On 3 September 1939 New Zealand allied itself with Britain and declared war on Germany with Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand." Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category, which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year.
A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.
Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration.
Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy.
In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes.
The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.
New Zealand is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life.
Since the 1980s, New Zealand has transformed from an agrarian, regulated economy to a diverse market economy.
New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Sometime between 12, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture.
During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life.