New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty which includes: jagged mountains, steep fiords, pristine lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic features. The islands are one of Earth s richest flora zones and is inhabited by some unique fauna, including many flightless birds such as the kiwi, which is the national symbol.
The Maori culture continues to play an important part in everyday New Zealand life, and there are abundant opportunities for the visitor to understand and experience the history and the present day form of Maori life.
The country is sparsely populated but easily accessible. New Zealand has modern visitor facilities, and developed transportation networks. New Zealand often adds an adventure twist to nature, and is the home of jetboating through shallow gorges, and bungy jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.
New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes these have less autonomy than the countrys 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. The Queens Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory): the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association): and the Ross Dependency, New Zealands territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
List of regions
(1) These regions have unitary authorities.