New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands. The indigenous Ma¯ori named New Zealand Aotearoa, which is commonly translated into English as The Land of the Long White Cloud.

New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation, situated about 2000 km (1250 miles) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and the mammals they introduced.



The population is mostly of European descent, with the indigenous Maori being the largest minority. Asians and non-Ma¯ori Polynesians are also significant minorities, especially in the cities.

Political power is held by the democratically elected Parliament of New Zealand under the leadership of the Prime Minister, who is the Head of Government.

Read the story about Gay New Zealand

Inter Island Ferry
Inter Island Ferry
South Island Picton town harbor
South Island Picton town harbor
Picton coastline
Picton coastline
Picton guest house cat
Picton guest house cat
Abel Tasman Park overview
Abel Tasman Park overview
Tasman Park trek
Tasman Park trek
South Island coast serenity
South Island coast serenity
Nelson town-colorful public toilet
Nelson town-colorful public toilet
Beautiful South Island roadway
Beautiful South Island roadway
Lake Matheson at sunset
Lake Matheson at sunset
Fox glacier overview
Fox glacier overview
Franz Joseph glacier mouth
Franz Joseph glacier mouth
Fox glacier walk
Fox glacier walk
Rain forest path to Fox glacier
Rain forest path to Fox glacier
Fox glacier climb
Fox glacier climb
Fox glacier climb
Fox glacier climb
Fox glacier guide testing ice-constant danger
Fox glacier guide testing ice-constant danger
Fox glacier guide testing ice-constant danger
Fox glacier guide testing ice-constant danger
Fox glacier near summit
Fox glacier near summit
Lush South Island coast
Lush South Island coast
South Island rough sea
South Island rough sea
Te Anau harbor
Te Anau harbor
Te Anau kick boxing match-loser broke
Te Anau kick boxing match-loser broke leg
Te Anau old beauty
Te Anau old beauty
Te Anau-Milford area
Te Anau-Milford area
Te Anau area-storm clouds
Te Anau area-storm clouds
Te Anau-Milford area
Te Anau-Milford area
Milford Sound-calm
Milford Sound-calm
Milford Sound with Alps
Milford Sound with Alps
Milford Sound cruise boat on calm
Milford Sound cruise boat on calm day
Milford Sound storm gathering
Milford Sound storm gathering
Milford Sound storm raging
Milford Sound storm raging
Milford Sound storm-falls blowing upward
Milford Sound storm-falls blowing upward
Milford Sound stormy white caps
Milford Sound stormy white caps
Rural butcher shop
Rural butcher shop
Westcoast Express' private bus
Westcoast Express' private bus
Severe wind shaping
Severe wind shaping
Queenstown overview
Queenstown overview
Queenstown river rafting
Queenstown river rafting
Rural store painting
Rural store painting
Dunedin University
Dunedin University
Dunedin cathedral
Dunedin cathedral
Dunedin train station
Dunedin train station
Dunedin- Larnach Castle
Dunedin- Larnach Castle
Dunedin- Larnach Castle entry
Dunedin- Larnach Castle entry
East coast Moeraki Boulders
East coast Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders
Mount Cook and sheep farm
Mount Cook and sheep farm
Taieri Gorge Railroad
Taieri Gorge Railroad
Christ Church view
Christ Church view
Christ Church trolley and church
Christ Church trolley and church
Christ Church private boys school
Christ Church private boys school
Christ Church mansion
Christ Church mansion
Christ Church city park
Christ Church city park
Christ Church gate design
Christ Church gate design
Christ Church Antarctic Center for South
Christ Church Antarctic Center for South Pole
Christ Church Antarctic Center research offices
Christ Church Antarctic Center research offices