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New Zealand, People and Society

According to the 2001 census, New Zealand had a population of 3,820,749. The country has a low population density, with an average of 14 persons per sq km (37 per sq mi). About three-quarters of all New Zealanders live in the North Island, even though it is smaller than the South Island, because the largest cities and industries are located there.

About 86 percent of the people of New Zealand live in urban areas. More than half of the urban population lives in the country’s five largest cities—Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, and Dunedin. Auckland, by far the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the country, has a consistently higher growth rate than the other cities. It is an important seaport and industrial center. Wellington is the seat of national government and a hub for domestic transportation and commercial shipping. Both cities are located in the North Island, with Auckland in the northwest and Wellington in the southeast. Hamilton, a short distance south of Auckland, is a center for dairy farming. The largest city in the South Island is Christchurch, on the eastern coast, and the wool-processing, educational, and tourism center of Dunedin is located farther south.

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