About New Zealand

New Zealand (‘Aotearoa’ in Maori) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It has two main islands, North Island and South Island. Its closest neighbour is Australia, more than 4,100 kilometres to the north-west. New Zealand has been shaped by volcanic activity and some of its volcanoes are still active. It has a diverse environment including mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and a long coastline of sandy beaches

Find out more about New Zealand.




English Māori

Both English and Māori are official languages, with English the predominant language spoken. In April 2006, New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language.


5.084 million (2022)


268,000 square kilometres

High Commissioner

Acting High Commissioner Shannon Austin



Joined Commonwealth

1931 under the Statute of Westminster

Episode guests

Bede Corry

H.E. Bede Corry

New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States

In July 2022, the New Zealand Government announced that Mr Corry had been appointed as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States.

Before joining the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, Ambassador Corry was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. He has also held significant roles in the New Zealand Public Service, including as Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, and as New Zealand’s Ambassador to Thailand.

Song of Allegiance

by R. A. K. Mason

Shakespeare Milton Keats are dead
Donne lies in a lowly bed

Shelley at last calm doth lie
knowing “whence we are and why”

Byron Wordsworth both are gone
Coleridge Beddoes Tennyson

Housman neither knows nor cares
how “this heavy world” now fares

Little clinging grains enfold
all the mighty minds of old . . .

They are gone and I am here
stoutly bringing up the rear

Where they went with limber ease
toil I on with bloody knees

Though my voice is cracked and harsh
stoutly in the rear I march

Though my song have none to hear

boldly bring I up the rear


by Bill Manhire

I was the first of birds to sing
I sang to signal rain
the one I loved was singing
and singing once again

My wings were made of sunlight
my tail was made of frost
my song was now a warning
and now a song of love

I sang upon a postage stamp
I sang upon your coins
but money courted beauty
you could not see the joins

Where are you when you vanish?
Where are you when you’re found?
I’m made of greed and anguish
a feather on the ground


I lived among you once
and now I can’t be found
I’m made of things that vanish
a feather on the ground


by Fleur Adcock

November ’63: eight months in London.
I pause on the low bridge to watch the pelicans:
they float swanlike, arching their white necks
over only slightly ruffled bundles of wings,
burying awkward beaks in the lake’s water

I clench cold fists in my Marks and Spencer’s jacket
and secretly test my accent once again:
St James’s Park, St James’s Park, St James’s Park.