Five Quick facts about New Zealand
British-based education system with world-class, highly respected qualifications
Innovative teaching methods and technology Universities in the Top 500 worldwide rankings (Times Higher Education Supplement)
Personalised learning in a range of class settings and sizes Scenic beauty and modern, dynamic culture make New Zealand a great place to study
Location and Geography
New Zealand is an island country situated about 2,000 km (1250 miles) southeast of Australia, in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It has two main islands (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islands.
The South Island is the largest land mass and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. The North Island is less mountainous but marked by volcanism.
New Zealand, with a total area of 268,680 square kilometres, is comparable in size to Great Britain, Japan, or Colorado. Its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Its capital city is Wellington, the southernmost national capital in the world.
New Zealand has four distinct seasons but a mild climate characterises most of the country, along with fairly high regional rainfall but also lots of sunshine. New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where tropical rainforests, sunny coastline, alpine mountains and a variety of flora and fauna are found within a relatively close distance of each other. Variety of flora and fauna are found within a relatively close distance of each other.
History and Population
New Zealand has a rich heritage stemming from both Maori (aboriginal peoples) and European influences. The Europeans did not discover New Zealand until 1642 and it took another 150 years for settlers to begin to arrive. As European expansion increased, so did Maori resistance, and there were many conflicts in the 19th century (similar to the European/aboriginal friction in North America at around the same time). There have been several aboriginal/government settlements since that time to redress land lost by the Maori during European expansion, and Maori are now celebrated as an integral part of New Zealand culture.
For most of the 20th century, New Zealand was a member of the British Empire. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1947 and by this time Britain no longer played a notable role in governing the country. Britain, however, remained highly important to the New Zealand economy, and Britain’s joining the EU in 1973 dealt a big blow to New Zealand’s export-oriented economy. The economy suffered for some time because of this and other factors, but successive governments restructured it from highly protectionist and regulated to one of the freest in the world, and the country now has many more trading partners.
The population of New Zealand is approximately 4.2 million, with over 80% living in urban areas including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, and Dunedin. There is a great mix of ethnicities in the population, with Asians and Polynesians making up notable minorities in the majority Caucasian population. Christianity is the dominant religion, and English the most common language.