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Portal:New Zealand

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The New Zealand Portal

New Zealand
Aotearoa (Māori)
A map of the hemisphere centred on New Zealand, using an orthographic projection.
Location of New Zealand, including outlying islands, its territorial claim in the Antarctic, and Tokelau
ISO 3166 codeNZ

New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and over 700 smaller islands. It is the sixth-largest island country by area, covering 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.

A developed country, New Zealand ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, government transparency, 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 also 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 the governor-general. 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. (Full article...)

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KiwiRail DL9020 on MetroPort train MP4 at Papakura, Auckland on 29 August 2011.

Rail transport in New Zealand is an integral part of New Zealand's transport network, with a nationwide network of 4,375.5 km (2,718.8 mi) of track linking most major cities in the North and South Islands, connected by inter-island rail and road ferries. Rail transport in New Zealand has a particular focus on bulk freight exports and imports, with 19 million net tonnes moved by rail annually, with 99.5% of New Zealand's exports and imports being transported through the country's seaports.

Rail transport played an important role in the opening up and development of the hinterland outside of New Zealand's predominantly dispersed and coastal settlements. Starting with the Ferrymead Railway in 1863, most public railway lines were short, built by provincial governments and connected major centres to their nearest seaport (such as Christchurch and its port at Lyttelton Harbour). From the 1870s, the focus shifted to building a nationwide network linking major centres, especially during the Vogel Era of railway construction following the abolition of the provinces. Narrow gauge of 3ft 6in (1,067mm) was adopted nationally. Bush tramways or light industrial railways sprang up connecting to the national network as it expanded. Railways became centrally controlled as a government department under the names New Zealand Government Railways or New Zealand Railways Department (NZR), and land transport was heavily regulated from 1931 onwards. NZR eventually expanded into other transport modes, especially with the Railways Road Services, inter-island ferries and Rail Air service. NZR also had an extensive network of workshops. By 1981, NZR employed 22,000 staff. (Full article...)

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HMS New Zealand

...that in 1909, New Zealand gifted a new battlecruiser (pictured) to Britain?

...that 7% of electricity in New Zealand is generated by geothermal power?

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Nugget Point lighthouse.jpg
The Catlins (sometimes referred to as The Catlins Coast) comprises an area in the southeastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The area lies between Balclutha and Invercargill, straddling the boundary between the Otago and Southland regions. It includes the South Island's southernmost point, Slope Point.

The Catlins, a rugged, sparsely populated area, features a scenic coastal landscape and dense temperate rainforest, both of which harbour many endangered species of birds. Its exposed location leads to its frequently wild weather and heavy ocean swells, which are an attraction to big-wave surfers.

Ecotourism has become of growing importance in the Catlins economy, which otherwise relies heavily on dairy farming and fishing. The region's early whaling and forestry industries have long since died away, along with the coastal shipping that led to several tragic shipwrecks. Only some 1,200 people now live in the area, many of them in the settlement of Owaka. (Full article...)

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

The Cathedral Caves are two connected limestone sea caves located on Waipati Beach, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Papatowai, on the Catlins Coast in the southeast corner of the South Island, New Zealand. It is the largest and most spacious cave of the Wellington Caves. The two main cave systems join together within the cliff and one has a 30 metres (98 ft) high ceiling. Often blue penguins and fur seals will emerge from the gloom at the far end of the cave. (Full article...)

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