General information about New Zealand
The official name is New Zealand.
Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The area is 268.021 thousand km2, the population is 4.1 million people. (2003). The official languages are English and Maori. The capital is Wellington (358 thousand people, 2003). Public holiday – Waitangi Day February 6 (since 1840). The monetary unit is the New Zealand dollar.
It administers the islands of Tokelau, while the self-governing territories of Niue and the Cook Islands are “in free association” with New Zealand.
Member of the UN (since 1945), IMF (1982), GATT / WTO (since 1948), APEC (since 1989), Pacific Islands Forum (formerly UTF, 1971).
Geography of New Zealand
New Zealand is located between 33° and 53° south latitude and 160° east and 173° west longitude in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean on two large islands: North (113.7 thousand km2) and South (150.4 thousand km2), separated by the Cook Strait (20 km – at its narrowest point), as well as on many small and small islands (mostly uninhabited), of which the largest are Stewart Island (1.68 thousand km2) and the Chatham Islands (963 km2). Some of the “outer” islands are separated from the main territory by 600-900 km.
Nearest neighbors: to the north – New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, to the northwest – Australia. Between New Zealand and Australia (1600 km) is the Tasman Sea, and in other directions, New Zealand is washed by the Pacific Ocean.
In terms of area, the country is comparable to the British Isles and Japan, stretched from north to south for more than 1600 km (the widest point is no more than 450 km). The ruggedness of the coastline makes it quite long (15.1 thousand km).
Almost 75% of the territory of the main islands rises 200 m or more above sea level. 223 mountain peaks (of those with a name) with a height of more than 2300 m. The formation of the North Island is mainly the result of volcanic activity, which in some places still continues, accompanied by frequent, but not strong earthquakes. In its central part there is a group of 4 active volcanoes (the highest is Mount Ruapehu, 2797 m). Mountain ranges run from northeast to southwest parallel to the coastline of the North Island. The most powerful mountain range in the country, the Southern Alps (18 peaks above 3000 m, including the highest in the country – Mount Cook, 3754 m, and 360 glaciers), stretches almost the entire length of the South Island, forming an extremely picturesque area – from the Marlborough Straits (National Marine Park) in the north to Fiordland (National Fiord Park) in the south. There are especially many lakes and fast-flowing rivers on the South Island. There are also many rivers and lakes on the North Island, there are the longest river in the country – the Waikato (425 km) and the largest lake – Taupo (606 km2). Here, a line of hot springs, boiling mud pools and geysers stretches from north to east. Approximately 3/4 of the country’s surface is covered with sedimentary rocks of various types (from sandstone to basalt). Despite the predominantly mountainous and hilly landscape, the two main islands have enough space for fertile pastures, including hillsides and low mountains. Due to long geological isolation, unique flora and fauna have developed in New Zealand. The vegetation is extremely diverse, the composition of which depends on the geographical latitude and height above sea level – from the tropical forest (from broad-leaved trees) in the subtropics in the north to alpine meadows in the south. OK. 30% of the territory is occupied by forests: 6.4 million hectares are evergreen natural forests, many of which have been declared national parks and reserves, and 1.7 million hectares are artificial forest plantations (mainly radial pine, which grows here faster than anywhere else in the world). world) for logging. Almost all native insects, spiders, snails, etc. found only in New Zealand. There are bats, possums, ferrets. Reptile species are diverse, but poisonous snakes are absent. OK. 90 species of seabirds, many of which nest on the “outer” islands, where access is prohibited (bird watchers are an exception). There are flightless birds, incl. the symbol of the country is the kiwi (the inhabitants of New Zealand are also called by her name). The surrounding waters are rich in fish (over 400 species), whales and cetaceans (32 species) are found here.
Minerals: significant coal reserves, there are also natural gas (60 billion m3), oil, iron ore, gold, silver, ilmenite (titanium-containing mineral sands), lead, tin, mercury, tungsten, copper, manganese, but not all of them are being developed.
Fish stocks are not very large, but include more than 100 commercially valuable species in a 200-mile economic zone (about 4.5 million km2 – one of the largest in the world). Great hydropower resources (provide up to 70-80% of all electricity generated in the country) and sources of geothermal energy.
According to bridgat.com, the climate is subtropical, temperate, with a strong influence of the ocean (the distance from the coast is no more than 120 km). Only in part (the center of the Otago region) of the South Island, due to the terrain, the climate approaches continental. The microclimate plays an extremely important role. All four seasons are relatively pronounced, but the temperature between them changes slowly. The average monthly temperature in Auckland in January is +19-23°С, in July +8-14°С, in Dunedin – respectively +15-19°С and +3-10°С.
Average annual rainfall ranges from 1270 mm in Wellington to 655 mm in Christchurch. Snow falls in the Southern Alps in winter.