New Zealand

Economic Characteristics

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New Zealand is a developed country that has a comparatively small and open economy that is based upon free market principles. In fact, the Heritage Foundation has rated New Zealand with an economic freedom score of 82.1, which makes it the third freest economy in the world in the 2015 index (The Heritage Foundation, N.d.). Some of the factors that have allowed New Zealand to achieve this level of economic freedom include a well-established rule of law, the lowest corruption reported in the world, strong property rights (including intellectual property), efficient regulations, an efficient labor market, and a relatively open financial sector. Prudent regulations allowed firms to withstand the global financial turmoil with little disruption; including the economic recession of 2008 which it recovered fairly quickly from.

Another interesting fact about the New Zealand economy is that it is heavily export oriented. In fact, New Zealand has a very export-driven competitive economy with exports accounting for about 30% of GDP (New Zealand, N.d.). The top exports are milk powder, butter, and cheese along with meats and natural resources. The GDP breakdown of the country is as follows:

Cultural Traditions

New Zealand has an extraordinarily rich culture given the unique mix of peoples that live in the country. There are actually three official languages that are accepted in the country — English, Maori, and NZ Sign Language (Kwintessential, N.d.). The rough demographics of the country include the following:

Population: 3,993,817 (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic Make-up: New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%, Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%

Religions: Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)

The culture is largely divided between the Maori (indigent) and NZ European culture since the Maori represents the original population before European settlers emerged.

The Maori culture has been actively preserved by the ancestors of the original inhabitants. Within any Maori community, the marae provides a focus for social, cultural and spiritual life and the term marae describes a communal ‘plaza’ area that includes a wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room) (New Zealand Tourism Guide, N.d.). The ancient beliefs of Maori culture are recognised and respected by New Zealand’s leaders today. For example, there is one story of a road project in which the road had to be moved to avoid disturbing a Maori belief in a taniwha (water monster). The Maori culture is actually a source of tourism in the country so it makes sense on multiple levels for the country to respect their heritage as much as possible.

Jobs in Education

To say that New Zealand has a good education system would be an understatement. NZ has one of the best education systems in the world.

“New Zealand is a world leader for education, according to the UN Development Programme’s 2011 Human Development Report – ahead of Norway, Australia, Ireland and the U.S. The OECD agrees, describing us as “one of the strongest OECD countries” for literacy, maths and science. You’ll be working in an education sector that is admired internationally — and in fact attracts upwards of 100,000 students annually from overseas countries (New Zealand Now, N.d.).

Because of the dedication to education that New Zealand has, teaching professions are in high demand and the government clearly posts opportunities for foreign teachers to enter on a work visa.

The Ministry of Education in New Zealand hosts a website known as the “Education Gazette” that is one of the primary sources of job posting related to education in the country ( This site focuses on mainly early education through high school. There are other sites that focus specifically on foreign teachers who meet the English proficiency standards as well as many sites that focus on higher education. It is entirely possible for a qualified candidate to find a teaching job in New Zealand and quickly be accepted for a visa. There are many visa options such as work visas which are used for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services (New Zealand Now, N.d.).

Future Orientation

New Zealand’s future orientation can thought on many levels. In regards to education, future orientation has a relatively vague meaning but is meant to imply an emerging and advanced educational core. New Zealand represents one of the educational systems that is working diligently to continue to develop these concepts. One report conducted in New Zealand frames the issue of future orientation in the challenges that are inherent.

“The challenge is to develop a view of how the emergent cluster of principles that underpin future-oriented teaching and learning can be embedded at the whole-system level, enabling local and systemic development to support all New Zealand learners to successfully participate in, and contribute to, our national and global future as well as their own personal futures (New Zealand Council for Education Research, 2012).

This line of thinking has led to many emerging new themes for education such as creating self-learners and learners who can value equity, diversity and inclusivity. It has been identified that there are numerous global problems that have developed in the last century and education is seen as a means to address these issues in going forward. The policy implication include the schools being more collaborative on a local, as well as global scale, and branching out from the classroom to address these challenges.


Kwintessential . (N.d.). New Zealand – Culture, Etiquette and Customs. Retrieved from Kwintessential:

New Zealand Council for Education Research. (2012, June). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching – a New Zealand perspective. Retrieved from Education Counts:

New Zealand. (N.d.). Economic overview. Retrieved from New Zealand Now:

New Zealand Now. (N.d.). Education Jobs. Retrieved from New Zealand Now:

New Zealand Tourism Guide. (N.d.). Maori Culture. Retrieved from New Zealand Tourism Guide:

The Heritage Foundation. (N.d.). 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. Retrieved from The Heritage Foundation: