Tourist arrivals in November were almost flat on the same month last year, despite a great leap in arrivals from China.
Chinese tourists numbered almost 195,000 in the year to the end of November, up 38 per cent on the previous year.
The jump saw China overtake Britain to become the second biggest source of visitors to New Zealand in the November year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Australia remained the biggest source of tourists, accounting for 45 per cent of all visitors to New Zealand (compared with 8 per cent for China).
Statistics NZ population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said arrivals from China have grown dramatically in the last 20 years, from only 3,300 in 1992.
“In contrast, visitor numbers from the United Kingdom have been declining for the last five years, with a 17 percent decrease in the current year bringing the number down to 191,400."
Holiday visitor arrivals in November 2012, at 109,800 were similar to November 2011 at 110,000, but there were differences by country.
China (up 2,500) and Australia (up 2,000) contributed more holiday arrivals, offset by fewer from the United Kingdom (down 2,000), Germany, and the United States (each down 700).
There were 2.565 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the November 2012 year. This was down 1 percent from the November 2011 year (2.583 million), which was boosted by visitor arrivals for the Rugby World Cup.