A common myth about New Zealand is that there are more sheep than people, in fact it has been stated that there are 3 million people in New Zealand and 60 million sheep – that’s 20 sheep for every person! The actual figures as at the end of 2011 were 4.42 million people and 31.1 million sheep so the ratio is not quite as high as has been suggested!
New Zealand is also famous for its wonderful culture, including Maori, rugby and it is also said that bungee jumping was invented here. New Zealanders love all types of adrenalin sports.
New Zealand is in the south west Pacific Ocean to the south east of Australia. New Zealand has two main islands – the North Island and the South Island as well as several other small islands. The capital city is Wellington and other major cities are Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton.
New Zealand has experienced many earthquakes – one of the biggest being in 2011 in Christchurch – 185 people lost their lives and there was massive structural damage across the city. Earthquakes occur in New Zealand due to the country being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which is geologically active.
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. The actual government is conducted by the Prime Minister and a cabinet. The current Prime Minister is Jacinda Ardern who has been in office since 2017. The next elections will be in October 2020.
At a glance facts
- Population – 4,925,477 (2020)
- International Dialling Code 64
- Time difference – New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of the UK
- Languages – English, Maori
$ New Zealand dollar
Australasia, member of the Commonwealth