmills, solidwood remanufacturing plants, and either panelboard mills or pulp and paper plants)
have added $4.9 billion to current export earnings, ranking forestry as New Zealand�s number one export earner
provide jobs for an additional 35 000 people
contribute more than 10 percent to New Zealand�s national income

The key to unlocking New Zealand forestry�s enormous economic potential rests with sector investment in:

the health and quality of New Zealand�s forests
value creation through further processing
market development
people and their skills
process innovation and product development
a private sector and government partnership approach to dealing with common forestry industry issues


Biodiversity Issues and the case of the Kiwi:


Continue to Part 3- Itinerary