The Geography of New Zealand
By Clayton Brown
February 25, 1996
The well-known country of New Zealand is a small, resourceful nation located 1,000 miles off Australia's south east coast. New Zealand has an impressive economy that continues to grow, a physical landscape that attracts people from around the globe, and although small, New Zealand is a respected nation for its advanced civilization and stable government. The geography of this prestigious nation can be described through five principal categories, the physical geography, the cultural geography, the citizens' standard of living, the government, and the nation's economy.
New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere, with an absolute location of 37 degrees south longitude to 48 degrees south longitude and 167 degrees east latitude to 177 degrees east latitude. It is composed of two major islands named the North and South Islands, and the total land area of the nation, approximately divided equally between the two islands, is 103,470 square miles. Surprisingly, only 2 percent of the land area is arable. New Zealand has an abundance of natural resources, explaining why the country is so wealthy compared to other nations. These resources include fertile grazing land, oil and gas, iron, coal, timber, and excellent fishing waters.
New Zealand's climate is basically moderate year round because of the nearby ocean that regulates the climate. New Zealand enjoys a marine west coast climate, that on average produces sixty to eighty degree temperatures in January and forty to sixty degree temperatures in July. Because it is surrounded by the ocean, New Zealand receives immense quantities of precipitation on both islands. The average annual precipitation on the North Island is thirty to forty inches and on the South Island it is forty to fifty inches. This climate produces mixed forests, mid-latitude deciduous forests, and temperate grassland vegetation. The...
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