It is estimated that about 4.4 million people live in New Zealand in 2010.
Of those, about 78% identify with European ethnic groups, and most the remainder are of Māori decent.
The indigenous Māori language name for New Zealand is “Aotearoa”, which means “land of the long white cloud”.
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to see the islands in 1642 and named them Staten Landt.
The name New Zealand originated with Dutch cartographers, who named the islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
The name was later anglicized to New Zealand by British explorer James Cook.
The Maori first came to New Zealand about a thousand years ago from the Polynesian islands northeast of the country, possibly the Cook Islands, the Society Islands, or the Marquesas.
Today, the Maori make up about 14 percent of New Zealand’s population, and they still speak their native language.
Most New Zealanders are descendants of settlers who arrived from Great Britain in the 1800s.