Total population is about 3.7 million. Over 70% of the population are
in the North Island.
The largest center is Auckland (over 1 million), and the capital
The official languages are English and Maori.
English is more widely spoken.
Maori language, so long on the decline, is now making a comeback due
to the revival of Maoritanga.
A mellifluous, poetic language, the Maori language is surprisingly easy
to pronounce if spoken phonetically and each word split into separate
Pacific Island and Asian languages may be heard in cities.
The dominant cultural groups are the British and the Maori.
Other smaller groups include Yugoslavian Dalmatians, Polynesians,
Indians and Chinese.
A common thread that binds the entire population is its love of sport
- especially the national game of rugby union - and outdoor pursuits
such as sailing, swimming, cycling, hiking and camping.
The secular aside, Christianity is the most common religion, with
Anglicanism, Presbyterianism and Catholicism the largest denominations.
An interesting religious variation is the synthesis of the Maori
Ratana and Ringatu faiths with Christianity.
Banks 9:00am to 4:30pm - can vary slightly. Otherwise, Monday to
Friday 9:00am to 5:30pm.
Late night for shopping is either Thursday or Friday.
Changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act means that most shops are open
for longer hours than this.
Almost all are open Saturday morning, many are open on Sunday with
some shops and markets remaining open later during the week.
Tipping is not unheard of in New Zealand.
Employed people don't depend on tips for their income and service
charges are not [usually] added to hotel and restaurant bills.
Tip for service if you think it's deserved.
The international telephone access code is 64.
Area codes for a few areas are as follows:
- For Auckland and surrounding area 09,
- for the area in and around Wellington 04, and
- for Hamilton and the surrounding area 07.
- The entire South Island uses the STD code 03.
To place an outgoing international call, dial 00 plus the country
code and number.
To reach the local and national operator, dial 010; for directory
assistance dial 018.
New Zealand time is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or
11 hours ahead of Berlin and Paris, 17 hours ahead of New York and Montrιal,
10 hours ahead of Cairo, and 3 hours ahead of Tokyo.
New Zealand observes daylight saving time from mid-March to early
October, during which time the country is 13 hours ahead of GMT.
New Zealand's climate can generally be described as subtropical on
the North Islandknown for its beachesand temperate on the South
Island, known for its mountains.
Temperatures on both islands are mostly mild year-round, with
moderate seasonal and altitude variations, and there is never a time of
year when the weather is likely to spoil your visit.
The average January temperature in Wellington is 6° C (43° F), in
July, 20° C (68° F). In Auckland, those same months' averages are 8°
C (46 ° F) and 23° C (73° F) respectively.
Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
The basic monetary unit is the New Zealand dollar (NZ$), which is
divided into 100 cents.
Notes are available in denominations of NZ$5, 10, 20, 50, and 100.
Coins are denominated as follows: NZ$1 and 2, and 1 cent, 5, 10, 20, and
Current is 230 volts AC, 50 Hz, as in Europe and Australia.
Three-prong plugs (like those used in Australia) are standard.
Visitors from abroad who wish to operate personal small electronic
items, should bring a plug adapter and a transformer.
Driving in New Zealand is notably easy for most visitors.
Roads are well maintained and have plenty of clear signage. Traffic
is rarely congested, and distances are relatively short.
Driver's licenses of a few countries are recognized in New Zealand,
but visitors who wish to drive are advised to obtain an international
driving permit (available from automobile clubs in one's home country)
before departing for New Zealand.
The minimum age for renting a car is 21. Traffic proceeds on the
The New Zealand Automobile Association offers reciprocal services for
members of automobile clubs in most other countries, and they are a good
source of maps and guidebooks.
NZAA at Level 17, AA centre,
99 Albert Street or P.O. Box 5, Auckland 1,
Tel. +64 (9) 377-4660/fax 309-4564.
Throughout the country, 111 is the number to call for any police,
fire, or medical emergency. There is no charge for a call to 111.