Helen Elizabeth Clark
Prime Minister

New Zealand

(pronounced "HEH-len ee-LIZ-ah-beth CLARK")

"My hopes for the future are simply expressed: a world where no child goes hungry or homeless, where all communities experience peace and decent living standards and show tolerance towards others, where the environment is clean and green and where affirmation occurs through cultural and creative expression."

The Dominion of New Zealand is an island nation situated in the South Pacific Ocean. Its closest neighbor is Australia, which lies approximately 2,400 km (1500 mi) to the northwest across the Tasman Sea. Only half that distance to the east lies the International Date Line. Consisting of two major islands and several smaller ones, New Zealand occupies 268,680 sq km. The southern island, extending about 800 km (500 mi) from southwest to northeast, is largely mountainous. The northern island is smaller and less mountainous but spotted with several volcanoes.

The population of New Zealand was estimated at 3.9 million (2002), with three-fourths living on the northern island. The vast majority of the people of New Zealand descend from European ancestry, with an estimated 75% claiming such a heritage. The indigenous peoples of the islands, the Maoris, make up nearly 10% of the population while other Pacific islanders and Asians make up the remaining 10%. English is the principal language but Maori is also considered an official language.

The economy of New Zealand is based principally upon the export of primary goods, such as wool, lamb, mutton, beef, fruit, fish, and timber. Imports include oil, motor vehicles, industrial equipment, and consumer goods. Its major trading partners are Australia, the European Union, the United States, Japan, and China. Trade with a variety of Asian countries has been increasing in recent years. The gross domestic product (GDP) is US $75.4 billion (2001 estimate) with a per capita income of US $19,500 (2001 estimate). The unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar.


Office of the Prime Minister
Parliament House
Wellington, New Zealand

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