New Zealand is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean situated south-east of the Australian continent across the Tasman Sea. The country contains two major islands (named the South and the North), which are the 12th and 14th largest islands in the world, as well as the much smaller island of Kermadec to the north, Tokelau to the north-east and Stewart Island in the far south. New Zealand is located in the mid-latitudes and extends for 1600 kilometres between 34 degrees and 47 degrees south latitude. With an area of 270 000 square kilometres, it is one-thirtieth the size of Australia. New Zealand was initially governed as a dependency of New South Wales before it separated as a colony in the 19th century. The capital city is Wellington but its largest metropolis is Auckland, located at the base of the Northland peninsula on an isthmus that comprises its narrowest neck of land. It has become New Zealand's largest city with urban sprawl that is expanding, particularly toward the south. See image 4


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