New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. This country is the most isolated country in the world in geographical terms. It consists of two large islands, North Island and South Island and around 600 smaller islands. The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington while the largest city is Auckland.
New Zealand’s official languages are English, Maori and New Zealand’s sign language.
Because of its isolation, New Zealand was one of the last territories where humans settled. It is assumed that the first settlers were Polynesians in 13th century and they developed their own culture known as Maori.
The first European who visited New Zealand was Dutchman Abel Tasman in 17th century, but because of its hostile indigenous people, after more than hundred years British explorer James Cook was the first to sail and map entire coast. In 1840, after so-called Musket Wars, British government declared sovereignty over New Zealand’s territory; finally they won their full independence in 1931. The independence of the country was officially accepted in 1947.
New Zealand has population of almost 5 millions. New Zealand is mostly urban country 73% of its population live in one out of 17 urban areas and 55% of population live in four largest cities – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. New Zealand’s cities are ranked highly for their quality of life. Auckland is the third city in the world in terms of the living standard.
New Zealand is one of the countries with a high percentage of immigration. The country receives close to 50,000 permanent residents per year.