New Zealand (Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud) is a small island nation of just over 4.5 million people.
New Zealand is made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island and Chatham Islands located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22km stretch of water called the Cook Strait.
New Zealand is located approximately 1,500km east of Australia and about 1,000km from the Pacific Islands. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries to be found and settled.
The country is made up of some of the worlds most spectacular landscapes, from vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes to sweeping coastlines. It is a natural playground for thrill seekers and adventurers and those who simply want to visit for the culture and landscapes.
While the land masses of the North Island and South Island are similar, approximately two thirds of the population lives in the North Island and the remainder in the South Island. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European decent while Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is the most ethnically diverse in the country and has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. Auckland has about one third of the population (over 1.3 million), followed by the capital city of Wellington and the South Island city of Christchurch (each has approx 400,000). In 15th place is Gisborne, with a population of around 35,000.
|Urban Area||Location||Area (km2)|
|8||Palmerston North||North Island||178|
|11||New Plymouth||North Island||112|
|14||Whanganui (Wanganui)||North Island||105|
The most recent Census information available is that taken in 2013 see http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports.aspx
but unlike the census returns of England, the closest we have to census data are the Electoral Rolls, many of which are now available at Ancestry.com (if you hold a world sub) otherwise Ancestry.co.au. Family Search also has a section for New Zealand research https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New_Zealand_Genealogy
Many more links will be made available in the LINKS page to the left of the project's Landing page.
New Zealander's are affectionately known as "Kiwis". The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is also the national symbol. Kiwi's are characterised as rugged, industrious problem solvers and people who innovate. Kiwi's are great travellers themselves with many exploring and making an impact on the world (sport, business, politics, etc). Younger New Zealanders often travel to England for working holidays before settling back in New Zealand and any New Zealander can travel and work in Australia indefinitely.
English is the predominant language in New Zealand. After WWII, Maori were discouraged from speaking their own language in schools and workplaces so it really only existed as a community language. Nowadays it has undergone a revitalisation and is declared one of New Zealand's official languages with immersion in schools and tertiary sectors. Many places throughout the country have dual English and Maori names.
You can read more about New Zealand and its people at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand