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New Zealand Country Profile

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New Zealand at a Glance

Location:Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Climate:temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain:predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Resources:natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Hazards:earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Population:4,213,418 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of New Zealand

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.






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