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New Zealand - Country facts

Map

Small map of New Zealand
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Flag

Country flag: New Zealand

Capital

Wellington

Currency

New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Internet Code

.nz

Location

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

Background

The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand's full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.

Climate

temperate with sharp regional contrasts

Terrain

predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains

Population

4,035,461 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, other European 4.6%, Pacific Islander 3.8%, Asian and others 7.4%

Religions

Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986)

Languages

English (official), Maori (official)

Map of New Zealand

Large map of New Zealand
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