New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean, comprising of the North Island and the South Island. It also has numerous smaller islands, most notably Stewart Island, Cook Islands and the Chatham Islands. It is situated southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea.
The population of New Zealand is mostly of European Descent; the Indigenous Maori are the largest minority. Asians and non-Maori Polynesians are also significant minority groups. The most commonly spoken language is English.
Elizabeth II is the country's head of state, though she has no real political influence and her position is essentially symbolic. Political power is held by a democratic parliament under the leadership of the Prime Minister.