Running the Country

What does the government do to keep New Zealand running smoothly?
How does Parliament work?
What is the job of the MPs?
What rights do you have as a citizen?
You will discover these answers and more including facts about how laws are made, our currency, voting at the elections and the role of the media in ‘Running the Country’. Read the fascinating profiles of New Zealand leaders, illustrated by cartoonist Malcolm Evans. Follow the timeline that maps New Zealand’s human history. Click on the links to watch videos of parliament in action and close-up images of the Treaty of Waitangi and other interesting photographs and videos. You’ll also find stats to wow you, and other interesting facts about how are country is run.

Awarded the 2014 Storylines Notable Book in the non-fiction category.


How does Parliament work? Who’s who? What exactly do Members of Parliament (MPs) do? How does the Government keep New Zealand running smoothly? Maria Gill’s Running the Country answers these questions and more. This updated edition includes the 2017 election results and the appointment of the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister. Maria also clearly explains how MMP impacted the way our current Government was formed. Read more … (Andrea, NZ Book Lovers)

A very good Information book that is an essential purchase for schools and would make an excellent addition to the home. Read more … (Bob, Bob’s Book Blog)

Teachers' resources & links

Journal notes

New Holland asked me if I would like to write a children’s book on how the country is run – there hadn’t been one written for 30 years. I said yes, of course.

While I was in Wellington I took the opportunity to visit Parliament buildings. The guides showed us the debating chamber, select committee room and where the Governor General and Queen sit on the throne. The artwork was stunning throughout the buildings but the best part was downstairs – the engine room – where you could see how they’d made the government buildings earthquake safe.

The librarians were helpful giving me newspaper articles and books to read so I could begin my research.

We had several Parliamentary people check the manuscript and then it was off to the printers!

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