The decisive area of the country consists of two islands – North and South, which are separated from each other by the narrow Cook Strait.
According to Securitypology, most of New Zealand has a temperate oceanic climate (subtropical in the north) with regular rainfall exceeding 1000mm throughout the year. Outside the southern highlands, summers are warm with long sunshine and winters tend to be mild, especially in the North Island; snow falls only in mountainous areas. The mountains on the windward side of the western part of the South Island are the rainiest area of the country (more than 3000 mm of rainfall). Conversely, the largest Canterbury Plain in the protected position of the mountains to the east represents the driest region.
Flora and fauna
Evergreen rainforests still cover a large part of the country. 90% of the native flora are endemic species found only in New Zealand; these include kauri spruce, a southern species of beech, and some species of tree ferns. Introduced species also grow here. The animal has preserved its original character and also shows a significant number of endemics. Apart from birds, however, only two species of bats and about 30 species of reptiles live here. From a group of reptiles that died out elsewhere already 60 million years ago, the tuatara, or New Zealand hateria, survives here.
Characteristic is the lack of mammals and amphibians, there are no predators at all. Among the birds, endemic flightless species predominate, such as the kiwi runner or the kakapo, the largest parrot in the world. Another large kea parrot lives in the snow-covered Southern Alps. Maori and European immigrants brought various domestic animals to the islands, such as cats, dogs or rabbits, as well as rats. Imported predators threaten the survival of native animal species, which must be protected from them. For example, conservationists pushed for certain rare species of birds to be concentrated on islands where no predators occur.
Society Recognition of British sovereignty and later dominion status had a major impact on New Zealand society in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, however, New Zealanders are trying to achieve their own individuality. The polity of New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the British Queen represented by the Governor General. Unicameral Parliament – The House of Representatives (97 members) is elected similarly to the British House of Commons by a majority system. One MP is elected in each constituency, four seats are reserved for Maori. Executive power rests with the government headed by the Prime Minister. The two strongest political parties alternate in power: Labor and National. Population Most of the 3.5 million New Zealanders are of European, mainly British, descent; a significant minority is Maori (9.2%). Their legal and social status has improved somewhat in recent decades: they have been granted ancestral land rights and state-owned land has been returned to them. Maori is an official language alongside English. In addition to Maori, numerous groups of other Polynesians live on the islands, as well as Indians and Chinese. The majority (75%) of the population lives in the North Island and an even higher proportion in cities. Believers belong to the Anglican, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches. There are also two small Maori churches that have incorporated elements of traditional Maori faith into their teachings. Culture and sports are influenced by Europe. Along with traditional music and dance, Maori arts and crafts are also being revived. Economy In the first half of the 20th century, New Zealand ranked among the states with the highest standard of living in the world, but in recent decades it has suffered from a decline in exports to the countries of the European Union. On the other hand, the country implements probably the most liberal policy in the world. Agriculture and fishing Agriculture, which employs less than 10% of the active population, is still an important sector of the New Zealand economy. Production subsidies were completely eliminated. It produces mainly for export, as domestic consumption is small due to the low population. Sheep breeding predominates in the decisive animal production, and mutton and wool represent the main items of New Zealand’s exports. Cattle breeding is of lesser importance, enabling beef and butter to be exported. Grain, vegetables and fruit are also grown. Fishing is also extensive. Imported California pine is grown in the forests, whose wood and products such as lumber, pulp and paper are exported in abundance all over the world. Industry Mineral resources are not large, but it is almost enough to cover consumption. Coal is even exported to Japan. The most important is the extraction of natural gas, from which gasoline is also produced, which made it possible to reduce the import of oil. Gold, iron and lead ores are also mined. More than 70% of energy consumption is covered by hydroelectric power plants, 5% comes from geothermal energy. The most important industry is food (mainly meat, milk and butter production) and the production of consumer goods. Chemical plants, as well as the assembly of transport equipment, depend heavily on the import of raw materials and parts. Foreign trade is of particular importance to New Zealand. The most important partners today are Japan, Australia and also the United States. Since the mid-1980s, the financial sector has gained a more significant position in the economy. Transport and connections New Zealand has well-maintained roads, an adequate rail network and regular ferry and important inter-island cabotage sea transport. All major cities have air connections (36 airports in total); international airports are in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Social care and education In 1938, the government introduced a system of health and social care, then the most extensive in the world. State healthcare remains at a high level even today, although the share of private healthcare facilities is growing.