New Zealand (Kalos Universe)

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New Zealand

The youngest country on earth.

Map of New Zealand

New Zealand (Aotearoa in Māori) is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some 1,500 kilometers (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Due to its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.

The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving, weaving, and tattooing become more mainstream. Many artists now combine Māori and Western techniques to create unique art forms. The country's culture has also been broadened by globalization and increased immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia. New Zealand's diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

New Zealand is organized into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes. 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. The Prime Minister is de facto indirectly elected, in that they are not directly elected by the people of New Zealand but become Prime Minister by (usually) becoming the leader of the largest party in Parliament following a general election. Formally, they are appointed and can be dismissed by the Governor-General of New Zealand.