268,680 sq km (103,737 sq mi)
Population (2009 est.):
Capital (2003 est.):
Wellington - 342,500 (metro. area)
Auckland - 369,300 (metro. area); Christchurch - 334,100
New Zealand dollar
English, Maori (both official)
Anglican 15%, Roman Catholic 12%, Presbyterian 11%, Methodist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Baptist 1%, other Christian 9%, none 26%
GMT+12, DST: GMT+13; Chatham Island: GMT+12.75, DST: GMT+13.75; DST starts on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday in April
AC 230V/50Hz, plugs with 2 or 3 flat V-shaped prongs (Australian plug)
New Zealand consists of two major islands, North Island (116,031 sq km/44,800 sq miles) and South Island (153,540 sq km/59,283 sq miles) situated about 1,930 km (1,200 miles) southeast of Australia in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The islands are separated by Cook Strait. Other inhabited islands belonging to New Zealand are: Stewart Island, located immediately south of South Island, Chatham Islands, 800 km (500 miles) east of Christchurch, and Great Barrier Island.
Large part of the North Island is mountainous, with volcanic activity in its central part. There are many geysers, hot springs, pools of boiling mud and craters in this area. The highest mountain on the North Island is Mount Ruapehu (2797 m, 9177 ft), an active cone volcano.
South Island is less inhabited (with only about one-third of the country's population), colder, dominated by the mountain range of the Southern Alps that extend the whole length of the island. The highest point of New Zealand is Mount Cook (3754 m / 12,316 ft), located in the Southern Alps. Two glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox, are also located in this area.