Introduction to New Zealand

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 at 12:00 am

New ZealandNew Zealand is a country located somewhere in the south western Pacific Ocean and in the proximity of Australia. It comprises of two main islands as well as several smaller islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. Its total land area is at 268,680 sq. km.

It is smaller than Japan or Italy but bigger than the United Kingdom. It has approximately 15,134 km of coastline as well as an extensive area for its rich marine resources. The South Island is the largest land mass in New Zealand followed by the North Island. The significant smaller islands include Stewart, Waiheke, Great Barrier and the Chatham Islands.

New Zealand has a population of about 4.1 million people. The official capital is Wellington, also considered as the southernmost capital in the world located somewhere at 41.2 degrees South. It largest city meanwhile is Auckland. Major languages spoken in this country are English and Maori. The major religion in New Zealand is Christianity. The monetary unit being used in the country is the New Zealand Dollar.

New Zealand is blessed with a mild and temperate climate with temperatures that rarely fall below 0 degrees Centigrade despite its location. But the country also experiences bouts of extremes in its weather patterns with very wet condition s on the west coast of South Island to the semi-arid landscape of inland Canterbury and the subtropical conditions in Northland.

New Zealand has 18 peaks that are over 3000 meters in South Island where the highest peak is Mount Cook standing at 3,754 meters. The country also has some known active volcanoes, one of them of which is Mount Ruapehu found in North Island. New Zealand is also known for its many dramatic landscapes of various impressions. That is why it has been made as the location for the filming of the popular Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as The Last Samurai along with other noted films and programs.

New Zealand is considered as one of the most progressive and prosperous countries in the world. Economically, the country has an estimated GDP of $106 billion. Its citizens enjoy a high standard of living and ranked 20th in the 2006 Human Development Index among other countries all over the world. Its major exports include wool, food and dairy products, as well as wood and other forestry products. Its GNI per capita at $25,960 is comparable to the levels that other countries like the US and Australia also enjoy.

About 10 percent of New Zealand’s economy is dependent on tourism, both local and foreign. this area supports more than 10% of New Zealand jobs. New Zealand is also known as one of the top five dairy exporters in the world, which supply about 90 percent of dairy products available on the international market.

There are over nine million beef and dairy cattle in NZ. It was also said that the sheep being cared for in New Zealand far outnumber its total human population. Currently, the ratio of sheep to humans in New Zealand is estimated to be at 10 to 1.