About New Zealand

New Zealand is a young but thriving island nation with a flourishing exporter base, a strong manufacturing sector and an ever growing population that relies heavily on imports via sea trade.

New Zealand – also known as Aotearoa, ‘the land of the long white cloud’ – is located in the south-western Pacific ocean, approximately 2000 kilometres (1,250 miles) south-east across the Tasman Sea from Australia

The country is made up of the two main islands – the North Island and South Island – and numerous smaller islands. It is comparable in size to Great Britain, Colorado and Japan and has a population of just over 4 million people.

New Zealand has a mixed economy that operates on free market principles. It has sizeable goods-producing and service industries, complemented by a highly efficient primary sector.

Major urban areas include Auckland, Hamilton, Napier-Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Just over a third of the total population live in Auckland, a centre which represents approximately 30% of New Zealand's economic output.

New Zealand’s trade and economy has been built around its reliance on imports and a range of primary export products such as wool, meat and dairy.

These agricultural exports, particularly dairy and meat products, remain staples in New Zealand’s trade with the world, while other key exports now also include mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment, aluminium, forestry products and seafood. New Zealand’s major export trading partners by value are Australia, China, the United States of America, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Top imports by value include mechanical and electrical machinery and equipment, vehicles, textiles, plastics, iron and steel. Major trading partners for imports are similar to those for exports, with Australia, China, the United States of America, Japan and Germany leading by value.  For more information about Ports of Auckland's leading trading partners and import and export commodities, download our 2012 Facts and Figures booklet.

Tourism is also a strong and growing sector in New Zealand, thanks to the country’s unique natural environment and extreme-sports reputation. Cruises to, from and around New Zealand are increasing in popularity. Ports of Auckland handled 100 cruise ship calls in the year ended June 2013, catering to more than 200,000 passengers.

Auckland was originally one of the nation’s first-capitals, following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and chosen specifically for its potential as port. Today, Wellington is New Zealand’s capital, but Auckland remains home to the country’s leading Port company and largest container port by volume and value.

Ports of Auckland has a number of natural advantages, which means it is ideally positioned to serve New Zealand’s trading needs.

Most important is close proximity to the Auckland market – New Zealand’s hub and the largest regional economy. Home to two-thirds of the country’s top 200 companies, Auckland is also New Zealand’s fastest-growing region.

In total there are 14 ports and 13 port companies in New Zealand. Ports of Auckland is the only port company to operate two seaports – one on the Waitemata Harbour near the Auckland central business district and one on the Manukau Harbour in Onehunga. The company also operates a strategically placed Freight Hub in Wiri, South Auckland.

For more information about New Zealand visit the Statistics New Zealand website to read ‘New Zealand in profile 2013’, or visit the Tourism New Zealand website.  For more guidance on doing business in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Economic Development or  New Zealand Trade and Enterprise websites.