New Zealand is a very interesting country. It has got a total area of 269,000 square kilometers. It is situated to the south-east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main islands (North Island and South Island) and some smaller ones. Nearly 3.5 million people live in the country. The capital of New Zealand is Wellington. It is a financial centre too. The city was founded in 1840 and has been the capital since 1865. The official language is English. The climate of New Zealand is moist. New Zealand is rich in minerals. The main industries in New Zealand are iron and steel. The country has gas and petroleum. There are many mountains in New Zealand. The highest is Mount Cook (3,764 metres or 12,349 feet). There are many rivers and lakes in the country. The chief rivers are the Waikato and the Wairu. You have heard about the native animals in the country. One of them is the kiwi. This interesting bird lives in the wet parts of the thick bushes. In the day-time the bird does not go out. It comes out only at night to find food. Kiwis cannot fly. Many years ago kiwis were hunted for food. Now the government does not permit the hunting of kiwis. The kiwi is now the symbol of New Zealand people. Small children are often called kiwis. New Zealand is an independent state, but formerly it was a part of the British Empire. The head of state is the Queen. The Parliament consists of one House only, the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. New Zealand has got heavy industry. There are many plants in the country. The paper and rubber industries are developed too. New Zealand exports wool, meat, and butter. There are some big cities such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Nelson. Auckland and Wellington are the main ports of the country. There are some educational and cultural institutions in Wellington, among which are the University of New Zealand, and Victoria University College. Victoria University was established in 1897.