Title: New Zealand

Population: 4,991,442

Population Change: 0.82

National Average Age: 38

Urban Percentage: 87

Christian Population: 1,738,638

Christian Percentage: 37

Introduction: New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington on the North Island is home to Te Papa Tongarewa the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films.

Overview: The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840 their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain the Treaty of Waitangi in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. That same year the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both world wars. New Zealand's full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances. New Zealand assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.