Portal:New Zealand

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THE NEW ZEALAND PORTAL

Flag of New Zealand
Coat of Arms of New Zealand
Location on the world map

New Zealand (Aotearoa in te reo Māori) is a country of two large islands and many much smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. Among South Pacific nations, New Zealand has the largest and most industrialised economy and is second only to Papua New Guinea in population. New Zealand is notable for its isolation, being separated from Australia on the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2,000 km wide. The closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand is the Queen of New Zealand and is represented in the country by the non-partisan Governor-General. De facto political power is held by Prime Minister John Key who, as Head of the Government, requires the confidence of the democratically elected New Zealand House of Representatives. The Realm of New Zealand includes the self-governing Cook Islands and Niue, as well as Tokelau and New Zealand's claims in Antarctica.

Selected article

Leiopelmatida (Hochstetter's Frog), one of many biological families endemic to New Zealand
The biodiversity of New Zealand is one of the most unusual on Earth, due to its long geological isolation from other continental landmasses. Its genetic affinities are derived from Gondwana, from which it separated 82 million years (Ma) ago, along with Australia, New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island, part of the same tectonic plate.

New Zealand's pre-human biodiversity exhibited high levels of endemism in its flora and fauna. The range of ancient fauna is not well-known but at least one species of non-flying terrestrial mammal existed in New Zealand around 19 Ma ago. Prior to 65 Ma ago, the fauna included dinosaurs, pterosaurs and marine reptiles.

For at least several Ma before the arrival of humans and their commensal species, the islands had no terrestrial mammals except for bats, the main component of the terrestrial fauna being insects and birds. Its flora is dominated by Gondwanan plants, comprising historically of forests, most famously the giant kauri, Agathis australis.

New Zealand has developed a national Biodiversity Action Plan to address conservation of considerable numbers of threatened flora and fauna within New Zealand.

Selected picture

Looking out of one of the Cathedral Caves, in the Catlins, New Zealand.

The Cathedral Caves are a series of sea caves on the Catlins Coast in New Zealand. They are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The two main caves join together within the cliff, and one has a 30 m (100 ft) high ceiling. Access to the caves from the road crosses private land, and attracts a user fee. The caves are only accessible 2 hours either side of low tide.

Did you know...

... that Georgina Beyer was the world's first openly transsexual Member of Parliament?

... that Tongariro National Park was the fourth National Park established in the world?

... that Reefton was the first town in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to receive electricity?

... that the University of Auckland is New Zealand's largest university?


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New Zealand topics

History Timeline | Treaty of Waitangi | Land Wars | Naval vessels | Fortifications | Antarctic history
Geography Cities | Islands | Mountains | Regions | Rivers | Ecoregions | National Parks | Marine reserves | Lakes | Caves | Disasters
Government Constitution | List of Governments | Foreign relations | Military | Electoral system | Referendums | Honours | List of Statutes of New Zealand | Law of New Zealand
Politics Political parties (Labour, National, New Zealand First, Greens, Māori Party, ACT, United Future) | Elections
Economy Companies | Communications | Transport | Reserve Bank | Stock Exchange
Culture Māori culture | New Zealand English | Cinema | Cuisine | Education | Literature | Music | Holidays | Media | Sport | Wine
Society Demographics | Māori | Pākehā | Gays and lesbians
Biodiversity Animals | Plants | Extinct animals
Other List of New Zealand-related topics

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