New Zealand, an independent state and a member of the Commonwealth, is situated south-east from Australia. The country consists of three large islands and also many small islands. New Zealand is a mountainous country.
New Zealand's rivers are short. The climate in New Zealand is warm and the greater part of the country is well watered. There are good forests of evergreen trees and large areas are rich grasslands.
New Zealand has very few native animals. The kiwi, a bird which lives in the forest and does not fly, is found nowhere else in the world. The kiwi is the national emblem of New Zealand. The main cities in North Island are Auckland, the largest city and port, and Wellington, the capital.
Christchurch and Dunedin are the most important towns in South Island. New Zealand is sometimes called "The Britain of the Pacific", because the cities and towns of the country resemble very much those of England.
New Zealand's climate with rainfalls all the year round, is very favourable for dairying, sheep-farming and cattle-farming, as well as growing fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The population of New Zealand is over three million people, more than two thirds of whom live in North Island. The Maori people make up eight per cent of the total population. The Maoris are famous for their folk-songs, music and dances, they are very skilled in wood-work.
New Zealand is a self-governing state and a member of the Commonwealth. The Governor-General represents the King or Queen of England. The Parliament of the country consists of one house only, the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister heads the cabinet. The main political parties are the Labour Party and the National Party of New Zealand.