New Zealand is a country in the Pacific Ocean. It is an island nation, with two main islands (North and South Islands) and close to 600 other smaller islands. Its nearest neighbours are Tonga and Fiji, but, to get an idea of where it lies on the map, think of it as close to Australia. It is some 2000 km away from Australia though.
Geography and Nature
The land area of the country covers 268, 021 sq km. Both the terrain and weather conditions of different regions of the country vary immensely. Christchurch, for example, is very dry and is considered semi-arid. Wellington, on the other hand, is exceptionally wet and receives double the amount of rain recorded in Christchurch. The general climate of the country is, however, considered temperate. The landscape is similarly diverse, generally flat at the coast and hilly inland.
New Zealand was initially a highly forested country. However, a lot of that landscape has been cleared over the years following human settlement. Wooded regions today are mainly the mountain areas and protected reserves. The main crops in the country are endemic (unique to the particular areas where they grow).
Birds are the most common wildlife species in New Zealand. The kiwi bird is widely popular and is usually associated with the country. Records show that before human settlement, there were no predators of the mammal class in the country. Their introduction led to the extinction of some of the original species. Human activity also contributed to this. The hunt of the moa, for instance, led to the disappearance of the Haast’s eagle.
Besides birds, there are numerous reptiles, with geckos and tuatara forming the majority of this class. Frogs, spiders and insects are present too, as well as bats; the only historical land mammals.
Marine and aquatic animals also form a large part of the country’s animal life due to the abundance of water cover. The country has the world’s most substantial diversity of penguin species. Whales, seals, porpoises and dolphins are part of New Zealand’s marine mammals. A lot of sea birds are present too.
Due to the endangerment of many wildlife species, conservation efforts have been stepped up in recent years. As of 2019, for instance, only 68,000 kiwis were remaining. Such is a concern for a country that holds the bird as an icon. The introduction of sanctuaries and control of pests are critical conservation efforts.