New Zealand (Area Total 268,021 km2) is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses ‒ that of the North and South Islands ‒ and numerous smaller islands.

New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.

New Zealand enjoys a pleasant mild climate and great natural beauty, especially in the mountainous areas. Over a third of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland. A city of more than 1.3 million people. The capital is Wellington city. Christchurch is second largest city. It’s often referred to as the gateway to the South Island.

New Zealand is a unique country with beautiful scenery and friendly people. New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy offering a safe political environment for international students and visitors. It is primarily a European culture with a strong Maori cultural heritage. New Zealand has absorbed many of the rich and historic cultural elements from the Maori and Pacific Island heritages and now from its rapidly growing multi-cultural Asian communities.

New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; these have less autonomy than the country's long defunct provinces did. Nationally, executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a Governor-General.

New Zealand is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and the United Nations.

New Zealand is generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance:

  1. In 2010 Auckland was ranked the world's 4th most liveable city and Wellington the 12th by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.
  2. The Economist Intelligence Unit'S (EUI) Liveability Ranking and Overview (August 2013) ranked Auckland at 10th position.
  3. Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland at 3rd Position.
  4. Monocle's Quality of Life Survey 2013 – ranked Auckland at 10th position.

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