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New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.
The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, who is currently Jacinda Ardern.Queen Elizabeth II is the country's head of state and is represented by a governor-general, currently Dame Patsy Reddy.) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (or Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (or Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands.Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori.
The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other.
The Māori people are most likely descended from people who emigrated from Taiwan to Melanesia and then travelled east through to the Society Islands.
After a pause of 70 to 265 years, a new wave of exploration led to the discovery and settlement of New Zealand.
New Zealand is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life.
Since the 1980s, New Zealand has transformed from an agrarian, regulated economy to a market economy.
The names of the two main islands always take a definite article: the North Island and the South Island (not North Island and South Island).