New Zealand is a country in the south-western Pacific Ocean consisting of two large islands and many much smaller islands. It is called Aotearoa in M?ori, which translates as the Land of the Long White Cloud, but this name, while in common usage, has no legal recognition, either within New Zealand or internationally.
It is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea 1,250 miles across. Its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.
The population is mostly of European descent, with M?ori being the largest minority. Non-M?ori Polynesian and Asian peoples are also significant minorities, especially in the cities.
Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and is represented by a non-political Governor-General; the Queen 'reigns but does not rule', so she has no real political influence. Political power is held by the Prime Minister, who is leader of the Government in the democratically-elected Parliament of New Zealand. The Realm of New Zealand also includes the Cook Islands and Niue, which are entirely self-governing, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency.