Which is most correct?

X is New Zealand owned and operated.

X is New Zealand-owned and operated.

X is New Zealand owned-and-operated.

X is New Zealand-owned-and-operated.

I apologise for the poor title. If you think it can be improved, please feel free to edit it.

  • X is a New Zealand owned-and-operated (something). Or, X is a (something) owned and operated by New Zealand. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 7:00
  • First, all your options are ambiguous: do you mean they are owned & operated (1) by the country (government, etc.) of New Zealand, or (2) by a company located in New Zealand? Secondly, I would include NO hyphens. Third, I would rephrase the sentence as "X is owned & operated by/in New Zealand". If you have a problem with phraseology, punctuation, etc., then re-arrange the sentence!
    – TrevorD
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 0:16
  • @TrevorD In this sense: australianmade.com.au. So, e.g. Australian made, American engineered, Chinese grown. It's a New Zealand company in the normal sense: located in NZ, incorporated in NZ, does business in NZ. Also common and similar is "family owned and operated", see here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/313512/…. I agree that no hyphens is probably the way to go. Although I think "X is New Zealand-owned-and-operated." is correct (not 100% sure), it looks clumsy, and I think it's still correct to drop them.
    – nmit026
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 0:28
  • What's wrong with "X is a New Zealand company: owned & operated there." or "X is owned & operated in New Zealand."?
    – TrevorD
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 12:30
  • @TrevorD nothing, except I wanted that particular order of words, which I think sound more patriotic.
    – nmit026
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


Does the sentence "X is New Zealand owned and operated." require any hyphenation?
No - for the following reasons:

  1. Nouns and adjectives are sometimes linked by hyphens to avoid ambiguity, but that is normally done (i) when the adjectives precede the noun to be qualified; and (ii) when the absence of such hyphenation may result in ambiguity and/or difficulty in reading or understanding.

  2. Is the sentence ambiguous without the inclusion of hyphens? No! So nothing would be gained by adding them.

  3. There is an added difficulty because "New Zealand" is a two-word name. Hence any hyphenation of "Zealand" with the following word (as in the Question's second & fourth suggestions: "New Zealand-owned and operated." and "New Zealand-owned-and-operated.") necessarily imply (i) that the word "New" is separate from the word "Zealand"; and (ii) that the word "New" qualifies "Zealand-owned" or "Zealand-owned-and-operated". Consequently, if the words were to be hyphenated in either format as proposed in the Question, then "New-Zealand-..." would also need to be hyphenated on the same basis.

  4. Additionally, the second suggested format is inappropriate because it ties "New Zealand" to "owned", but not to "operated".

  5. If I went for any hyphenation, it would be for the third version, "New Zealand owned-and-operated", because "New Zealand" is there clearly being used an an adjective to "owned-and-operated", and the sentence is clearly seeking to convey that the company is "New Zealand owned and New Zealand operated". But it is unnecessary, inelegant, and adds nothing useful.

In conclusion, I would suggest that the Question seems to assume that there ought to be some hyphenation - perhaps because there are compound adjectives, and then wonders where to put it. I agree that, in some cases, it maybe semi-automatic and/or appropriate to hyphenate compound adjectives, especially when they precede the noun. In other cases, they might be included for clarity.

But here, there is no ambiguity and no need for hyphenation, so why include any - especially as there is no clear hyphenation format that is appropriate.


In this example X is New Zealand owned and operated is the most correct.

Although X is a New Zealand Company could be ambiguous.

X is a New-Zealand Company refers to a company located in New Zealand

X is a New Zealand-Company refers to a new company located in the westernmost province of the Netherlands

  • Well, that is how New Zealand got it's name! Discovered by Abel Janszoon Tasman, a Dutchman. Zeeland is a Dutch province.
    – nmit026
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 0:32
  • Yes, I am aware of this. That's is why I used a hyphen, to remove any ambiguity.
    – RedPython
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 8:42

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