Geography: Similar in size to the British Isles. New Zealand's North and South Islands are 1,300 miles southeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. Mainly mountainous and one-quarter covered with trees.
Government: Patterned on the British parliamentary system; Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign.
Population: About 3.1 million, mostly of British descent, with about 300,000 Maoris, or natives who migrated from Polynesia after AD 1350.
Cities: Over 83 percent urban, New Zealand has four fast-growing metropolitan areas: Auckland (800,000); Wellington (350,000); christchurch (350,000); and Dunedin (121,000).
Gross domestic product: $24 billion in 1980-81, and expected to increase 1 to 2 percent this year.
Inflation: Inflation is expected to ease slightly this year to about 15 percent, the lowest rate in two years.
Unemployment: 3.5 to 4 percent in March, up from 2.5 percent a year ago.
GNP per capita: New Zealand ranks 15th in the world ($5,530 US), following East Germany and the United Kingdom.
Balance of payments: Over the past two years exports have increased 55 percent as a result of government incentives, but higher interest costs and a declining New Zealand dollar have increased the cost of "invisibles." The current-account gap is expected to rise to $1.1 billion by 1982-83.
Exports: Agriculture was tops again last year -- beef and veal come to $528 million (New Zealand); lamb, $486 million; butter, $360 million; cheese, $105 million; wool, $930 million; hides and skins, $180 million; forest products, $ 318 million.