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Geographic map of New Zealand

Geographic map of New Zealand

New Zealand is an island state of Oceania, located in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, and numerous smaller islands such as Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. .
New Zealand has a population of 5,149,000 (as of 2021) and has Wellington as its capital, with a population of 493,400 (as of 2011).
New Zealand is separated from Australia by the Tasman Sea which separates it from Australia, which is located about 2000 km north-west.

Geography –
New Zealand has a long and narrow shape that extends for over 1600 km on its north-north-east axis; on both islands the west coast is no more than 400 km from the east coast. The two islands are separated by the Cook Strait which is a 22km stretch of sea at the closest point.
New Zealand is an archipelago made up of two large islands and many other smaller islands, largely uninhabited: Stewart Island, the third largest, plus the so-called Outer Islands, that is 9 minor archipelagos, 5 of which (in turn called New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands) have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From a morphological point of view, both islands are crossed by mountain ranges. The South Island from the Southern Alps and the North Island from lower-height ranges. Mount Cook (or Aoraki in the Māori language, which means “that pierces the clouds”) with its 3,754 m is the highest peak in the country and is located in the center of the New Zealand Alps. New Zealand is still rich in many active volcanoes and is an area with a very high seismic risk. The coast whose overall length is 15134 km is indented in the North Island while in the South it is more regular.
From the hydrographic point of view, New Zealand is crossed by numerous watercourses that arise from the reliefs, which are however for the most part very short and discontinuous, difficult to navigate: in fact, lakes (often of volcanic origin such as Lake Taupo) and waterfalls.

Climate –
New Zealand is located at a southern latitude ranging from 34 to 47 °, which roughly corresponds to that of Italy, in the northern hemisphere.
The presence in the middle of the ocean makes the climate different from the Italian one. The rains are more intense and frequent, since being an island it is naturally more exposed to ocean winds and rainfall. In general, however, the climate is temperate and maritime, with temperatures rarely below 0 ° C and above 30 ° C. The lowest recorded temperature in New Zealand was −21.6 ° C (in Otago), while the highest was 42.4 ° C (in Rangiora). Of the major cities, Christchurch is the driest, with only 640mm of water per year. Auckland, the rainiest city, receives almost twice as much. However, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch receive an average of over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year. The southern part of the South Island has a cooler and more disturbed climate, with around 1 400 – 1 600 hours of sunshine, while the northern part of the South Island is the sunniest part and receives around 2 400 – 2 500 hours of sunshine per year.

In New Zealand, about 30% of the territory is protected by Parks.
In the north island the main tree forms are fern-type forms. Acacias are also very popular, especially mimosas. To protect the country from the fragility of its ecosystem, which is so particular and unrepeatable in the world, a very strong control is implemented at customs, which fulfills its task with great rigidity, and over the years some areas to protect animals and vegetation have been established. where it is not possible to touch anything or modify the landscape in any way. In fact, New Zealand has a very high number of national parks, established since 1887, which within them offer tourists the contemplation of the wonders they contain through the many trekking routes, designed and organized precisely to give the best views and views. more spectacular.
Furthermore, New Zealand has many forest parks, marine reserves and historical and conservation parks that are able to give a three hundred and sixty-degree vision of the cultural and natural attractions of the country, unique in the world for the respect and ecological awareness that it has developed in the over the years after the disasters touched in the past centuries or some peculiar fauna extinctions caused by the lightness of man. The rarity and singularity found in this place of some species of animals, especially birds, are something exceptional that must absolutely be preserved.

Fauna –
The fauna of New Zealand is also, in some ways unique, also due to its relative isolation.
The symbolic animal of New Zealand is the kiwi, a prehistoric nocturnal bird, without wings, and with a characteristic beak that it uses to search for food in the ground. Evolution has led this animal to shrink in size, becoming about the size of a cat; however, the size of its eggs has not decreased and therefore appear disproportionate to the body.
However, there are no endemic mammal species in New Zealand. The only mammals found by the early Māori were some bats probably from Australia. Settlers from Australia introduced a species of opossum to exploit its valuable fur in commercial terms. However, the voracious opossum has upset the wildlife balance of the country, also causing the extinction of over 1300 bird species and the kiwi itself is at risk, as the opossum attacks its adults and devours its eggs. New Zealanders are frantically active in trying to eradicate the more than 70 million specimens of opossums before it further compromises the local ecosystem. For this reason, any initiative involving the physical elimination of opossums is labeled in New Zealand as “ecological”. Huberia brounii is an endemic species of ant, typical of New Zealand, difficult to observe and therefore little known.
Furthermore, in this country several allochthonous animals have been introduced by man; among these we remember the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758), which has naturalized and has become an invasive species. Due to the mild winters, some colonies of Vespula vulgaris survive the winter, giving rise to quite numerous swarms and very large and dangerous nests.

Guido Bissanti

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