The number of visitors arriving in New Zealand continued to break records in December.

The number of visitors arriving in New Zealand reached 444,900 in December, the highest-ever monthly figure. The biggest increase was in visitors from China, up 11,000 (43 per cent) from December 2014.

Statistics New Zealand released the arrivals figures today, and said annual visitor arrivals reached a record 3.13 million, up 10 per cent from the previous year.

"The previous record of 402,500, set in December 2014, was easily surpassed this month," population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner said. "This was mainly driven by a 17 per cent increase in arrivals of holidaymakers."


Of the visitors arriving in New Zealand, 1.33 million of visitors were from Australia, 355,900 from China and 243,100 from the United States in the December year.

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The migration rate declined in December. Seasonally adjusted figures showed a net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 5,500 migrants in December, down from the record high of 6,200 in November.

New Zealand's annual net gain of migrants has set records for the last 17 months, with an unadjusted figure of 64,900 in the December 2015 year.

The country had a record high of 121,900 migrant arrivals and 57,000 migrant departures.

Annual net gains from Australia continued to increase, with 800 migrants in the December 2015 year. This was the highest net gain since the October 1991 year, and the third month in a row to show an annual net gain of migrants from Australia. Almost two-thirds of the arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens.

New Zealand residents took a record 2.41 million overseas trips in the December 2015 year, up 6 per cent from the year before.

Departures to Australia contributed to the record, with an increase of 45,700 trips (4 percent) compared with the December 2014 year.

Read the full release from Statistics NZ here.