- Estimated population as of 31 December: 2,359,700
- Increase since 31 December 1958: 43,700 (1.89%)
- Males per 100 females: 101.0
Regal and viceregal
The 32nd New Zealand Parliament continued. In power was the Labour government led by Walter Nash.
Main centre leaders
Arts and literature
See 1959 in art, 1959 in literature, Category:1959 books
See: 1959 in music
See: Public broadcasting in New Zealand
See: Category:1959 film awards, 1959 in film, List of New Zealand feature films, Cinema of New Zealand, Category:1959 films
Appointments and awards
See: New Zealand Order of Merit, Order of New Zealand
- Raymond Puckett wins his second national title in the men's marathon, clocking 2:27:28.2 on 7 March in Palmerston North.
- The 66th National Chess Championship was held in Hamilton. The title was shared between F.A. Foulds and B.C. Menzies, both of Auckland.
- The British Lions team toured New Zealand, losing the Test series 3-1. They also lost two of their 21 provincial games, to Canterbury and Otago.
- 18 July, Carisbrook, Dunedin: New Zealand 18 – 17 British Isles
- 15 August, Athletic Park, Wellington: New Zealand 11 – 8 British Isles
- 29 August, Lancaster Park, Christchurch: New Zealand 22 – 8 British Isles
- 19 September, Eden Park, Auckland: New Zealand 6 – 9 British Isles
- The national men's team played one match against a visiting Costa Rican club side:
- The Chatham Cup was won by Dunedin team Northern who beat North Shore United 3-2 in the final.
- Provincial league champions:
- Auckland: North Shore United
- Bay of Plenty: Kahukura
- Buller: Denniston Hotspurs
- Canterbury: Western
- Hawke's Bay: Napier Athletic
- Manawatu: Kiwi United
- Marlborough: Woodbourne
- Nelson: Rangers
- Northland: Otangarei United
- Otago: Northern AFC
- Poverty Bay: Eastern Union
- South Canterbury: West End
- Southland: Rovers
- Taranaki: Moturoa
- Waikato: Hamilton Technical OB
- Wairarapa: Douglas Villa
- Wanganui: New Settlers
- Wellington: Northern
- 13 April: Justin Boyle , cricketer.
- 8 May: Ingrid Jagersma, cricketer.
- 9 May: Andrew Jones , cricketer.
- 16 May: Greg Johnston, rower.
- 26 May: Brett Austin , breaststroke swimmer.
- 28 May: Eric Verdonk, rower.
- 4 September: Robbie Deans , rugby player and coach.
- 14 September: Brendon Bracewell , cricketer.
- 27 September: Mark Inglis , mountaineer.
- 3 November: Vaughan Brown , cricketer.
- 12 December: George Keys, rower.
Media related to 1959 in New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons