Located in the South Pacific Ocean , and 2,250 km away from Australia, New Zealand is part of the continent of Oceania.  The country covers 70,467 km2 and is home to 4,470,800 people, as well as the blobfish and bright-blue glow worm arachnacampa luminosa. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – North Island, or Te-ika-a-Māui and the South Island ( Waipounamu)  and numerous smaller islands, for each island, either its English or Māori name can be used.. Wellington, the capital city, is located on the most southern point of Te-ika-a-Māui.  The official languages in New Zealand are English (96%), Maori (5%) . 74% of the population are of European origin, 15% are Maori and 12% are Asian.
The North Island of New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300 AD , concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands. They called it Aotearoa which means 'Land of the Clouds' which is the current Māori name for the whole New Zealand. These settlers developed the distinctive M
āori culture. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642  thinking this was the part of South America. In  1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. In 1769, British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Following Cook,  European and North American ships traded food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, food, artifacts and water. The potato introduced around that time. and  provided a reliable food surplus. Intertribal Musket wars  between 1801 and 1840, killed 30,000–40,000 Māori. From the early 19th century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population.The Māori population declined to around 40%  of its pre-contact level during the 19th century; introduced diseases were the major factor. In 1840, the Māori signed a treaty with the British Crown and the area came under British control. When immigrant numbers from Europe increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Wars  of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss and confiscation of a large portion of Māori land. In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote, and in 1894 pioneered the  the Old-age Pensions Act of 1898, the first general pensions scheme in the British Empire. In 1907, New Zealand became a  self-governing dominion. In 1947 the country adopted the Statute of Westminster which made the country independent: The powers of the British monarch and their representative - the Governor-General are limited by constitutional constraints and they cannot normally be exercised without the advice of the New Zealand government.  In the 1970s, Māori campaigner  criticised Eurocentrism and asked for a greater recognition of Māori culture.  Made world-famous by the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, the haka is a traditional Māori dance designated to show the fitness and power of the warriors and the players.