Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast
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
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal
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
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 - 25°C
in summer and 10-15°C 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
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
In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding
native Maori grievances.