New Zealand Overview Part I

New Zealand is a state in the Pacific Ocean to the southeast of Australia. It consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. The North Island has been shaped by strong tectonic processes. Active volcanoes, earthquakes and thermal springs are still a reminder today. The south island has high mountain character in the west with glaciers and fjords that cut deep into the land.

The population density of New Zealand is very low. The country has a multicultural population. The Maoris, the native residents of the country, are legally equal and integrated into society. Agriculture with sheep and cattle breeding accounts for 60% of New Zealand’s exports. Tourism is becoming increasingly important in the service sector.

New Zealand is a state in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It is located southeast of Australia, separated by the Tasman Sea. New Zealand has two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as several neighboring smaller islands. They are separated from each other by the approximately 23 km wide Cook Strait.

The New Zealand national territory covers more than two thirds of the Federal Republic. It extends, surrounded by 15,000 km of coastline, crescent-shaped from northwest to southwest with a horn pointing to the northeast. There is never more than 300 km between the east and west coast. The state capital is Wellington on the South Island

Surface shape

New Zealand is a fragment of the ancient continent Gondwana. It is located in the tectonically unstable South Pacific region. As a result, New Zealand’s surface has been shaped to a large extent by tectonic movements, including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The surface shape of the main islands is consequently mountainous. Almost three quarters of the area are over 200 m high. The north islandis one of the most volcanically active zones on earth. At the Bay of Plenty in the north, around Auckland and in the Central Plateau, one comes across countless extinct or still active volcanoes. Mount Ruapetu (2797 m) was still highly active in 1996. A multitude of hot thermal springs and geysers are the geothermal witnesses of the ongoing unrest in the earth’s crust. In addition, earthquakes of great magnitude occur almost annually in this zone of plate tectonic movements.

A few kilometers south of the collapsed Mount Taupo crater, New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, rises on the north peninsula. From the source to the confluence with the Tasman Sea south of Auckland, the 425 km long river flows through the slightly hilly central plateau, which extends in a north-westerly direction.

Large regions of the South Island also have the character of high mountains. The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook (3764 m) is also located here. It is part of the so-called Southern Alps, which traverse the island in a northeastern direction. These mountains, also known as the New Zealand Alps, drop steeply to the west to the Tasman Sea. To the east it is thought to form wide plains. Glacial river valleys cut deep into the country as huge fjords in the southwest of the island. B. the famous Milford Sound. The fjordland is now a national park. Even today, the highest mountain ranges are still glaciated. The largest and longest glaciers are the 10 km long Franz Josef Glacier and the Tasman Glacier with 26 km length.


According to listofusnewspapers, characteristic for New Zealand is a temperate maritime climate with relatively low annual temperature fluctuations. T. rich rainfall.

Due to the prevailing westerly winds, the rainfall in the mountains in the west is significantly higher than in the east of the country. The areas with the highest rainfall are on the west coast of the South Island. Milford Sound, for example, has an average rainfall of almost 7,000 mm per year. Only 100 km as the crow flies, but separated by the foothills of the Southern Alps, are the driest areas to the east with only 350 mm of annual precipitation. On the North Island and the North of the South Island, the summers are drier and the winters are milder and more rainy. In contrast, further south the winters become noticeably colder (Fig. 3).


The predominant form of vegetation is grassland. Originally, however, extensive forest areas covered more than three quarters of the country. However, massive clearing by European settlers greatly reduced the forests, so that today only 20% of the country’s area is forest-covered. Around a fifth of the area of ​​New Zealand are protected as national parks and coastal reserves. Of the plant species found in New Zealand, one in five is endemic,that is, it does not appear anywhere else in the world. Due to the millions of years of isolation of New Zealand from other land masses, they could only develop here. New Zealand is characterized by the change in vegetation in a narrow space depending on the altitude in the mountains.

New Zealand Vegetation