| The New Zealand economy
was once primarily based on exporting meat, seafood, dairy products,
wool, wood, and minerals. The present economy is now much more dependent
on the income from tourists.
There is also a growing dependence on high tech
industries and expertise, TV and film production, back-drop provision,
special effects, and fashion.
Auckland is a city with more of a business and services oriented
financial system. The majority of people in the city work in the
service industries, while a lesser number are employed in export
The business directory shows familiar corporate names, such as Price
Waterhouse, Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, 3M, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, and
Auckland's mainstays are business and financial services, transport,
manufacturing, communications and the trade and hospitality industries.
The trade and hospitality industries reflect the importance
of tourism to the country as a whole, and to its biggest
New Zealand's biggest port is in Auckland, handling
50% of container traffic. Although it is an expansive city with
no specific Central Business District, most of Auckland’s
businesses are situated around Queen Street, from Cook Street, as
far down as the waterfront.
The Auckland region contains roughly 30% of New Zealand’s
population. Auckland's population, on average, is younger, more
highly paid and better educated than the general population.
The last major census in 1996 showed that 19% of Auckland’s
residents had a university degree, which exactly twice
the national average. However, this is due in no small part to the
number of people who move to Auckland in search of jobs after they
have finished tertiary education.
Tourism is New
Zealand’s single biggest income, currently estimated
to be worth well in excess of NZ $4.5 billion. This figure is constantly
increasing, because of the country’s high profile in the world’s
eye, as the world’s safest tourist destination, the home of
Middle Earth, or more precisely, where the Lord of the Rings trilogy
was filmed. This greatly benefits Auckland and raises its profile
internationally, as well as being the winners and subsequent hosts
of the America’s Cup.
Asian visitors traditionally have accounted for almost one fifth
of New Zealand’s tourists, so the 30% drop in visitor
numbers at the start of 1999 was due to the Asian financial
crisis. Asian visitors have once again returned to ‘the land
of the long white cloud’.
Economic recovery, following the impact of this crisis, has naturally
been welcome, arrivals at Auckland International airport have risen
consistently since 1999, and the 30% increase in passenger
capacity of 2003 has led to even superior numbers.
This excellent news is accompanied by a 3.4% increase in retail
spending throughout 2003, an overall current unemployment rate of
4% and a GDP of over NZ $100 billion for 2004.
Conducting business in Auckland is no different from the system
in any other major Western city.
There are no cultural pitfalls to watch out for,
unless dealing directly with Maori (who will outline any practices
before any meetings), and the only noticeable difference lies within
the nature of the country's people.
are notably friendlier, more relaxed and more informal.
Although jackets and ties are worn, jackets may soon be discarded
and shirtsleeves rolled up. A more informal dress code also exists
in most bars and restaurants, although the smartest restaurants
may still prefer a tie and jacket to be worn. Punctuality is appreciated,
although no one will be offended if the visitor is a little late,
especially at times when the traffic is busy.
Dinner is seen as a time for socialising and not business, so meetings
mainly take place over lunch. Invitations to dine out or to visit
someone’s home are far more readily issued than in many other
countries and are not just a gesture, they are genuine. The native
host will expect to pay for a meal or a round of drinks, however
guests can step in and pay their turn without creating offence or
arguments. 'Friendliness, not formality' is the
catchphrase in Auckland.
Note: Business hours are generally Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00