Again New Zealand leads the world in its leaders. Its highest offices have all been held at the same time by women. Queen Elizabeth 11 is Queen of New Zealand, the Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Margaret Wilson and Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias all held office between March 2005 and August 2006.
For a century New Zealand followed the United Kingdom's lead. But since 1945 the influence of the United States has grown to replace the UK in foreign policy.
New Zealand's provinces were abolished in 1876.
Now its regions are - Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Chatham Islands.
New Zealand comprises two main islands (called the North and South Islands in English, Te-Ika-a-Maui and Te Wai Pounamu in Maori) and a number of smaller islands.
Market time Courtesy Latitude Nelson
The total land area at 268,680 square kilometres (103,738 sq miles) is a little bigger than the United Kingdom It is 1600 kilometres (1000 miles) along its main, north-north-east axis, with about 15,134 km of coastline.
The most significant of the smaller inhabited islands include Stewart Island/Rakiura; Waiheke Island, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf; Great Barrier Island, east of the Hauraki Gulf; and the Chatham Islands, named Rekohu by Moriori.
The country has extensive marine resources, with the seventh-largest Exclusive
Economic Zone in the world, covering over four million square kilometres (1.5 million sq mi), more than 15 times its land area.
The South Island is the largest land mass, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 metres (12,316 ft). There are 18 peaks over 3000 metres (9800 ft) in the South Island.
Nice fish Jo Kidd Rakaia River Holiday Park
The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism. The tallest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2797 m / 9176 ft), is an active cone volcano.
New Zealand's climate is mild, mostly cool temperate to warm temperate, with temperatures rarely falling below 0C (32F) or rising above 30C (86F).
Conditions vary from wet and cold on the West Coast of the South Island to dry and continental in the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and almost subtropical in Northland.
Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only about 640 mm (25 in) of rain per year. Auckland, the wettest, receives almost twice that amount.
GoSeeNewZealand acknowledges with thanks the assistance with researching this feature which has come from many sources both online and in print.
Wikipedia and its resource are among these. Authors Percival Serle, J.W. Forsyth, James Belich, Judith Binney, J. Cowan and P.D. Hasselberg Peter Maxwell, Tony Simpson Keith Sinclair, Richard Stowers Dom Felici Vaggioli, The people of many peaks: The Maori biographies. (1990). From The dictionary of New Zealand biographies, Vol. 1, 1769-1869. Bridget Williams Books and Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand. the State Library of NSW, Captain Cook Society, National Library of Australia, Cook's Voyages of Discovery, State Library of NSW. Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Government Portal, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding New Zealand, New Zealand weather, NZHistory.net.nz New Zealand history website, Statistics New Zealand - Official statistics. Tourism New Zealand. Australian War Memorial.
Bound for Auckland Courtesy iStock
Walkers are draw to fantastic ferns Courtesy Latitude Nelson
NZ country charm Courtesy Latitude Nelson
Paddling partners Awaroa Courtesy Latitude Nelson
Te Puia war canoe GoSeeNZ pic
Waiwera - a perfectly secluded and beautiful beach