New Zealand a wealthy Pacific nation is dominated by two cultural groups: New Zealanders of European descent and the minority Maori whose Polynesian ancestors arrived on the islands around 1000 years ago.

Agriculture is the economic mainstay but manufacturing and tourism are important and there is a fledgling film industry.

New Zealand has diversified its export markets and has developed strong trade links with Australia the US and Japan. In April 2008 it became the first Western country to sign a free trade deal with China.