New Zealand


New Zealand is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. The 2 main islands are known as the North Island and the South Island. The terrain is predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains. The highest point is Aoraki / Mount Cook at 3,754 meters (12,316 feet). Outer islands include the Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands.

Environmental issues include deforestation, soil erosion, native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species, as well as water pollution. The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for environmental standards; however, the Department of Conservation deals with the conservation of natural and historic heritage. Since the biodiversity of New Zealand is a significant issue, the government maintains an online information clearinghouse for New Zealand Biodiversity. Climate change in New Zealand is also of concern; so, the government maintains a web portal for New Zealand Climate Change. The environmental movement in New Zealand has had a long history, and today the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand is the third largest political party in the nation’s parliament. In particular, New Zealand declared itself a nuclear-free zone in 1984.

Although New Zealand has no official Biosphere Reserves, it’s three World Heritage sites are classed as natural heritage. There are many protected areas of New Zealand, including 14 spectacular national parks. Tongariro National Park and World Heritage site is classed as mixed cultural and natural world heritage, due to it’s indigenous Maori history – in addition to being the oldest national park in New Zealand. The grassroots Waiheke UNESCO Reserve Association has lobbied for Waiheke Island to be declared a Biosphere Reserve. In 2013, it was announced that the marine reserves of New Zealand would be expanded with 5 new ones.

New Zealand is rich in wildlife, in the sea, on the land and in the air. Cetacean tourism is popular, both whale watching and dolphin swims. Kaikoura on the South Island is the whale watching capital of New Zealand, and the season there is between November and March. Kaikoura whale watching operators include Whale Watch Kaikoura by boat, Wings Over Whales by plane, and Kaikoura Helicopters world of whales. Dolphin experiences in New Zealand are generally in the wild, rather than with captive dolphins in dolphinariums. In the South Island, operators include Dolphin Swim Kaikoura and Black Cat Cruises Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa. In the North Island, there is Swim with dolphins Dolphin Blue in Tauranga and Dolphin Discoveries in the Bay of Islands.

New Zealand is famous for having no snakes; however, the so-called “sandflies”, actually black flies, more than make up for the lack of snakes. According to Maori legend, when the god Tu-te-raki-whanoa finished creating the landscape of Fiordland in the South Island, it was so stunning that it stopped people from working; so, the goddess Hine-nui-te-po became angry and created the sandfly to bite them back to work. The flightless kiwi bird is the national symbol of New Zealand, as well as common nickname for New Zealanders. For instance, Kiwis for kiwi is an NGO dedicated to kiwi protection. Otherwise, the Ornithological Society of New Zealand is committed to the study of birds and their habitat. The New Zealand Birding Network maintains an online Operator Directory for bird watching tours. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is a Christchurch attraction where you can find the elusive kiwi in a captive breeding program. Other bird sanctuaries include Tiritiri Matangi Project, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Maungatautari Ecological Island, Rainbow Springs, Ulva Island, Pukaha / Mount Bruce, and the Karori Sanctuary.

In New Zealand, hiking is often referred to as tramping or trekking. Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ is the national association of over 80 tramping and mountain climbing clubs. Te Araroa – The Long Pathway is the ultimate long-distance hiking trail, 3,000 kilometers (1,865 miles) covering New Zealand from one end to the other. The Great Walks are a popular set of national hiking trails, such as the Heaphy Track and the world famous Milford Track. Queenstown based tour operator Guided Walks New Zealand has been doing business in the South Island since 1868, over 145 years. Cycling in New Zealand is also popular, and there is a national New Zealand Cycle Trail being developed. Rail Trails of New Zealand is an online directory of bicycle trails along disused railway lines, such as the Otago Central Rail Trail. Rail Trails NZ is an online service that helps organize cycle holiday packages.

Caving in New Zealand is a growing part of adventure tourism, such as the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The New Zealand Speleological Society is the national organization for recreational cavers. Volcanism of New Zealand has resulted in many hot springs, and even a Hot Water Beach. NZ Hot Pools is an online directory to thermal pools and hot springs. There is a Volcanic Activity Centre on magnificent Lake Taupo. New Zealand is known for year round snow sports; Snowco and the New Zealand Snowsports Council provide a comprehensive reference to commercial ski areas.

The lakes, rivers, and coastlines of New Zealand provide a wealth of opportunity for paddling and watersports. For instance, New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato River, stretches 425 kilometers (264 miles) through the North Island. The New Zealand Canoe Federation is the national sports organization for canoe sport; whereas, Whitewater NZ is the national organization representing recreational whitewater canoeing and kayaking. The New Zealand Rafting Association is an industry association made up of guides, operators and other interested parties.

The Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers is a national association for sea kayaking; whereas, Sea Kayak Operators Association of New Zealand is an industry association for operators, outfitters, retailers and manufactures. Surfing New Zealand provides a comprehensive overview of the surf scene, and Wikipedia lists popular surfing locations in New Zealand. The New Zealand Underwater Association promotes all types of recreational diving, and includes a Dive Directory of shops, operators, etc.

National Parks:

IUCN Members:


According to indigenous Maori legend, there might have been another, older people inhabiting what they call Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud – who are known as the Waitaha. The Maori are Polynesians, and reached New Zealand by the 9th century. The Dutch under Abel Tasman were the first Europeans to reach New Zealand, in the 17th century – hence the name, “Nova Zeelandia”. The British arrived and took control in the 18th century, and by the early 19th century missionaries began settling. The introduction of firearms had considerable, adverse impact on the Maori, traditionally a warrior people, and a period of intertribal violence ensued, known as the Musket Wars. Throughout the 19th century differing concepts of land ownership lead to conflict and bitterness between Europeans and Maori. Following the period known as the New Zealand Land Wars, the small Maori community of Parihaka at the base of Mount Taranaki became the center of a major campaign of non-violent resistance to the European occupation and land confiscation. The slow march to independence from Britain arguably began with being the first country in the world to grant universal female suffrage, giving the pioneering women the right to vote at the end of the 19th century. Technically, New Zealand has no independence day; however, the national day in February is called Waitangi Day, in celebration of the peace treaty with the Maori.

The New Zealand Maori Tourism Council is the peak body representing regional Maori tourism interests, including the Central North Island Maori Tourism, Maori in Tourism Rotorua, Tai Tokerau Tourism, Te Ara a Maui, Te Waipounamu Maori Heritage Centre, Whanganui Maori Regional Tourism Organisation, as well as others. Maori village experiences include the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. Maori tour operators include Potiki Adventures and Waimarama Maori Tours. Maori Arts is an online directory of other Maori related services.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (Pouhere Taonga) is an advocate for the protection of ancestral sites and heritage buildings. New Zealand Lighthouses is an online listing of historic lighthouses. NZMuseums is an online directory of museums, galleries, and their collctions, a service of the national museum, Te Papa in the capital Wellington. The Aotearoa Artist Trail connects visitors with artists around the country. New Zealand has a thriving festival culture, in particular music festivals. Websites like Eventfinda are useful for finding what’s happening. New Zealand even has it’s own chapter of the Burningman contingent, called Kiwiburn. Other popular festivals include the annual Parihaka International Peace Festival in the North Island, and Luminate in the South Island. As of 2012, New Zealand was supposedly tied with Australia for the highest rate of Cannabis use in the world. In 2012, it was proposed that legalizing Cannabis in New Zealand would boost tourism, with Northland being the proposed Cannabis capital. New Zealand likes to emphasize its multiculturalism; so, among other religions there are a number of Hindu temples around the country, including ISKCON (see also Govinda’s restaurant in Auckland). There are also 2 micronation projects worth checking out, the Republic of Whangamomona in the North Island and the Independent State of Aramoana in the South Island.

The official Tourism New Zealand marketing campaign “100% Pure New Zealand” celebrated its ten year anniversary in 2009; however, in 2012 the New York Times highlighted how the county’s green tourism push clashes with realities. In 2013, the relatively conservative Tourism Industry Association New Zealand expressed alarm at deep budget cuts for the Department of Conservation. As of 2013, there were two major tourism development controversies raging in the South Island, a tunnel and a monorail in the Milford Sound region. Save Fiordland is a grassroots organization committed to the protection of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, which includes Milford Sound. Other development protests include long standing opposition to windfarm development in the North Island by the Makara Guardians. There is also concern about the effects of climate change on the South Island’s ski tourism industry.

The South Island town of Kaikoura has long touted itself as the first certified sustainable destination, now using Earthcheck benchmarking indicators. Innovative Waste Kaikoura developed Trees for Travellers for visitors to buy into native tree planting to reduce their carbon footprint. Qualmark is Tourism New Zealand’s official mark of quality based on responsible tourism practices, developed for the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign. Blue Flag New Zealand certifies beaches and marinas as meeting international standards of water quality and other factors. The semi-official sustainability institute Landcare Research (Manaaki Whenua) has developed the carboNZero program for certifying carbon footprint, based on international standards. GreenFleet is a suite of tools available for reducing the carbon footprint of transportation systems. Outdoors New Zealand, the peak body for outdoor recreation and adventure tourism, offers the safety based OutdoorsMark certification.

Many young people, backpackers and gap year visitors take advantage of the government’s working holiday scheme, a 12 month work permit for those up to 30 years of age. Otherwise, there are many opportunities for volunteering or work trade, such as the popular HelpX help exchange classifieds, or “wwoofing” on organic farms with WWOOF New Zealand. The New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers coordinates environmental volunteer opportunities nationwide. Volunteering New Zealand specializes in community opportunities for “young seniors”. The Global Volunteer Network is a New Zealand based organization providing volunteer opportunities worldwide.

New Zealand enjoys a wide range of accommodation, for those with small, medium or large budgets. The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand maintains a “Responsible Camping Forum” to address issues surrounding what they call “freedom camping“. Camping Our Way is the website of this New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum. Basically, the main issue is public defecation, due for the most part to the lack of public toilet facilities. Of course, the powers that be also prefer visitors to support commercial campgrounds, known as Holiday Parks. Dormitory style accommodations are called “backpacker hostels” or simply “backpackers”, and there are many private or independent ones available, such as the Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery in Oamaru on the South Island. YHA New Zealand operates the Hosteling International network of standardized hostels throughout the country. The Department of Conservation maintains an extensive network of backcountry huts.

Both homestays and farmstays are popular in New Zealand. The Look After Me Homestay Network is one of many services that offer to connect hosts and guests. Rural Holidays NZ is an online booking engine for farmstays. The Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand is a portal for quality assessed, home hosted accommodations. Luxury Lodges of New Zealand indexes larger accommodations.

One of the most popular ways to tour New Zealand is to buy a used vehicle. It’s much better to buy a used car in the south and go north than vice versa; because, the overwhelming majority fly into Auckland and head south, and then are forced to sell quickly just before they have to leave. Any office of the New Zealand Automobile Association can quickly and efficiently help with the particulars of transfer and registration. Otherwise, campervan hire is the way to go, and the sector is crowded with competition – rental companies include Apollo Motorhomes, Britz Campervan Hire, Escape Rentals, Lucky Rentals, Mighty Cheap Campervan, Wilderness Motohomes, etc. There are two main ferry services for crossing the Cook Strait between the North Island and the South Island, Bluebridge and Interislander. Typically, travelers cross the Cook Strait once – either north to south or vice versa, rather than traveling back and fourth between islands, due to expense and time constraints. There are also both public and private bus networks throughout New Zealand, with bus passes available. There are regular InterCity Coachlines, as well as private hop-on/hop-off services specially for backpackers, such as the Magic Bus. Additionally, there are services offering Rail/Bus Passes, leveraging the country’s railway network.

World Heritage:

ICCROM Members:


  • Seismic risk scenario planning and sustainable tourism management: Christchurch and the Alpine Fault zone, South Island, New Zealand by C Orchiston, 2012
  • Sharing a living culture: The guide’s role in managing Maori tourism experiences by T Dwyer, 2012
  • Understanding visitor attitudes towards seafood and tourism in the Nelson/Marlborough and Golden Bay Region in New Zealand to foster innovative sustainable forms of tourism by M Grudda, 2010
  • Exploring the impact of innovation in promoting sustainable tourism development: The role of key stakeholders on the top of the south aquaculture and seafood trail in Nelson/Marlborough, New Zealand by U Sassenberg, J Hull & L Jodice, 2009
  • Sustainable Tourism in New Zealand: the Chinese Visitors’ View by D Chan, 2009
  • The Potentials for Maori Cultural Tourism Products in Otepoti Dunedin by J Gnoth, S Boyes & D Gnoth, 2009
  • The role of key stakeholders in sustainable tourism development: the case study of Nelson/Marlborough/Golden Bay in New Zealand by U Sassenberg, 2009
  • Towards sustainable tourism planning in New Zealand: Monitoring local government planning under the Resource Management Act by J Connell, SJ Page & T Bentley, 2009
  • A snapshot of the ecotourism and sustainable tourism industries in New Zealand by S Rhodda, 2008
  • Benchmarking Ecotourism in New Zealand: A c. 1999 Analysis of Activities Offered and Resources Utilised by Ecotourism Businesses by J Higham & A Dickey, 2007
  • Ecotourism certification in New Zealand: Operator and industry perspectives by T Rowe, J Higham & R Black, 2007
  • Barriers to Maori Tourism Business by C Horn & B Tahi, 2006
  • Impacts of ecotourism on short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in Mercury Bay, New Zealand by DR Neumann & MB Orams, 2006
  • Lake tourism in New Zealand: sustainable management issues by CM Hall & M Stoffels, 2006
  • Maori culture next big thing in tourism by M DaCruz, 2006
  • A spatial analysis of commercial ecotourism businesses in New Zealand: A c 1999 benchmarking exercise using GIS by A Dickey & JES Higham, 2005
  • A value-based approach to Maori tourism: concepts and characteristics by F Kanara, 2005
  • Dolphins, whales and ecotourism in New Zealand: What are the impacts and how should the industry be managed by M Orams, 2005
  • Mountain scenic flights: a low risk, low impact ecotourism experience within South Island, New Zealand by NJ Westwood, S Boyd & CM Hall, 2005
  • The development of commercial New Zealand ecotourism: A longitudinal study (1999-2004) by AL Dickey, 2005
  • Towards sustainable tourism transport: An analysis of coach tourism in New Zealand by S Becken, 2005
  • Diseconomies of scale: A study of development constraints in small tourism firms in central New Zealand by J Ateljevic & S Doorne, 2004
  • New Zealand Ecotourism Operators’ Perceptions of Environmental Certification Schemes by TS Rowe, 2004
  • Rethinking Maori tourism by AJ McIntosh & FK Zygadlo, 2004
  • Service quality in New Zealand ecotourism businesses by V Keenan, 2004
  • The zoo as ecotourism attraction–visitor reactions, perceptions and management implications: The case of Hamilton Zoo, New Zealand by C Ryan & J Saward, 2004
  • And Now for the Next Hundred Years: An Assessment of National Tourism Policy Issues in New Zealand by K Simpson, 2003
  • Defining ecotourism in New Zealand: Differentiating between the defining parameters within a national/regional context by J Higham & A Carr, 2003
  • Ecotourism, Wilderness and Mountains: Issues, Strategies and Regional Development in New Zealand by AM Carr, 2003
  • Maori-based tourism in Rotorua: Perceptions of place by domestic visitors by C Ryan & S Pike, 2003
  • Maori tourism: Concepts, characteristics and definition by FK Zygadlo, AJ McIntosh, HP Matunga & JR Fairweather, 2003
  • Marine ecotourism in New Zealand: an overview of the industry and its management by MB Orams, 2003
  • Marine ecotourism in the New Zealand urban context: Emerging trends, new challenges and developing opportunities by M Lück & J Higham, 2003
  • Sustainable management of natural assets used for tourism in New Zealand: a classification system, management guidelines and indicators by KFD Hughey & JC Ward, 2003
  • The scope and scale of ecotourism in New Zealand: a review and consideration of current policy initiatives by JES Higham & AM Carr, 2003
  • The values associated with Maori-centred tourism in Canterbury by FK Zygadlo, AJ McIntosh, HP Matunga & JR Fairweather, 2003
  • Commodification and Adventure in New Zealand Tourism by P Cloke & HC Perkins, 2002
  • Energy use in the New Zealand tourism sector by S Becken, 2002
  • The effects of tourism activities on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Fiordland – working towards a sustainable solution by D Lusseau, E Slooten, SM Dawson & J Higham, 2002
  • Tour Group and Independent Travel: An Analysis of Asian Chinese Visitors to New Zealand by J Chen, 2002
  • Tourism and cultural proximity: examples from New Zealand by C Ryan, 2002
  • Tourism and Transport in New Zealand: Implications for Energy Use by S Becken, 2002
  • Towards Sustainable Tourism Development and Planning in New Zealand: The Public Sector Response Revisited by SJ Page, K Thorn, 2002
  • Accidents in the New Zealand adventure tourism industry by T Bentley, SJ Page & I Laird, 2001
  • How safe is adventure tourism in New Zealand? An exploratory analysis by T Bentley, S Page, D Meyer, D Chalmers & I Laird, 2001
  • Recreational tourism injuries among visitors to New Zealand: an exploratory analysis using hospital discharge data by T Bentley, D Meyer, S Page & D Chalmers, 2001
  • The Politics of Promoting Cities and Regions: A Case Study of New Zealand’s Tourism Organisations by C Ryan, 2001
  • Tourism and Maori development in Westland by FK Zygadlo, HP Matunga & DG Simmons, 2001
  • An insight into the personal and emotive context of wildlife viewing at the Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand by HA Schänzel & AJ McIntosh, 2000
  • Local planning for recreation and tourism: a case study of mountain biking from New Zealand’s Manawatu Region by P Mason & S Leberman, 2000
  • Safety in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry: the client accident experience of adventure tourism operators by TA Bentley, SJ Page & IS Laird, 2000
  • Tourism and Maori development in Rotorua by N Tahana, KTOK Grant, DG Simmons & JR Fairweather, 2000
  • An empirical investigation of tourist crime in New Zealand: perceptions, victimisation and future implications by M Barker, 1999
  • Developing Rural Tourism in New Zealand by J Warren & CN Taylor, 1999
  • Effects of tourism on marine mammals in New Zealand by R Constantine, 1999
  • Maori involvement in managing the environmental effects associated with the tourism industry by A Dolheguy, 1999
  • Maori Sustainability Concepts Applied to Tourism: a North Hokianga Study by D Urlichcloher & C Johnston, 1999
  • Some dimensions of Maori involvement in tourism by C Ryan, M Robinson & P Boniface, 1999
  • Striving For Insightful Tourism: Maori Attractions In Aotearoa by TD Hinch & AJ Mclntosh, 1999
  • Tourism energy flows on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand by V Johnson, 1999
  • Tourism Expectation Formation: The Case of Camper-Van Tourists in New Zealand by J Gnoth, 1999
  • Turning Green?: A Case Study of Tourism Discourses in Germany in Relation to New Zealand by I Sobania, 1999
  • A Comparison of Residents’ Attitudes towards Tourism in 10 New Zealand Destinations by RW Lawson, J Williams, T Young & J Cossens, 1998
  • Bicycle tourism in the South Island of New Zealand: planning and management issues by BW Ritchie, 1998
  • ‘Cracking the canyon with the awesome foursome’: representations of adventure tourism in New Zealand by P Cloke & H Perkins, 1998
  • Farm tourism in New Zealand by M Oppermann, 1998
  • Issues in Maori tourism by H Zeppel, 1998
  • Maori cultural performances and tourism by N Tahana & M Oppermann, 1998
  • Rural tourism in Otago and Southland, New Zealand by GW Kearsley, 1998
  • Sustainable tourism development and planning in New Zealand: Local government responses by SJ Page, K Thorn, CM Hall & AA Lew, 1998
  • Sustaining the physical and social dimensions of wilderness tourism: the perceptual approach to wilderness management in New Zealand by J Higham, 1998
  • Tourists and albatrosses: the dynamics of tourism at the Northern Royal Albatross Colony, Taiaroa Head, New Zealand by JES Higham, 1998
  • Wine tourism in Australia and New Zealand by CM Hall & N Macionis, 1998
  • Behaviour and ecology of Hector’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) in Porpoise Bay, New Zealand and the impacts of tourism thereon by L Bejder, 1997
  • Carving and tourism: A Maori perspective by C Ryan & J Crotts, 1997
  • Indicators of Sustainable Tourism in New Zealand: a Local Government Perspective by SJ Dymond, 1997
  • Maori and tourism: A relationship of history, constitutions and rites by C Ryan, 1997
  • Maori tourism by S Barnett, 1997
  • The impacts of marine tourism on the behaviour and movedment patterns of dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) at Kaikoura, New Zealand by K Barr, 1997
  • Surveying wine tourism in New Zealand by G Johnson, 1997
  • Sustainable Wilderness Tourism: Motivations and Wilderness Perceptions Held by International Visitors to New Zealand’s Backcountry by J Higham, 1997
  • The Global Meets the Local: Tourism and the Representation of the New Zealand City by DC Thorns, 1997
  • Towards sustainable tourism planning in New Zealand: Public sector planning responses by SJ Page & KJ Thorn, 1997
  • Wine Tourism in New Zealand: Larger Bottles or Better Relationships? by CM Hall & G Johnson, 1997
  • Heritage Tourism on the West Coast of New Zealand by M Balcar & D Pearce, 1996
  • Linkages between holiday travel risk and insurance claims: Evidence from New Zealand by C Ryan, 1996
  • The Impacts of Tourism on New Zealand’s Back Country Culture by GW Kearsley, 1996
  • The Nature of the Adventure Tourism Experience in Queenstown, New Zealand by T Berno, K Moore, D Simmons & V Hart, 1996
  • The Regional Structure of Tourism in Southern New Zealand by E Higham, 1996
  • The Social Impacts of Tourism: A Review of the Literature with Special Emphasis on New Zealand by R Lawson, T Merrett & J Williams, 1996
  • Wilderness perceptions of international visitors to New Zealand: The Perceptual Approach to the Management of International Tourists Visiting Wilderness Areas Within New Zealand’s Conservation Estate by JES Higham, 1996
  • Wine Tourism in New Zealand by CM Hall, A Longo, R Mitchell & G Johnson, 1996
  • Recreation, tourism and resource development conflicts in southern New Zealand by GW Kearsley, 1995
  • Developing Eco-tourism in New Zealand by JAN Warren & CN Taylor, 1994
  • Regional Aspects of Tourism in New Zealand by M Opperman, 1994
  • Wilderness perception and its implications for the management of the impacts of international tourism on natural areas in New Zealand by J Higham & G Kearsley, 1994
  • Domestic Tourist Travel Patterns in New Zealand by DG Pearce, 1993
  • Perceptions of the Runanga Iwi Act (1990) and its effects upon Tairawhiti Maori tourism development by HO McGregor, 1993
  • Residents’ Perceptions of Tourism in Selected New Zealand Communities: A Segmentation Study by TR Evans, 1993
  • Some perceptions of crowding at selected New Zealand tourism sites by D O’Neill & GW Kearsley, 1993
  • The implications of Maori perspectives for the management and promotion of heritage tourism in New Zealand by CM Hall, I Mitchell & N Keelan, 1993
  • Urban Tourism in New Zealand: The National Museum of New Zealand Project by SJ Page, 1993
  • Attitudes toward recreation and tourism development in the coastal zone: A New Zealand study by T Hickman & C Cocklin, 1992
  • Carrying Capacity: Its Application to the New Zealand Tourism Industry by K Malcouronne, 1992
  • Farm tourism in New Zealand: A social situation analysis by PL Pearce, 1990
  • Tourism Development and Users’ Perceptions of Wilderness in Southern New Zealand by GW Kearsley, 1990
  • Residents’ perceptions and acceptance of tourism in selected New Zealand communities by Z McDermott-Miller, 1988

New Zealand Data