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New Zealand, New Zealand Information

New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main islands (commonly called the North Island and the South Island), and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. The indigenous Māori named New Zealand Aotearoa, commonly translated as “The Land of the Long White Cloud”. 

New Zealand is situated about 2000 km (1250 miles) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. 

The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.34 million. Auckland, the largest city has a population of 1.4 million, which is about a third of New Zealand’s total population. The major ethnic group is of European descent; while the indigenous Māori are the largest minority. Asians and non-Māori Polynesians are also significant minority groups, especially in urban areas. The most commonly spoken language is English. 




New Zealand is a developed country that ranks highly in international comparisons on human development, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy, public education, peace, prosperity, economic freedom, ease of doing business, lack of corruption, press freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights. Its cities also consistently rank among the world's most liveable. 

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is also the Queen of New Zealand and is the country's head of state.  She is represented by a ceremonial Governor-General who holds reserve powers. The Queen has no real political influence, and her position is essentially symbolic. Political power is held by the democratically elected Parliament of New Zealand under the leadership of the Prime Minister, who is the head of government.  (Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand)

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1: Statistics New Zealand, Census 2006
2: www.reinz.co.nz, March 2008
3: Tenancy Services, Department of Building and Housing, Quarter to June 2007

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Waikato Institute of Education
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