Society and Culture
New Zealand is a harmonious and friendly society, unique in its identity. It is a multicultural fusion of Maori, Polynesian, Asian, and European cultures, and is recognised for a progressive humanitarian and pacifist stance, liberal politics, and world-leading social welfare. Cultural highlights include food and wine (and festivals celebrating these), outdoor activities and scenery, live music, a huge rugby tradition, and traditional Maori arts and crafts.
New Zealand has a stable, healthy economy characterised by low inflation and steady growth, and a high standard of living. Over 50% of exports are agricultural products. The country is heavily dependent on free trade, and maintains a strong export industry with partners such as the United States, the U.K., Japan, and Australia. The dominant sector is agriculture and services, but manufacturing, construction and raw materials are also important. Tourism is also a major contributor to the economy; New Zealand is recognised around the world as being uniquely beautiful. The currency is the New Zealand Dollar.
New Zealand is divided into 12 regions and 74 districts (15 of these are designated as cities) with a parliamentary system based on the British system, with special land legislation and courts for the Maori. It is a constitutional monarchy: Queen Elizabeth II is officially Queen of New Zealand, and she is represented by a Governor General, who ratifies all laws by the elected New Zealand parliament. New Zealand is a fully independent member of the Commonwealth.