By international standards New Zealand’s coastal waters are relatively clean, although in areas close to larger centres they are more polluted. Little is known about the

Part of story: Marine conservation

Atmospheric pollution

Air pollution in New Zealand With the exception of some nuisance odours and agricultural spray drift, New Zealanders’ concerns about air

Part of story: Atmosphere

Ad hoc approach to pollution

Part of story: Sewage, water and waste

Air pollution began early in the first New Zealand cities, mainly from burning coal for domestic and industrial use, but also from burning waste and as a by-product of certain industries that produced noxious gases.

Part of story: Sewage, water and waste

Water pollution

Water pollution comes from two main sources:

Part of story: Water quality


It’s the air we breathe, it protects us from the sun, and it controls the earth’s temperature.

Part of story: Atmosphere

Cars and the motor industry

New Zealanders love cars – they have the third highest car ownership rate in the world.

Part of story: Cars and the motor industry

The future of coal

In 2019 coal contributed about 6% of New Zealand‘s primary energy supply, mainly for steel making, food processing and a decreasing amount of electricity generation. It seems likely these proportions will increase.

Part of story: Coal and coal mining


At the very edge of the land, the estuary seethes with life.

Part of story: Estuaries

Scientific observation

Factors affecting light The clarity of New Zealand light is a widespread perception, but is it real? There is no absolute answer. The light varies with the weather, the season, the time of the

Part of story: Light

Protecting the oceans

Oceans at risk

Part of story: Law of the sea

Lifestyle and environment affect health and are shaped by socio-economic factors.

Part of story: Health and society