New Zealand | Nations Of The World
New Zealand lies about 2,012 km southeast of Australia. It consists of two main islands and a number of smaller outlying islands. New Zealand’s two main components are the North Island and the South Island, separated by Cook Strait. The North Island contains many hot springs and beautiful geysers. South Island has the Southern Alps along its west coast, with Mount Cook (12,316 ft) the highest point.
New Zealand is a Parliamentary democracy. British queen Elizabeth II is the ceremonious head of the state but the real power vests in the parliament.
New Zealand is a developed country with per capita income of $24,200. Services is the chief stay of the economy. Agriculture and industry are other important sectors. Major crops are wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, fruits and vegetables. Chief industries are food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism and mining. New Zealand is also rich on natural resources. Chief among them are natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone. Major trading partners are Australia, US, Japan, China, UK, Germany.
Maoris were the first inhabitants of New Zealand, arriving on the islands in about 1000 AD. In 1642, New Zealand was explored by Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator. British captain James Cook made three voyages to the islands, beginning in 1769. Britain formally annexed the islands in 1840. From the outset, the country has been in the forefront in instituting social welfare legislation. New Zealand was the world’s first country to give women the right to vote (1893). It adopted old-age pensions (1898); a national child welfare program (1907); social security for the elderly, widows, and orphans, along with family benefit payments; minimum wages; a 40-hour workweek and unemployment and health insurance (1938); and socialized medicine (1941).
Capital city: Wellington; area: 269,057 sq. km, population: 4,035461; languages: English and Maori dialect; Religion: Christianity; Literacy: 99%; Currency: New Zealand dollar; Date of Independence: 26th September, 1907.