North Island facts for kids
|Te Ika-a-Māui (Māori)|
|Area||113,729 km2 (43,911 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,797 m (9,177 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Ruapehu|
|Largest settlement||Auckland (pop. 1,470,100)|
|Population||3,896,200 (June 2020)|
|Pop. density||34.3 /km2 (88.8 /sq mi)|
The North Island, also officially named Te Ika-a-Māui, is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the larger but much less populous South Island by the Cook Strait. The island's area is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi), making it the world's 14th-largest island. It has a population of 3,896,200 (June 2020), accounting for approximately 77% of the total residents of New Zealand.
Twelve main urban areas (half of them officially cities) are in the North Island. From north to south, they are Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings, Whanganui, Palmerston North, and New Zealand's capital city Wellington, which is located at the south-west tip of the island.
Naming and usage
Although the island has been known as the North Island for many years, in 2009 the New Zealand Geographic Board found that, along with the South Island, the North Island had no official name. After a public consultation, the board officially named the island North Island or Te Ika-a-Maui in October 2013.
In prose, the two main islands of New Zealand are called the North Island and the South Island, with the definite articles. It is normal to use the preposition in rather than on, for example "Hamilton is in the North Island", "my mother lives in the North Island". Maps, headings, tables and adjectival expressions use North Island without the.
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 a Māori name for the North Island is Te Ika-a-Māui (The Fish of Māui). The mountains and valleys are believed to have been formed as a result of Māui's brothers' hacking at the fish. Until the early 20th Century, an alternative Māori name for the North Island was Aotearoa. In present usage, Aotearoa is a collective name for New Zealand as a whole.
The North Island is divided into two ecoregions within the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome, the northern part being the Northland temperate kauri forest, and the southern part being the North Island temperate forests. The island has an extensive flora and bird population, with numerous National Parks and other protected areas.
Nine local government regions cover the North Island and all its adjacent islands and territorial waters.
Cities and towns
The North Island has a larger population than the South Island with both the country's largest city, Auckland as well as the capital, Wellington at either ends of the island.
|Urban areas of the North Island by population|
|Urban area||Region||Population (June 2016)||Urban area||Region||Population (June 2016)|
|4||Tauranga||Bay of Plenty||134,400||14||Taupo||Waikato||24,100|
|7||Rotorua||Bay of Plenty||57,800||17||Whakatāne||Bay of Plenty||19,600|
Major geographic features
Bays and coastal features
Lakes and rivers
Capes and peninsulas
Forests and national parks
- Tongariro National Park
- Waipoua Kauri Forest
The North Island has an estimated population of 3,896,200 as of June 2020.
Ever since the conclusion of the Otago Goldrush in the 1860s, New Zealand's European population growth has experienced a steady 'Northern drift' as population centres in the North Island have grown faster than those of New Zealand's South Island. This population trend has continued into the twenty-first century, but at a much slower rate. While the North Island population continues to grows faster than the South Island, this is solely due to the North Island having higher natural increase (i.e. births minus deaths) and international migration; since the late 1980s, the internal migration flow has been from the North Island to the South Island. In the year to June 2020, the North Island gained 21,950 people from natural increase and 62,710 people from international migration, while losing 3,570 people from internal migration.
Culture and identity
At the 2018 New Zealand census, 65.7% of North Islanders identified as of European ethnicity, 18.5% as Māori, 17.0% as Asian, 9.7% as Pacific Peoples, 1.6% as Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and 1.2% as another ethnicity (mainly 'New Zealander'). Totals add to more than 100% since people may identify with multiple ethnicities.
The proportion of North Islanders born overseas is 29.3%. The most common foreign countries of birth are England (15.4% of overseas-born residents), Mainland China (11.3%), India (10.1%), South Africa (5.9%), Australia (5.5%) and Samoa (5.3%).
Cities and towns
The North Island has a larger population than the South Island, with the country's largest city, Auckland, and the capital, Wellington, accounting for nearly half of it.
There are 28 urban areas in the North Island with a population of 10,000 or more:
|% of island|
The sub-national GDP of the North Island was estimated at US$102.863 billion in 2003, 79% of New Zealand's national GDP.
Images for kids
North Island Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.