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New Zealand:
Geography

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Background
Definition
The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand's full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.
Location
Definition
Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
41 00 S, 174 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 268,680 sq km
land: 268,021 sq km
water: NA
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
Area - comparative
Definition
about the size of Colorado
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
15,134 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
Definition
temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain
Definition
predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
Natural resources
Definition
natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 5.54%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 87.54% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
2,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
397 cu km (1995)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 2.11 cu km/yr (48%/9%/42%)
per capita: 524 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
Definition
about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world


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