North Island

North Island

North Island (1996 pop. 2,718,188), 44,702 sq mi (115,777 sq km), New Zealand. It is the smaller but more populous of the two principal islands of the country. The principal cities are Wellington, capital of New Zealand, and Auckland. Separated from South Island, the other principal island, by Cook Strait, North Island is irregularly shaped with a long peninsula projecting northwest. There are volcanic mountains, the highest being Ruapehu (9,175 ft/2,797 m) and Mt. Egmont (8,260 ft/2,518 m). Its largest river, the Waikato, is the most important river of New Zealand, draining Lake Taupo, the country's largest lake. The island contains most of New Zealand's dairy and wine industries. Oil, iron, and coal are found there. Near the center of the island is a hot springs resort area.

The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, the other being the South Island. The island is 113,729 square km in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island. It has a population of 3,148,400 .

Several important cities are in the North Island, notably New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, and Wellington, the capital, located at the southern extremity of the island. Approximately 76% of New Zealand's population lives in the North Island.

According to Māori mythology, the North and South Islands of New Zealand arose through the actions of the demigod Māui. Māui and his brothers were fishing from their canoe (the South Island) when he caught a great fish and pulled it from the sea. While he was not looking his brothers fought over the fish and chopped it up. This great fish became the North Island and thus the Māori name for the North Island is Te Ika-a-Māui (The Fish of Māui). The mountains and valleys are said to have been formed as a result of Māui's brothers' hacking at the fish.

Regions of the North Island

Nine local government regions cover the North Island and all its adjacent islands and territorial waters.

Cities and towns in the North Island

(Smaller urban areas are found on the List of towns in New Zealand.)

Geographic features


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