Background: The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and fought on the side of Great Britain during both world wars. In the 1970s and 1980s New Zealand withdrew from a number of military alliances. In recent years, the New Zealand government has been trying to alleviate the situation of the aborigines (Maori).
Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific, southeast of Australia. See franciscogardening.com to know more about New Zealand Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 41° 00′ S. latitude, 174° 00′ E
Reference map: Oceania.
Area: total: 268,680 square kilometers; land surface area: 268,670 km2; water surface area: 10 km2; note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbeple Island, Chatham Islands and Kermadec Islands.
Comparative area: approximately equal to the state of Colorado.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 15,134 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent. exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles. territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts.
Terrain: mostly mountainous; there are extensive coastal plains.
Maximum and minimum altitudes: 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%; cultivated land: 5%; pastures: 50%; forests and plantations: 28%; others: 8% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 2,850 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: frequent but usually non-destructive earthquakes; volcanic activity.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil erosion; deterioration of the living conditions of local flora and fauna due to the importation of alien species.
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling. signed but not ratified: Antarctic seals, Kyoto Protocol, Conservation of marine life.
Note to the section “Geography”: about 80% of the population live in cities; Wellington is the southernmost state capital in the world.
Population: 3,864,129 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 23.36% (men 442,738; women 421,462); 15 to 64 years old: 66.11% (male 1,281,781; female 1,272,674); over 65: 11.53% (male 193,895; female 251,579) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.14% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 14.28 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 7.56 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 4.71 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65: 0.77 male/female; for the general population: 0.99 male/female (2001 oc.).
Child mortality: 6.28 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 77.99 years; men: 75.01 years; women: 81.1 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.8 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.06% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 1,200 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.),
Nationality: noun: New Zealander; adjective: New Zealand.
Ethnic groups: New Zealand European 74.5%, Maori 9.7%, Other European 4.6%, descendants of settlers from other Pacific Islands 3.8%, Asians and others 7.4%.
Believers: Anglicans 24%, Presbyterians 18%, Catholics 15%, Methodists 5%, Baptists 2%, other Protestants 3%, non-denominational or non-denominational 33% (1986).
Language(s): English (official), Maori.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 99% (1980 est.); men: no data; women: no data.
Common long form: absent;
Common short form: New Zealand, abbreviation: NZ.
State structure: parliamentary democracy.
Administrative division: 93 counties, 9 districts* and 3 city districts**: Akaroa, Amuri, Great Barrier Island, Bruce, Buller, Waiapu, Waikato, Waikohu, Wayu iri, Waimarino, Waimate, Waimate West, Wai-mea, Waipa, Waipawa*, Waipukurau*, Wairarapa South, Waireva, Wairoa, Waitaki, Waitomo’, Wai-totara, Waiheke, Waihemo, Wanganui, Vincent, Woodville, Grey, Danneverk, Golden Bay, Inan-gahua, Inglewood, Kaikoura, Kairanga, Kivitea, Clifton, Clutha, Cook, Lake, Mackenzie, Marlborough, i Manawatu, Manaya**, Mangonui, Masterton, Tamata No., Mount Herbert, Malvern, Manyototo, Oxford, Opoticki, Orowa, Stewart Island. Chatham Moat Axis, Island Cove, Otamatea, Otoro-hanga*, Ohinemuri, Paparua, Pati, Pahiatua.’ Piaco, Pohangina, Rangiora*, Rangitikei, Pt’ni, Rotorua*, Runanga, Raglen, Southland, Seya-Kilda, Silverpeaks, Stratford, Stratheli Taranaki, Taumarunui, Taupo, Tauranga,
Dependent territories: Cook Islands, Niue Island, Tokelau Island.
Independence: September 26, 1907 (until 1907 – a colony of Great Britain).
National holiday: Waitangi Day, February 6 (since 1840) (British sovereignty was established by treaty signed at Waitangi).
Constitution: consists of numerous separate documents, including some laws passed by the English and New Zealand parliaments and the Constitution Act 1986.
Legal system: based on English law; there is special land legislation and land courts for Maori; New Zealand accepts, with a number of reservations, the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by the Governor General Dame Silvia CARTWRIGHT (since 4 April 2001); Head of Government: Prime Minister Helen CLARK (since 10 December 1999) and Deputy Prime Minister Jim ANDERTON (since 10 December 1999);
head of government:
Government: executive council appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the governor general is appointed by the monarch; after an election to Parliament, the leader of the party or coalition with the most votes is usually appointed by the Governor-General as prime minister for a three-year term; the Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General.
Legislature: unicameral House of Representatives, commonly referred to as Parliament (120 members elected by popular vote in single-member constituencies for a three-year term); elections: last held 27 November 1999 (next to be held November 2002); election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; party membership – NZLP 49, NP 39, Alliance 10, Go NZ 9, Green Party 7, NZFP 5, UNZ1; note: NZLP and Alliance formed government coalition; The National Party became the opposition party.
Judiciary: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal.
Political parties and leaders: Act, New Zealand (ACT, New Zealand) (Richard PREBL [Richard PREBBLE]); Alliance (coalition of the New Labor Party, the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party of New Zealand and Mana Motuhake) (Jim ANDERTON [Jim ANDERTON]); Green Party (Jeanet-te FITZSIMONS, Rod DONALD); National Party (NP) (Jenny SHIPLEY); New Zealand First Party (NZFP) (Winston PETERS); New Zealand Labor Party (NZLP) (Helen CLARK); United New Zealand (UNZ) (Peter DUNNE).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ABEDA, ANZUS (US suspended security obligations to NZ on 11 August 1986), APEC, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Inter-pol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNTSO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO.
Representation in the United States: Chief of Mission: Ambassador James Brendan BOLGER; office: 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 328-4800; fax:  (202) 667-5227; Consulates General: Los Angeles, New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Carol MOSELEY-BROWN; embassy: 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington; mailing address: R. O. Box 1190, Wellington; PSC 467, Box 1, FPO AP 96531-1001; phone:  (4) 472-2068; fax:  (4) 478-1701; consulates general: Auckland.
Flag description: blue with the flag of Great Britain in the upper quarter at the hoist and four red five-pointed stars bordered in white and located in the center of the outer half of the flag; The stars represent the constellation Southern Cross.