A Young Nation Paving its Own Path

It is estimated that the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, arrived by canoe from East Polynesia late in the 13th Century. Kupe was the first Māori Chief to discover New Zealand, after spotting a long low cloud on the horizon from his waka (canoe). He named the land Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud.

Being isolated from the rest of the world has fostered a ‘can-do’ attitude in New Zealanders and a culture of innovation.

European settlement began in the early 1800’s, after Captain James Cook first went ashore in 1769 to become the first European to set foot in New Zealand. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had sailed the west coast more than a century earlier in 1642, but never went ashore. In 1840, representatives from the British Crown and Māori tribal chiefs came together in in New Zealand’s far North to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, laying the foundations of a shared nation. To this day, the country is often still referred to with both the Māori and English names together - Aotearoa New Zealand.

The nation was not without conflict, with a series of land wars during the middle of the 19th Century. During the following century, New Zealand, still holding strong ties with Britain, suffered heavy losses in both world wars. The famed Māori Battalion were feared by both Allied and German forces alike in WWII. Following this war, Kiwis have for the most part laid down arms, and taken up ploughs to build upon the nation's agricultural foundations.

Being isolated from the rest of the world has fostered a ‘can-do’ attitude in New Zealanders and a culture of innovation. This culture is so deeply-ingrained in the national psyche, is has entered the lexicon, and is widely referred to as  “Number 8 Wire Mentality” - a MacGyver style reference to the assertion that a Kiwi farmer can improvise or invent anything, with a piece of number 8-gauge fencing wire.

In recent decades, that innovative spirit has translated across into healthcare, education, technology and governance. Within the primary industries, it has led to world-leading agtech products and services that are giving New Zealand a competitive edge in these industries.

 
Source: Reputation Institute, 2012.

Source: Reputation Institute, 2012.

Source: OECD, Annual Report on Education, 2012.

Source: OECD, Annual Report on Education, 2012.