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The southern and southwestern parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,—1, hours; the northern and northeastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,—2, hours. The table below lists climate normals for the warmest and coldest months in New Zealand's six largest cities. North Island cities are generally warmest in February. South Island cities are warmest in January. New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years [] and island biogeography has influenced evolution of the country's species of animals , fungi and plants.

Physical isolation has caused biological isolation, resulting in a dynamic evolutionary ecology with examples of very distinctive plants and animals as well as populations of widespread species.

Since human arrival, almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat. Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced. New Zealand has an advanced market economy , [] ranked 16th in the [update] Human Development Index [9] and third in the [update] Index of Economic Freedom. Historically, extractive industries have contributed strongly to New Zealand's economy, focussing at different times on sealing, whaling, flax , gold, kauri gum , and native timber.

In the December quarter, the general unemployment rate was around 5. New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, [] particularly in agricultural products. Wool was New Zealand's major agricultural export during the late 19th century. In , renewable energy generated Geothermal power is also a significant generator of electricity, with several large stations located across the Taupo Volcanic Zone in the North Island. The provision of water supply and sanitation is generally of good quality. Regional authorities provide water abstraction, treatment and distribution infrastructure to most developed areas.

The state-owned enterprise KiwiRail now operates the railways, with the exception of commuter services in Auckland and Wellington which are operated by Transdev [] and Metlink , [] respectively. Railways run the length of the country, although most lines now carry freight rather than passengers.

Most international visitors arrive via air [] and New Zealand has six international airports , but currently [update] only the Auckland and Christchurch airports connect directly with countries other than Australia or Fiji. The New Zealand Post Office had a monopoly over telecommunications in New Zealand until when Telecom New Zealand was formed, initially as a state-owned enterprise and then privatised in Cook 's voyages in the s and Darwin 's in had important scientific botanical and zoological objectives.

Crown Research Institutes CRIs were formed in from existing government-owned research organisations. Their role is to research and develop new science, knowledge, products and services across the economic, environmental, social and cultural spectrum for the benefit of New Zealand. The New Zealand census enumerated a resident population of 4,,, an increase of New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with For instance, in Auckland was ranked the world's third most liveable city and Wellington the twelfth by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.

Life expectancy for New Zealanders in was 84 years for females, and In the census , Other major ethnic groups include Asian While the demonym for a New Zealand citizen is New Zealander, the informal " Kiwi " is commonly used both internationally [] and by locals. Following colonisation, immigrants were predominantly from Britain, Ireland and Australia because of restrictive policies similar to the White Australia policy. Over half English is the predominant language in New Zealand, spoken by As recorded in the census, [3] Samoan is the most widely spoken non-official language 2.

Christianity is the predominant religion in New Zealand, although its society is among the most secular in the world. Another Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, with the majority attending from the age of 5. The largely rural life in early New Zealand led to the image of New Zealanders being rugged, industrious problem solvers. The silver fern is an emblem appearing on army insignia and sporting team uniforms.

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These buildings were originally designed to be constantly rebuilt, changing and adapting to different whims or needs. During this period literature changed from a journalistic activity to a more academic pursuit. New Zealand music has been influenced by blues , jazz , country , rock and roll and hip hop , with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation. Public radio was introduced in New Zealand in In the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement.

Most of the major sporting codes played in New Zealand have British origins. New Zealand has competitive international teams in rugby union , rugby league , netball , cricket , softball , and sailing. New Zealand participated at the Summer Olympics in and as a joint team with Australia , before first participating on its own in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see NZ disambiguation and New Zealand disambiguation. Island country in the South Pacific. Coat of arms.

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Anthems : " God Defend New Zealand ". Location of New Zealand, including outlying islands, its territorial claim in the Antarctic , and Tokelau. List of religions. Further information: New Zealand place names. Main article: History of New Zealand. See also: International rankings of New Zealand.

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Administrative divisions of the Realm of New Zealand. Pencarrow Head , Wellington. Main article: Climate of New Zealand. Main article: Biodiversity of New Zealand. Main article: Economy of New Zealand. See also: List of companies of New Zealand. Main article: Demographics of New Zealand. Main article: Languages of New Zealand. Main article: Religion in New Zealand. See also: Irreligion in New Zealand. Main article: Culture of New Zealand. Main article: New Zealand art. Main article: New Zealand literature. Main article: Sport in New Zealand. Main article: New Zealand cuisine. New Zealand portal Oceania portal.

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If estuarine open water, mangroves, and herbaceous saline vegetation are included, the figure is 2. People born on or before 31 December acquired citizenship at birth jus soli. The population is increasing at a rate of 1. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 February Archived from the original PDF on 24 January Retrieved 18 November The New Zealand Sign Language Act permits the use of NZSL in legal proceedings, facilitates competency standards for its interpretation and guides government departments in its promotion and use.

English, the medium for teaching and learning in most schools, is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use.

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For these reasons, these three languages have special mention in the New Zealand Curriculum. Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 26 February Table Archived from the original on 13 April Retrieved 30 March New Zealand Land Cover Database 2. Ministry for the Environment. Retrieved 26 April Retrieved 14 April The population estimate shown is automatically calculated daily at UTC and is based on data obtained from the population clock on the date shown in the citation.

International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 9 October Table 9. Archived from the original Spreadsheet on 24 February Retrieved 24 February United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 9 December New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 6 March See "The Govt.

Retrieved 24 January Chapter 1, Discovery and Settlement". Retrieved 17 August He named the country Staaten Land, in honour of the States-General of Holland, in the belief that it was part of the great southern continent. In Fraser, B ed. Auckland: Reed Methuen. Retrieved 10 October Royal Geographical Society. New Zealand Government.