- Estimated population as of 31 December: 3,091,900
- Increase since 31 December 1973: 65,200 (2.20%)
- Males per 100 females: 99.7
Regal and viceregal
The 37th New Zealand Parliament continued. Government was by a Labour majority of 55 seats to the National Party's 32 seats.
Main centre leaders
Arts and literature
See 1974 in art, 1974 in literature, Category:1974 books
- BEST NEW ARTIST Bunny Walters
- RECORDING ARTIST / GROUP OF THE YEAR Bull Dogs All-Star Goodtime Band
- BEST NZ RECORDED COMPOSITION John Hanlon - Is It Natural
- PRODUCER OF THE YEAR Mike Harvey - Is It Natural
- ARRANGER OF THE YEAR Mike Harvey - Is It Natural
See: 1974 in music
Radio and television
- The target delivery date for colour television for all New Zealanders was when the country hosted the 1974 Commonwealth Games. 
- Feltex Television Awards:
See: 1974 in New Zealand television, 1974 in television, List of TVNZ television programming, Category:New Zealand television programmes, Public broadcasting in New Zealand
See: Category:1974 film awards, 1974 in film, List of New Zealand feature films, Cinema of New Zealand, Category:1974 films
- The 81st National Chess Championship is held in Christchurch. The title is shared by P.A. Garbett and Ortvin Sarapu, both of Auckland.
- 6 January: Dion Waller, rugby player
- 10 January: Jemaine Clement, comedian
- 28 February: Moana Mackey, politician
- 27 April (in Australia): Richard Johnson, soccer player
- 6 May: Sean Pero Cameron, basketball player
- 2 June: Andy Booth, motor racing driver
- 15 June: Andrew Timlin, field hockey player
- 10 July: Chris Drum, cricketer
- 14 July (in Bulgaria): Pavlina Nola, tennis player
- 26 July: Kees Meeuws, rugby player
- 1 August: Michelle Turner, field hockey player
- 27 August: Michael Mason, cricketer
- 15 September: Emily Drumm, cricketer
- 11 October: Liz Couch, skeleton racer
- 23 October: Beatrice Faumuina, discus thrower
- 5 November: Taine Randell, rugby player
- 13 November: Carl Hoeft, rugby player
- 2 December: Robbie Hart, cricketer
- 7 December: Jason Spice, rugby and cricket player
- 10 December: Chris Martin, cricketer
- Kate Duignan, novellist
- Tim Selwyn, activist
- 13 February: Murray Hudson GC, soldier.
- 13 February: Sir Leslie Munro, diplomat.
- 14 February: Charles 'Stewie' Dempster, cricketer.
- 5 August: Robert McKeen, politician - 12th Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- 12 August: James Fletcher, industrialist.
- 30 August: Professor George Jobberns, academic.
- 31 August: Norman Kirk, Prime Minister.
- 12 September: Hector Bolitho, writer and biographer.
- 26 October: Dan Riddiford, politician.
- 11 December: Maurice Duggan, writer.
- Alice Bush, doctor and medical activist.
- Charles Elliot Fox, missionary.
Media related to 1974 in New Zealand at Wikimedia Commons