Portal:New Zealand

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THE NEW ZEALAND PORTAL

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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.

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Sphenodon punctatus in Waikanae, New Zealand.jpg
The tuatara is an amniote of the family Sphenodontidae, endemic to New Zealand. The two species of tuatara are the only surviving members of the Sphenodontians who flourished around 200 million years ago, and are in the genus Sphenodon. Tuatara resemble lizards, but are equally related to lizards and snakes, both of which are classified as Squamata, the closest living relatives of tuatara. For this reason, tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits of the earliest diapsids (the group that additionally includes birds and crocodiles).

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Rain forest, interior of the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Coromandel Peninsula lies in the North Island of New Zealand. It extends 85 kilometres north from the western end of the Bay of Plenty, forming a natural barrier to protect the Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames in the west from the Pacific Ocean to the east. Hilly, forested and rugged, it is a popular holiday destination. The area is also popular with alternative lifestylers.

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