New Zealand is an island country in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. It lies about 1 600 km southeast of Australia and about 10 500 km southwest of California. New Zealand belongs to a large island group called Polynesia. The country is situated on two main islands — the North Island and the South Island — and several dozen smaller islands. Most of the smaller islands are hundreds of kilometers from the main ones.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and Auckland is the largest city. English is the official language of New Zealand and is spoken throughout the country. Many native people speak their own language, Maori, in addition to English.
The country once belonged to the British empire. Today it is an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of Britain and a number of its former colonies.
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. The British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, is the monarch of New Zealand. She appoints a governor general to represent her, but the governor general has little power. The legislation, prime minister, and Cabinet run the national government.
Britain gave New Zealand a constitution in 1852, when it was a British colony. But through the years the New Zealand legislature has changed almost all its provisions. Today, the nation has no written constitution.
The first people who settled in New Zealand were a brown skinned people called Maoris. They came from Polynesian islands located northeast of New Zealand. The country was discovered by Europeans in 1642, but they did not start to settle in the islands until the late 1700's. Today, most New Zealanders are descendants of the early European settlers. Maoris make up about 12% of the country's population.
New Zealand has one of the highest standard of living in the world. For many years, the economy of the country depended largely on agriculture. Today agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries are all important to the economy. New Zealand’s economy depends on trade with many countries - Australia, Britain, Japan and the United States.
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Новая Зеландия-островное государство в юго-западной части Тихого океана. Она находится примерно в 1 600 км к юго-востоку от Австралии и приблизительно в 10 500 км к юго-западу от Калифорнии. Новая Зеландия принадлежит к большой группе под названием острова Полинезии. Эта страна расположена на двух крупных островов — Северный остров и остров Южный — и несколько десятков мелких островов. Большинство мелких островов находятся в сотнях километров от основных..
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