New Zealand is located in the continent of Oceania. It is composed of two major islands and an additional chain of smaller islands. The major islands are referred to as the North and the South Islands. The islands are located on the Southwestern Pacific ocean. New Zealand is quite isolated from other major land masses. It is situated approximately 1500 km east of Australia and approximately 1000 km south of Fiji and Tonga.
Due to its isolation, the continent to which New Zealand supposedly belongs is quite unclear. Analyzing its geography, government, and associations with other land masses will go a long way in helping us determine the continent to which it belongs.
Geography of New Zealand
New Zealand is composed of two large islands and approximately 600 small islands. The two main islands are interconnected by the Cook Strait. The islands are situated in the southwestern region of the Pacific Ocean. The country’s location is almost at the center of the water hemisphere. The Southern Island, which is the 12th largest island in the world, is endowed with the Southern Alps. The Southern Alp s has 18 peaks, which are over 3000 meters above the sea level. The country is of a varied topographical nature. The North Island is the 14th largest in the world. Despite being less mountainous than the South Island, it has active volcanoes. The country’s active volcanic activities and diverse topographical nature are attributed to its strategic location at the meeting point of the Pacific and Indo-European plates.
New Zealand Climate
New Zealand experiences a maritime climate. The annual temperatures in the country vary between 10°C and 16°C. The west coast of the South Island is usually extremely cold and wet, especially during the winter season. The Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago experience a semi-arid climate. Christchurch is the driest city in the country. It receives approximately 640 milliliters of rain per annum. Wellington is the coolest and wettest city, with an average annual precipitation of over 1250 milliliters per annum.
Government of New Zealand
New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy. It exercises representative parliamentary democracy. The monarch is the head of State whereas the prime minister is the head of government. The legislative powers of the government are exercised by the House of Representatives, which is the lower house of the bicameral parliament, and the queen. General elections are usually scheduled to take place after a maximum period of 3 years.
New Zealand Is in Oceania
The continent of Oceania, which is also commonly referred to as Oceania, is the smallest of all the seven continents. The continent is made of only three countries: Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. However, there are a few other territories and islands that are located close to the landmasses of this continent and they are therefore considered to be part of the continent.
The entire continent of Oceania is surrounded by waters of different oceans from different directions. Due to its isolation, New Zealand has seen an evolution of certain species endemic to the country. New Zealand is a member of the Pacific Island Forum, an organization that was established to bring together sovereign nations which are islands in the Pacific Ocean.