The high elevations of the mountains are often covered by forests. On the South Island there is evergreen rainforest made up of different beech species, on the North Island it is subtropical rainforest. Kauri spruce, the largest tree in the country, also grows here. It can reach a maximum height of 40 m and a trunk diameter of up to 3 m. These trees grow very slowly, but can live up to 1500 years.
Since the Kauri spruces are threatened with extinction, felling is prohibited. For the lower areas of New Zealand, grasses, mosses and especially ferns are characteristic. Of over 200 species of ferns, around 50 are endemic. The tree fern Mamaku is up to 15 m high. The southernmost palm species in the world, the Nikau palm, which can grow up to 10 m high, can be found in large areas of the northern peninsula.
Important data about the country
|Surface:||270 534 km²|
|Population density:||14 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||0.8% / year|
|Life expectancy:||79 years|
|State capital:||Wellington (picture 4)|
|Form of government:||parliamentary monarchy in the British Commonwealth|
|Languages:||English (official language), Maori (official since 1987)|
|Religions:||Christians (74%), Maori religion (10%)|
|Climate:||Oceanic climate with low temperature fluctuations and abundant rainfall.|
|Land use:||Arable land 1.7%, pasture land 52.5%, forest 20%|
(share of GDP)
|Agriculture 5%, industry 27%, services 68%|
|Export goods:||Wool, meat, dairy products, fruit (kiwis), game, hides, hides, paper and aluminum|
|Gross domestic product:||$ 79 572 million (2003)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 15,530 / residents (2003)|
According to simplyyellowpages, New Zealand is only sparsely populated with 13 residents / km². The population is distributed very differently on the two main islands. Around three quarters of the population live on the much more densely populated North Island of New Zealand. The population is also concentrated in the coastal areas, while the interior of the country is almost deserted. More than a quarter of all residents live in the Auckland agglomeration.
Almost three-quarters of the population of New Zealand are Europeans, mainly of British descent. In several waves of immigration, larger groups of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Germany and Scandinavia also came to the country.
In recent years, the immigration of Chinese, Indians and residents of other Asian countries has also increased. New Zealand is therefore a country with a multicultural population and is still a popular immigration country. However, New Zealand has had a strict immigration policy since the 1960’s to limit the number of immigrants.
The indigenous people of New Zealand are the Maori, who, however, only have a population of 10%. The Maoris are Polynesians. They once immigrated from the Polynesian cultural area in search of better living conditions. They originally lived on the Cook Islands and the Tokelau Islands, but also on Samoa and Tonga. From the 14th to the 17th centuries, New Zealand developed its own Maori culture. Despite legal equality with whites, the Maori are still economically disadvantaged today. They are, however, better integrated into New Zealand society than the Aborigines in Australia, whose discrimination continues to this day. For example, their language is taught in schools as the second national language.
After a recession in the 1970’s, the economy was able to stabilize again in the 1990’s through the expansion of trade relations with Australia and other Asian countries. Europe’s export share, which at the beginning of the 1970’s was just under 50%, is now only around 10%.
Agriculture is very important in New Zealand with 60% of the export volume. In the first place are sheep and cattle breeding.
They are used for wool, meat and milk production. Agriculture is limited to climatically favorable regions. In addition to forage crops, wheat, barley, potatoes, vegetables and fruit, especially kiwis, are grown . Fishing and processing are gaining in importance, as is the breeding of game on the South Island.
The industry is dominated by mechanical engineering, wood processing and paper production, as well as textile and food production. The extraction of raw materials and energy is becoming increasingly important. In order to become independent of oil imports, since the seventies more and more own raw material deposits, especially natural gas and coal, have been used.
Tourism is also of particular importance to the New Zealand economy. According to official figures from the New Zealand Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourists spent over NZ $ 6.1 billion in the country in 2002. According to estimates by the New Zealand government, one in ten jobs in the country depends directly or indirectly on tourism. New Zealand has more than two million tourists a year.
By the 17th century, native people immigrated from Polynesia. Development of a Maori culture.
1769: New Zealand discovered by James Cook
1840: New Zealand becomes a British colony. Wellington becomes the first branch of the newly formed New Zealand Company. The first waves of immigration from Europe arrive and the systematic settlement of the South Island begins at the end of the 1940’s.
1907: New Zealand becomes independent and receives the status of a parliamentary monarchy.
1931: Great Britain grants New Zealand full state independence.
1939–1945: New Zealand joins the Allies in World War II.