New Zealand

New Zealand is located in the South pacific between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, between latitudes 35° and 45° south, approximately 2000 km to the east of Australia. New Zealand has a temperate climate with relatively high rainfall, green rolling hills in the North Island and majestic mountains, lakes and fiords in the South Island. The spectacular scenery, friendly people and excellent facilities make New Zealand one of the World’s top tourist destinations.

New Zealand is a politically stable country governed under Westminster-style democracy, with free elections held every three years. It is a safe country, demonstrated by the fact that police on patrol do not carry firearms.

The quality of goods and services – as well as food and beverage within New Zealand – is exceptionally high, with New Zealand wines, dairy produce, meat and horticultural products having a well-deserved reputation for excellence.


For a landmass of only 270,500 km², New Zealand has a varied and complex geology. These features are a result of an active tectonic history related to a position on a plate boundary or continental margin throughout New Zealand's 600 million year geological record. This tectonism continues today with New Zealand's location on the boundary between the Pacific and Indian-Australian plates, along the "Pacific Ring of Fire" belt of volcanic and earthquake activity. Its dynamic geological past has endowed New Zealand with spectacular scenery and a wide variety of natural resources.

The rocks of New Zealand can be grouped into three elements which correspond to specific tectonic cycles in the geological record:

  • Western Province (Cambrian to Devonian) 
  • Eastern Province (Permian to Cretaceous) 
  • younger sedimentary and volcanic cover rocks (Cretaceous to Cenozoic). 

The Western and Eastern provinces are separated by the Median Batholith and were formed on or near the margin of the ancient Gondwana supercontinent, whereas the younger rocks developed after the separation of New Zealand from Gondwana about 82 million years ago in the Cretaceous. Transcurrent displacement of 480 km along the Alpine Fault has separated the Western and Eastern provinces into northern South Island and southeast South Island segments.

Geological map of New Zealand

New Zealand mineral resources and production

Mineral, coal and petroleum resources

Gold is the most important metal produced, but New Zealand also produces silver, coal, ironsand, aggregate, limestone, clay, dolomite, pumice, salt, serpentinite, and zeolite. In addition, there are resources or potential for deposits of platinum, titanium (ilmenite mineral sands), sulphur, phosphate, silica and mercury. There is also submarine sulphide mineralisation in New Zealand's offshore Exclusive Economic Zone.

Gold is produced from two hard rock mines and a large number of placer mines. Ironsand is produced from two placer mines and used in the local steel industry and for export. Additionally, a wide range of industrial minerals are also mined including the World’s most expensive clay – halloysite – for use in high quality ceramics.

Coal has been an important energy source in New Zealand since the late nineteenth century. Coal mining was established in all of the major coalfields during the last half of the nineteenth century, with production increasing rapidly in the late nineteenth century and into the early 1900s. Total cumulative production from all New Zealand coalfields has been about 260 Mt. Over the last 20 years, the West Coast and Waikato regions have been the largest producers.

Large sedimentary basins prospective for oil and gas may underlie up to 20% of New Zealand’s territory including the offshore Exclusive Economic Zone. Oil and gas exploration commenced in the late 1800s and current production is entirely from the Taranaki area where there are both on-shore and off-shore fields.  In 2018, the New Zealand Government banned new offshore petroleum exploration outside of existing permits. 

Considerable research and exploration attention has recently focused on sea floor massive sulphide systems of the Kermadec Arc, northeast of the North Island. 

New Zealand has led the world in research on these arc systems that have potential to host major resources of base and precious metals. 

Exploration along the arc has shown that over its ~1300 km length, some 77% of the submarine volcanic centres are presently hydrothermally active, with massive sulphides having been recovered to date from three volcanic centres.

300°C black smoker chimney,
Brothers Volcano, Kermadec Arc

Hydrothermal venting on the sea floor is associated with the active sites on several undersea volcanoes along the Kermadec Arc

Geothermal resources

Geothermal power stations contribute about 15% of New Zealand’s electricity needs. Geochemistry has played a pivotal role in the exploration and development of New Zealand’s geothermal systems.

 Geothermal systems and hot springs

Wairakei geothermal field, New Zealand’s first producer of electricity from geothermal energy

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Conference Organisers

Conferences & Events Ltd
Conference Manager: Claudette van der Westhuizen
 +64  4 384 1511

This event is organised by Conferences & Events Ltd, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson & Nationwide.  We are a New Zealand business.