New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand. New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; these have less autonomy than the country's long defunct provinces did. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, and the South Island and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometers east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometers south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy, although its constitution is not codified. Elizabeth II is the Queen of New Zealand and the head of state. The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant. The country's economy was historically dominated by the export of wool, but exports of dairy products, meat, and wine, along with tourism, are more significant today.
New Zealand also has an international reputation as a provider of quality education. It offers a safe learning environment which provides excellent study opportunities and support services for international students.
New Zealand has a mild and temperate maritime climate with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C (108.32 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −25.6 °C (−14.08 °F) in Ranfurly, Otago.
New Zealand’s education system is world-class, modern and responsive. It combines proven, traditional principles of education with innovation, creativity and fresh thinking to produce leaders and citizens equipped for the 21st century. New Zealand has an adult literacy rate of 99 percent. New Zealand universities are well-recognised internationally. More than half are ranked among the top 500 universities in the world and one is in the top 50. All have strong international connections and collaborate with universities in other countries on a range of research and teaching programmes.