New Zealand




Geography and Climate

New Zealand Flag


New Zealand is located in the southern Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,600 kilometres (995 miles) south-east of Australia. New Zealand is comprised of two main islands (the North and South Islands) and several smaller islands of which the combined total land area is 270,534 sq. kms (104,454 sq. mls – approximately 36 times less than the US). It is similar in size to Colorado and somewhere in between the size of Japan and the United Kingdom.

New Zealand’s geography includes spectacular landscapes incorporating the vast mountain chain of the Southern Alps (larger than the French, Austrian and Swiss Alps combined), the volcano region of the North Island, fiords, glaciers, lakes, rainforests and extensive grassy plains.

New Zealand experiences summer from December – February and winter from June – August. The climate is temperate with little extreme. Any huge variations in temperature can be accounted for by the combination of the mountainous geography and prevailing westerly winds.


Government


New Zealand is an independent state of the Commonwealth. The Queen is represented in New Zealand by the Governor General, The democratic government operates under the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) Parliamentary system of 120 seats (of which 67 Members of Parliament are from geographic areas and 53 from political parties). The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the Right Honorable John Key.


Leisure & Tourism


New Zealanders are heavily involved in outdoors activities. Our national image and the lifestyles of the population have been largely shaped by our involvement in a wide variety of sports and leisure activities. It is often said that sports and leisure are the predominant focus of the New Zealand cultural identity, for example, New Zealand’s involvement in international rugby.

New Zealand is a popular holiday destination for visitors from Australia, North America, the United Kingdom and Japan.


Economy


New Zealand’s economy is heavily dependent on overseas trade. Traditionally a large proportion of New Zealand’s exports, (mainly agricultural products), go to the United Kingdom.

New Zealand has developed its agriculture and manufacturing industries to suit the needs of niche markets. Dairy and meat exports still make a large contribution to New Zealand’s economy. However, industries such as forestry, horticulture, fishing, manufacturing and tourism have become increasingly significant.

Australia is now our number one merchandise export market. The United States has increased its share to become our second largest export market, followed by Japan, and in fourth place the United Kingdom. .

The New Zealand currency is the New Zealand dollar. One dollar is equal to 100 cents.

NEW ZEALAND FACTS

  • Population: 4 million
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Major languages: English, Maori
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 76 years (men), 81 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: 1 New Zealand dollar ($NZ) = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Wool, food and dairy products, wood and paper products
  • Internet domain: .nz
  • International dialling code: +64