New Zealand, an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. To the west, across about 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of the Tasman Sea, lies Australia; to the north are the islands of Melanesia and Polynesia; and to the south, Antarctica.
New Zealand consists mainly of three islands: the North Island, the South Island, and Stewart Island. The rest of New Zealand proper is made up of the Chatham Islands, Kermadec Islands, Campbell Island, and the uninhabited islands of Three Kings, Snares, Solander, Antipodes, Bounty, and Auckland.
Island territories, not part of New Zealand proper, are the Tokelau and Cook Islands and Niue Island. New Zealand also claims Ross Dependency, an area in Antarctica.
The length of New Zealand, measured as a gentle curve from the northern tip of the North Island to the southern end of Stewart Island, is slightly more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km). Maximum width, from east to west, is about 220 miles (355 km). Because of coastal indentations, however, no point is more than 80 miles (130 km) from the sea. Cook Strait separates the North and the South islands; Foveaux Strait lies between the South Island and Stewart Island. Other coastal waters include Hauraki Gulf, the Bay of Plenty, and Hawke Bay off the North Island; Tasman Bay, Pegasus Bay, and Canterbury Bight off the South Island.
|Facts in brief about New Zealand|
|Official languages: English, Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language.|
|Area: 104,454 mi2 (270,534 km2). North Island—44,701 mi2 (115,777 km2); South Island—58,385 mi2 (151,215 km2); Stewart Island—674 mi2 (1,746 km2); Chatham Islands—372 mi2 (963 km2); other islands—322 mi2 (837 km2). Coastline—9,404 mi (15,134 km).|
|Elevation: Highest—Aoraki/Mount Cook, 12,316 ft (3,754 m) above sea level. Lowest—sea level along the coast.|
|Population: Current estimate—4,188,000; density, 40 per mi2 (15 per km2); distribution, 86 percent urban, 14 percent rural. 2006 census—4,027,947.|
|Chief products: Agriculture—apples, barley, beef, dairy products, hides, kiwi fruit, lamb, mutton, potatoes, wheat, wool. Fishing industry—blue grenadier (hoki). Forestry—Monterey pine. Manufacturing—beer, clothing, food products, footwear, machinery, paper, textiles, wood products. Mining—coal, gold, ironsand, limestone.|
|Flag and coat of arms: New Zealand's flag, officially adopted in 1902, features the British Union Flag and the constellation Southern Cross on a blue background. The symbols on the shield in the coat of arms represent the importance of farming, mining, and trade to New Zealand.|
|Anthems: "God Defend New Zealand" (national); "God Save the Queen" (royal).|
|Money: Basic unit—New Zealand dollar. One hundred cents equal one dollar.|