New Zealand Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

New Zealand: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, New Zealand has a population of around 4.8 million. It should be of interest that, after Nauru and the USA, the highest percentage of overweight men worldwide live here.

Ethnic composition

Caucasians (whites) around 75%, “native people” Maori around 15%, others from Polynesia around 6%, Asians 5%. A noticeable increase in the Asian proportion of the population can be observed.

The main tribes, “iwis”, of the Maori people are as follows:

  • Ngapuhi, with around 103,000 members,
  • Ngati Porou, with approx. 62,000 members and
  • Ngai Tahu/Kai Tahu, with around 40,000 members

45% of the population around Gisborne, in the east of the North Island, are Maoris. The average annual salary of the Maoris is around NZD 15,000. Average annual earnings for the general population are around NZD 35,000.


affiliation 63% Christians of different faiths, 31% are non-denominational

and there are around 2% Maori Christians, 1.2% Buddhists, 1.1% Hindus, 0.5% Muslims, 0.2% Jews, approx. 1% others

National languages

The national languages are English and the language of the indigenous people (Maori) Te Reo.

Capital and other cities

The capital of New Zealand is Wellington, with a population of around 450,000 people. According to Abbreviation Finder, NZL stands for New Zealand in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other cities are:

  • Auckland in the north of the North Island with around 1.3 million residents. Auckland was founded in 1840 and was the country’s capital until 1865.
  • Christchurch, with around 380,000 residents
  • Hamilton, with around 104,000 residentsOne of the world’s largest agricultural fairs takes place in Hamilton every year in mid-June. This is the “New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays”.
  • Dunedin on the east coast of the South Island, with around 120,000 residents, including 25,000 students
  • The regionally important city of New Plymouth (North Island), with around 66,000 residents
  • Palmerston North, with about 79,000 residents
  • Gisborne, with about 35,000 residents
  • Napier, with about 57,000 residents. Napier is completely Art Deco and was rebuilt in a uniform style in the 1930s after an earthquake devastated the city.
  • Taumaawhakatangih is the place with one of the longest names in the world. It is located in the east of the North Island in Hakwes Bay.

Assassination attempt in Christchurch

On March 15, 2019, Australian-born right-wing extremist Brenton Tarrant (born 1990) killed a total of 50 Muslims while praying, first in the Al Noor Mosque and then in the Lindwood Mosque in the city of Christchurch on the South Island. It was by far the worst attack in New Zealand history. To justify his act, he published a 70-page pamphlet entitled “The Exchange”, in which he refers, among other things, to the Norwegian Ander Brevik, who murdered 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utøya in 2011.

New Zealand: geography, map

New Zealand is located in the South Pacific about 1,940 km southeast of Australia. Geographically, it belongs to the continent of Australia. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of New Zealand.

The state consists of a north and a south island, which are separated at their narrowest point by the approx. 20 km wide Cook Strait, named after the English navigator James Cook (1728-1779). The South Island is divided in half from north to south almost in the middle by a mountain range, the New Zealand Alps. The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook, is located in this mountain range with a height of 3,764 m. A total of 223 mountains are higher than 2,300 m.

On the west side there is a very rainy and harsh climate, while the climate on the east side with many flat areas is rather mild and also less rainfall. The north of the South Island consists of numerous fjord-like bays, which are bordered by islands and peninsulas.

The central part of the North Island is part of a volcanic belt with numerous higher mountains, including the highest mountain on the North Island, the 2,797 m high volcano Mount Ruapehu. Imposing – almost from sea level – Mount Egmont rises to a height of 2,518 m near New Plymouth on the west coast of the North Island.

Australian and Pacific

tectonic plates New Zealand is located on two of the Earth’s 15 tectonic plates, namely on the interface of the Indo-Pacific and Pacific-continental plates, which rub against each other. The fault runs from north to south across the two islands. As a result, New Zealand is frequently hit by earthquakes. Volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs are another consequence of Earth activity.

Area and land use

New Zealand covers a total area of 270,534 km².

The area of the South Island with 150,440 km² is somewhat larger than that of the North Island.


  • ForestAround 27% of the country is forested. Sometimes there is an almost impenetrable primeval forest (rainforest) of fascinating beauty, such as the western country on the west coast of the South Island, where over 10,000 mm of annual rainfall leads to wonderfully lonely and almost impenetrable rainforests.However, when you consider that New Zealand was originally 78% covered with dense, evergreen forest, one becomes aware of overexploitation. Almost the entire population of the giant kauri trees was cut down within just 100 years.
  • Meadows and pasture landAround 52% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land, especially for sheep, dam and red deer breeding as well as cattle.
  • Fields and fieldsOnly about 2% of the land is used as arable land, especially for growing corn, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, garlic, wheat and sunflowers. In addition, avocados, grapefruits, kiwis, peaches and oranges grow in various plantations. Furthermore, very good wine is grown in some regions.
  • MountainsIn the Southern Mountain-Chain Alps of the South Island there are 223 peaks with a height of over 2,300 m.This mountain range runs centrally through almost the entire South Island. A little further to the east of the North Island is a volcanic chain that begins at Mount Egmont near New Plymouth and is part of the Pacific ring of volcanoes, also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

    This includes around 62% of all still active volcanoes and stretches in a ring around almost the entire Pacific. The following three volcanoes are still active in New Zealand: the Ruapehu (2,797 m), the Ngauruhoe (2,291 m) and the Tongariro (1,968 m).

    All three volcanoes are part of the Pacific Fire Belt.

National borders, length of coast

Due to its location, New Zealand has no national borders with other countries. The state has a coastline of around 15,000 km.

Tidal range in Auckland

In Auckland, the mean tidal range is around 3-4 m.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 meters, and at spring tide even over 20 meters. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax.

On the German North Sea coast it varies between one and three meters. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 meters, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

New Zealand extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 34 ° S to 37 ° S Δλ = from 166 ° E to 179 ° E

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time (time zones)

For New Zealand, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without daylight saving time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET.

Δt (CET) = + 11 to + 13(Depending on the summer time in Germany)

On the Chatam Islands, add another 45 minutes.

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest sun in Auckland

Auckland lies at a south latitude of around φ = 37 °. If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 ° S, summer starts in Auckland, this is December 21st. Thus, for the highest position of the sun around noon according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun).

– 37 ° = – (90 ° – h) + -23.5 °


H = 76.5 °

At 76.5 °, the sun is the highest level of the entire year above the horizon (more precisely: above the horizon).

Sun and moon

In New Zealand the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. So the sun moves here – as in all of New Zealand from east to north to west, where it then sets, as with us.

And the moon, which with us in the sky – if it is waning – forms a small “a”, increases in contrast to the same sight in the sky in the southern hemisphere!

Mountains, Mount Cook

Mount Cook

The highest mountain in the country is Mount Cook, which is named after the English navigator James Cook (1728-1779) and has a height of 3,764 m. It is located on the South Island.

Mount Tasman

With a height of 3,498 m, Mount Tasman is the second highest mountain in the country. It is located northwest of Mount Cook on the South Island.

Mount Ruapehu

The highest mountain on the North Island is Mount Ruapehu volcano with a height of 2,797 m. It is located in the middle of the North Island in the Tongariro National Park and is one of three neighboring volcanoes, along with the Ngauruhoe and the Tongariro. Incidentally, this volcanic mountain had its last eruption in 1995/96. On December 24, 1953, as a result of an eruption, a mudslide (lahar) occurred, which caused the Tangiwai railway bridge to collapse. Some wagons and the locomotive of the approaching train, which was on the way from Auckland to Wellington, crashed into the Whangaehu River. In this accident – which went down in history as the Tangiwai railway accident – 151 of the 285 passengers were killed.

Mount Egmont (Taranaki) Mount Egmont (Taranaki)

rises imposingly from the plain near New Plymouth at a height of 2,518 m. Mount Egmont is a volcano that had its last eruption in 1755 and is currently considered inactive.


Waikato River

The longest river in the country is the Waikato River on the North Island with a length of around 425 km. The Waikato rises from the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo, near the city of the same name. Shortly behind the lake it forms an impressive rapids, the Huka waterfalls, which at the end pour like waterfalls into the broad stream. It flows into the sea between Hamilton and Auckland.

Turanganui River

The shortest river is the Turanganui River with a length of only 1,200 m. It flows through Gisborne. At its mouth, James Cook first met the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Whanganui River

The Whanganui River on the North Island, with a length of around 290 km. The Whanganui River is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and traditional rivers in the country, which is closely linked to the Maori culture. It flows into the Pacific near the city of the same name, Wanganui (without h).

Clutha River

The longest river in the South Island is the Clutha River with a length of 336 km, which rises from Lake Wanaka and flows into the sea about 60 km south of Dunedin on the east side of the island.

Waimakiri River, Otira River, Gray River

Other rivers on the South Island are the Waimakiri River, the Otira River and the Gray River, which flows into the sea at Greymouth on the west coast.

Buller River

The Buller River with a length of 170 km flows into the Pacific at Westport. It has its source in Lake Rotoiti.


Lake Taupo

The largest lake is Lake Taupo with an area of around 606 km². It is located on the North Island. The town of the same name, Taupo, with around 22,000 residents and is considered one of the most important vacation spots in New Zealand, lies on it. New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, rises from Lake Taupo.

Other larger lakes:

  • Lake Te Anau, with an area of around 344 km2
  • Lake Wakatipu, where Queenstown is located
  • Lake Wanaka, from which the Clutha River rises


Around 144 islands are offshore or belong to the state elsewhere. The numerous, sometimes very small islands on the northern tip of the South Island and the islands north of the North Island are particularly impressive. Belong to the New Zealand Islands

Stewart Island

Stewart Island with an area of 1,746 km2 and approx. 240 residents is the third largest island in New Zealand and is located approx. 30 km south of the South Island. Live here among others. Sea lions that are strictly protected

Kermadec Islands

Kermadec Islands, which are uninhabited today, were not always so. They served the Polynesians as a stopover on their journeys to New Zealand. The islands are about 100 km northeast of New Zealand. They are made up of the following islands:

  • Raoul, with an area of 34 km2
  • Macauley, with an area of approximately 380 km2
  • Curtis and Cheeseman, with an area of approx. 60 ha = 0.6 km2
  • l’Esperance Rock, with an area of approximately 4.8 ha = 0.048 km2

Stephens Island

Stephens Island is a 1.84 km² small rock island in the Cook Strait between the North and South Island and belongs to the Marlborough Sounds, a group of small islands. Stephens Island was first described by Abel Tasman in 1642. Before 1894 the island was uninhabited, but with the lighthouse came the keeper with his family and cats, who very quickly exterminated the almost flightless ground-breeder – the St. Stephen’s hatchback (Xenicus lyalli) – who lived here.

The bridge lizard, whose beginnings go back to the time of the Sauerians, still lives here. In addition, one of the most ancient frog species in the world exists here, the Hamilton frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni).

Great Barrier Islands

Great Barrier Islands, north of the Coromandel Peninsula, covers an area of 285 km2

Chatam Islands

Chatam Islands, which are about 860 km east of the South Island. The only living Morioris can be found on the islands. The archipelago is made up of around 40 islands, which cover a total area of 970 km2. The islands are located east of the 180th degree of longitude, but the date line makes an arc around the islands and runs east of the islands, whose time is + 45 minutes to New Zealand time.

Dependencies – New Zealand dependent areas:

  • Cook Island in the South Pacific, with an area of 237 km2 and approx. 18,000 residents, is a self-governing monarchy associated with New Zealand.
  • The Tokelau Islands, with an area of 12 km2 and about 1,500 residents.
  • The Niue Islands, with an area of 263 km2, about 2,100 residents and the capital Alofi. Niue is a parliamentary-democratic monarchy in the Commonwealth. The state is a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand.

Circumpolar Antarctic or sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand

These islands of New Zealand are located south of the country and north of the Antarctic convergence.

  • The Snares Islands, with an area of 3.28 km2, which are located at a geographic position of 166 ° 30 ‘East and 48 ° 00’ South. On the Snares Islands, evidence of a settlement by the Maoris before the modern discovery of the islands was found. Entering the island is not allowed.
  • The Bounty Islands, with an area of 1.35 km2, which are geographically located 179 ° 05 ‘East and 47 ° 45’ South. The highest point measures approx. 70 m.
  • The Antipodes Islands, with an area of 20.97 km2, with Mt. Galloway with a height of 366 m. The islands are geographically located 178 ° 45 ‘east and 49 ° 40’ south.
  • The Auckland Islands, with an area of 625 km2, with Mt. Dick with a height of 705 m as the highest mountain and Lake Turbott as the largest lake. The islands have a large natural harbor, Carnley Harbor. The archipelago is made up of four main islands: Auckland Island, Adams Island, Ewing Island and Enderby Island. On the latter, 600-year-old evidence of Maoris has been found. In 1842, a group of Maoris from the Chamtam Islands settled in Port Ross on Auckland Island with some Morioris they had enslaved.
  • The Campbell Island, with an area of 113 km2 with the Mt. Honey with a height of 569 m and the Six Foot Lake, the largest lake. It is the southernmost of New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands.


In the very south on the west coast of the South Island, a total of 14 fjords extend over a length of about 200 km – which are referred to here as “Sound”. The region is known as Fiordland. The most famous fjord is probably the “Doubtfull Sound”, which got its name from a saying by James Cook, who anchored here in 1770 that it seemed doubtful to him to sail into it. The fjords and the adjoining gorges are so deep, narrow and lacking in sunshine that the locals refer to them as “shadow land”.

In this area there is also the approximately 1.5 km² “Breaksea Island” in King George Sound, which is a strictly protected nature reserve and may only be entered for scientific purposes. From 1990 onwards, the local rats, weasels, martens and ermines, which were brought in by the settlers, began to be exterminated here, thus giving the former native and ground-breeding birds that had disappeared a new chance of survival – very successfully so far. Especially the kiwi, the symbol of New Zealand, finds good living conditions here. The fur seals, which used to be heavily hunted, have also found a protected habitat here. A special feature on the island is the 2.5 cm large weevil. The weather here is very stormy and extremely rainy.

Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea

New Zealand is bordered by the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

New Zealand Population