Political Status: Constitutional democracy with Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state; formally independent since 1947.

Area: 104,454 sq. mi. (270,534 sq. km.).

Population: 4,027,947 (2006C); 4,294,000 (2008E).

Major Urban Centers (2006C): WELLINGTON (179,466), Auckland (404,658; conurbation 1,414,700), Christchurch (348,435), Manukau City (328,968), Hamilton (129,249), Dunedin (118,683).

Official Languages: English, Maori.

Monetary Unit: New Zealand Dollar (market rate December 1, 2009: 1.37 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Sir Anand SATYANAND; named by the queen on April 3, 2006, to succeed Dame Silvia CARTWRIGHT, effective August 4.

Prime Minister: John Phillip KEY (National Party), named by the governor general to form a new government following the parliamentary election of, November 8, 2008, and sworn in on November 19, succeeding Helen CLARK (Labour Party), who had served since the election ...

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