Spotlight:New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand is a young nation with bold ideas and a reputation for delivering innovative solutions with a strong focus on care for people and place. The country thinks differently, combining curiosity, creativity, and practicality to achieve remarkable things for its size.

The nation has a rich legacy of world-changing solutions and ingenious inventions that stem from a tradition of curiosity and challenging the status quo. Innovation in emerging industries has moved New Zealand on from its agricultural heritage with transformative thinking across AgriTech, biotechnology, creative industries, food and beverage, manufacturing, education, tourism, healthcare, sustainability, and more.

Curious about how New Zealand performs in global rankings and why it is considered an excellent place for business? Join us for an in-depth exploration of global reports, studies, and rankings on the country’s performance, brand image, and reputation.

What Sets New Zealand Apart

In Māori, there is a whakataukī (proverb) – kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua. I walk backwards into the future with my eyes on the past.

This demonstrates how New Zealand’s history has shaped its people and behaviour.

From women's suffrage to pioneering energy from fission, New Zealand’s innovation is driven by care for people, places, and the planet. New Zealand’s story is grounded in the moments that have shaped the country.

Global research conducted by New Zealand Story identified the combination of ‘care’ and ‘ingenuity’ as unique to New Zealand. When tested with an international audience, these concepts showed that New Zealand is one of a few countries that can credibly hold these as their own.

New Zealand's Country Brand and Reputation

How Strong is New Zealand's National Brand and Reputation?

In a competitive global economy, reputation matters. And it’s important for a country like New Zealand, with an economy that relies on the strengths of its exports, to continue to grow and diversify.

Brand Finance’s 2024 Nation Brands report valued New Zealand’s brand at US$250 billion, representing a 25 per cent increase compared to pre-pandemic valuations in 2019.

Brand Finance ranks New Zealand 17th out of 121 countries for Brand Strength, scoring 76.1 out of 100 (AA+). This score is based on investment in the national brand, equity of a national brand in terms of public perceptions, and performance of the national brand.

Doing Business in New Zealand

How Attractive is New Zealand as a Destination for Businesses, Investors and Entrepreneurs?

New Zealand is a stable and dependable business environment. It’s one of the safest, least corrupt places in the world to do business with a progressive regulatory environment that can quickly adapt to the needs of industry.

The nation is ranked second in the world on the EIU Democracy Index and third in the world for corruption transparency – integrity is something New Zealanders take seriously in all they do.

New Zealand also ranks first in Asia-Pacific and seventh in the world out of 124 countries on the Global Opportunity Index. The Index assesses a country’s appeal to international investors, considering economic, financial, institutional, and regulatory factors.

How Much Soft Power Does New Zealand Have Globally?

The annual Global Soft Power Index is the world’s most comprehensive study on perceptions of nation brands. The research surveys over 170,000 people in 150 countries on their perceptions of 193 member states of the United Nations.

New Zealand is ranked 26th in the Soft Power Index and shows significant improvement in the ‘leader in science’ attribute, as well as Education & Science metrics.

Brand Finance has included a Recommendation Measure, measuring the willingness of respondents to recommend New Zealand as a place to invest in, buy products and services from, work and study in, as well as visit. New Zealand ranks strongly in these areas (overall 15 out of 193 member states).

Sustainability Performance

Is New Zealand A Sustainable Country?


Tiaki is a Māori verb meaning to care and protect, a concept embraced by all New Zealanders, a concept demanding the nation looks after its people, place and planet for future generations.

Sustainability matters to New Zealanders. It’s ranked first out of 30 countries on the Sustainable Trade Index, which measures the relative capacity of economies to achieve sustainable growth through global trade and investment. It was one of the first countries to pledge a carbon-neutral future and has a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

New Zealand's seafood industry has been ranked the most sustainably managed fisheries in the world, twice.

New Zealand is also ranked sixth out of 185 countries for Climate Change Readiness on the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Country Index.

New Zealand's Talent Attraction and Quality of Life

Is New Zealand Attractive for Talent?

New Zealand is ranked 18th out of 133 countries in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. It ranks in the top 10 in the Enable, Attract, and Global Knowledge Skills pillars, and is in the top 20 in the Grow and Retain pillars. The country performs consistently well in the Regulatory Landscape and Internal Openness sections – ranking first for political stability, the absence of corruption and personal rights. New Zealand is commended for its efforts to reduce talent-related gender divides and is ranked sixth in this category.

Other factors that contribute to New Zealand’s talent attraction include:

  • Education: New Zealand’s eight universities rank in the global top three per cent based on research, resourcing, graduate employability, and internationalisation. The Gender Social Norms Index also found that New Zealand has the third lowest percentage of gender bias in the education sector out of 91 countries.
  • Peacefulness: New Zealand was ranked second out of 163 nations for peacefulness in the Global Peace Index 2022, which is measured on factors including violence and crime.

How Satisfied are New Zealanders with Their Life Quality?

New Zealand ranks above average in many areas of the OECD’s Better Life Index, including employment, life satisfaction, health, civic engagement, housing, and social connections. New Zealanders’ general life satisfaction rating is 7.3/10, which is higher than the OECD average of 6.5/10.

Other factors that contribute to New Zealanders’ quality of life include:

  • Happiness: New Zealand ranks 11th out of 137 countries in the World Happiness Report, which is measured on variables including life expectancy, trust, social support, generosity, and absence of government corruption.

  • Human Rights: New Zealand is ranked second in the world for human rights, based on a country’s level of civil liberties including freedom of speech, religion, and individual economic choice. It is ranked 15th out of 169 nations for social progress and advancement – including political rights and freedom of assembly.

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: New Zealand is listed as one of the top three countries to improve against the dimensions of political, educational, economic, and physical integrity in the Gender Social Norms Index. The Global Gender Gap Index ranks it fourth out of 146 nations for gender equality across economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

  • Human Development: The Human Development Index ranks New Zealand 13th out of 191 economies for human development, which measures the richness of human lives against life expectancy, knowledge, and standard of living.

Happiness | New Zealand Story Group

What is New Zealand's Contribution to Global Well-Being?

The latest edition of the Good Country Index ranks New Zealand 19th out of 169 for its contribution to global well-being, with particularly high scores in Science and Technology (14th), World Order (15th), and International Peace and Security (17th).

Behind the Scenes

David Downs, CEO of New Zealand Story Group, shares New Zealand’s post-pandemic country branding strategy, including the opportunities for visitors, students, talent and businesses. Downs discusses his ambitions to build upon New Zealand’s legacy as a clean and pure nation and ambition of becoming one of the best and safest countries in the world for investment and living.

David Downs

Our thanks to New Zealand Story for sharing resources and information supporting our overview of New Zealand as location to live, invest and work. Interested in showcasing your region, country or destination? Contact us!