The country has climbed 17 places to the number three spot in the UN's latest index to measure development, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The Human Development Report singles out countries with the greatest progress, as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI).
The well-being of the citizens of 169 countries is calculated by the HDI, which takes into account health, income and education.
New Zealand was 10th in 2009 and this year is right behind Norway and Australia who are first and second.
The life expectancy of Kiwis is 80.6 years, our average number of school years is 12.5, and the gross national income per capita is $32,046.
Top 15 countries
3. New Zealand
12. South Korea