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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - New Zealand

New Zealand Geography and Facts

Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates: 41 00 S, 174 00 E

Map references: Oceania

total: 268,680 sq km
land: 268,670 sq km
water: 10 sq km
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands

Area - comparative: about the size of Colorado

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 15,134 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Cook 3,764 m

Natural resources: natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone

Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 50%
forests and woodland: 28%
other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 2,850 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity

Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by species introduced from outside

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: about 80% of the population lives in cities

New Zealand, a collection of islands is situated in the South Pacific Ocean. It measures about 1600 kilometers in length and a maximum of 300 kilometers wide. The two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, make up almost all the land area of 166,940 square kilometers. As it lies on the western rim of the Pacific tectonic plate, it is exposed to live volcanoes, earthquakes, and areas of intense geothermal activity.

The weather in New Zealand can fluctuate throughout the day and it is possible to experience four seasons in one day. The north of New Zealand is mainly subtropical while the south is temperate. Central Otago in the lower South Island experiences extreme temperature similar to a continental climate.

The warmest months are from December to March, while June to August are the coldest. The average temperature ranges between 20 - 25C in summer and 10-15C in winter. Snow is relatively rare except in high country areas.

New Zealand is an island country in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. It lies about 1,600 kilometres southeast of Australia, its nearest continental neighbour. New Zealand belongs to Polynesia, a large island group.

It is the largest in area of the Polynesian island countries. The country consists of two main islands-the North Island and the South Island-and several dozen much smaller islands.

Most of the smaller islands are hundreds of kilometres from the main ones. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and Auckland is the largest city.

The country was once part of the British Empire. Today, it is an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of countries that replaced the empire.

The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand withdrew from a number of defense alliances during the 1970s and 1980s.

In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding native Maori grievances.

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