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New Zealand (or Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud), truly is one of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth. A small island nation of just over 4.5 million people, New Zealand is made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22km stretch of water called the Cook Strait.

New Zealand is located approximately 1,500km east of Australia and about 1,000km from the Pacific Islands. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries to be found and settled.

The country is made up of some of the world most spectacular landscapes, from vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes to sweeping coastlines. It is a natural playground for thrill seekers and adventurers and those who simply want to visit for the culture and landscapes. New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, just south of Australia. The country is not part of Australia and has never been (many people make that error), but it has been its own country since the late 19 th  century. Before then, the country was actually considered to be part of the United Kingdom, and was under the laws and jurisdiction of the crown. New Zealand is actually a number of smaller islands, with two main islands (the North Island, also called Te Ika-a-Māui by the natives, and the South Island, also called Te Waipounamu) that comprise most of the land area of the country. A developed country New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, and economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a  liberalised  free-trade economy. The service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, and agriculture; international tourism is a significant source of revenue. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister, currently  Jacinda Ardern . Queen Elizabeth II is the country’s monarch and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing states in free association with New Zealand); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand’s territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS,  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.

 

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