| GENERAL INFORMATION
IOC Code: NZL
Country: New Zealand
President: Helen Clark
Largest City: Auckland
Currency: New Zealand dollar
Official languages: English, Maori
(1 January 2006)
Population: 4 134 200
GDP/inhabitant (in US $): 24 769
Density (inhabitants/km2): 15
Average age (in years):
Life expectancy (in years): 78.49
Internet code: .nz
Calling code: +64
New Zealand is a country in the south-western Pacific Ocean consisting of two large islands (the North Island and South Island) and many much smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. It is called Aotearoa in Maori, which translates as the Land of the Long White Cloud, but this name, while in common usage, has no legal recognition.
It is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea, some 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) across. Its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.
The population is mostly of European descent, with Maori being the largest minority. Non-Maori Polynesian and Asian peoples are also significant minorities, especially in the cities.
Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and is represented by a non-partisan Governor-General; the Queen 'reigns but does not rule', so she has no real political influence. Political power is held by the Prime Minister, who is leader of the Government in the democratically-elected Parliament of New Zealand. The Realm of New Zealand also includes the Cook Islands and Niue, which are entirely self-governing, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency (New Zealand's territorial claim in Antarctica).