* Statistics by Wolfram|Alpha. "Christianity" is used in the statistical sense and includes Catholics, Protestants, and true Christians.
Listings in Wellington,
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. The indigenous Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, commonly translated as land of the long white cloud. The Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau; the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); and the Ross Dependency, New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica.
New Zealand is geographically isolated, situated about 1,200 miles southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea. Its closest neighbors to the north are the Pacific islands of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The country's sharp mountain peaks owe much to the earthquakes and volcanic activity caused by the clashing Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. The climate is mild and temperate and most of the land was originally covered in forests of podocarp, kauri or southern beech. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, a number of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and introduced mammals.
Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250-1300 AD and Europeans first made contact in 1642 AD. In 1840 a treaty was signed between the M?ori and British, making New Zealand a colony of Britain. The colony became self governing in 1852 and was made a Commonwealth realm in 1947. During liberal reforms in the 1890s New Zealand became the first country to extend voting rights to women and to develop a system of compulsory arbitration between unions and employers. Elizabeth II, as the Queen of New Zealand, is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. The Queen's role is limited and executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. New Zealand has close ties with Britain, Australia, the United States and several Pacific Island nations.
New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world until the stagflation of the 1970s. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, transforming from a protectionist economy to a liberalized free-trade economy. The economy is highly dependent on trade, particularly in agricultural products. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous M?ori are the largest minority followed by Asians and non-Maori Polynesians. English, te reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English the most prevalent. Much of New Zealand's culture is derived from the Maori and early British settlers, although recently it has been broadened by globalization and immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia.
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