270,534 sq km (102,374 sq miles).
14.0 per sq km.
Wellington. Population: 412,600(1996, including Kapiti). Auckland, with a population of 1,073,000 (1996, including Pukekohe), is the largest urban area in the country.
New Zealand is 1930km (1200 miles) southeast of Australia and consists of two major islands, the North Island (114,470 sq km/44,197 sq miles) and the South Island (150,660 sq km/58,170 sq miles), which are separated by Cook Strait. Stewart Island (1750 sq km/676 sq miles) is located immediately south of the South Island, and the Chatham Islands lie 800km (500 miles) to the east of Christchurch. Going from north to south temperatures decrease. Compared to its huge neighbour Australia, New Zealand’s three islands make up a country that is relatively small (about 20% more land mass than the British Isles). Two-thirds of the country is mountainous, a region of swift-flowing rivers, deep alpine lakes and dense subtropical forest. The country’s largest city, Auckland, is situated on the peninsula that forms the northern part of North Island. The southern part of North Island is characterised by fertile coastal plains rising up to volcanic peaks. Around Rotorua, 240km (149 miles) south of Auckland, there is thermal activity in the form of geysers, pools of boiling mud, springs of hot mineral water, silica terraces, coloured craters and hissing fumaroles which make Rotorua a world-famous tourist attraction. The South Island is larger, although only about one-third of the population live there. The Southern Alps extend the whole length of the island, culminating in Mount Cook, the country’s highest peak. In the same region are the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers.
There are also four Associated Territories: The Cook Islands, about 3500km (2175 miles) northeast of New Zealand; Niue, 920km (570 miles) west of the Cook Islands (area 260 sq km/100 sq miles); Tokelau, three atolls about 960km (600 miles) northwest of Niue (area 12 sq km/4 sq miles) and the Ross Dependency, which consists of over 700,000 sq km (270,270 sq miles) of the Antarctic.
Constitutional monarchy since 1907. Head of State: HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae. Head of Government: Prime Minister John Key.
English is the common and everyday language, but other languages are also spoken, including Maori, which is New Zealand’s second official language (spoken by the indigenous Maori people who constitute approximately 15% of the population).
60% Christian: Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Methodist are all represented.
New Zealand: GMT + 12 (GMT + 13 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March).
Chatham Island: GMT + 12.45 (GMT + 13.45 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March).
230/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.
IDD is available. Country code: 64. Outgoing international code: 00. Most public phones take cards purchased from bookstalls; some also accept credit cards, but very few still accept coins.
Most hotels provide facilities.
Post offices are open Mon-Fri 0900-1700. Airmail to Western Europe takes four to five days and to the USA three to ten days.