New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean that became an independent dominion of Great Britain in 1907. The population of 4.2 million is primarily of people of European descent (69.8 percent), with large minorities of Maoris (native New Zealanders; 7.9 percent), Asians (5.7 percent), and Pacific Islanders (4.4 percent). The largest religious denominations are Anglican (14.9 percent) and Roman Catholic (12.4 percent), and about a quarter of the population does not indicate a religion.

New Zealand enjoys a high standard of living comparable with many European countries, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $27,700 in 2009. Life expectancy is among the highest in the world, with an average of 78.43 years for men and 83.20 years for women.

Gender equality ...

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