Brief History of New Zealand:
New Zealand was one of the last major bodies of land to be settled by man. The first inhabitants arrived in the year 1000 AD. They were the Moa hunters and were people of Polynesian ancestry.
The first European to discover New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman. British explorer James Cook began to explore the coastline in 1769. New Zealand became a British colony in 1840. The initial settlers warred with the Maori tribe's people, but today the ancestors of the Maori and the colonists are fully integrated and all people have had the right to vote in the elections and participate in government since the late 1800s.
New Zealand officially became an independent country in 1947 through the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act.
The Geography of New Zealand
Total Size: 268,680 square km
Size Comparison: about the size of Colorado
Geographical Coordinates: 41 00 S, 174 00 E
World Region or Continent: Oceania
General Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Major cities: Auckland 1.36 million; WELLINGTON (capital) 391,000 (2009)
The People of New Zealand
Type of Government: parliamentary democracy
Languages Spoken: English (official), Maori (official)
Independence: 26 September 1907 (from UK)
National Holiday: Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
Nationality: New Zealander(s)
Religions: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, other 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26% (2001 census)
National Symbol: Southern Cross constellation (four, five-pointed stars); kiwi (bird)
National Anthem or Song: God Defend New Zealand
Economy of New Zealand
Major Industries: food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits, vegetables; wool, beef, lamb and mutton, dairy products; fish
Natural Resources: natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Major Exports: dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, machinery
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, vehicles and aircraft, petroleum, electronics, textiles, plastics
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
National GDP: $123,700,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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