North Island or Te Ika-a-Maui [Maori,=the fish of Maui] (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 Mahia Peninsula, on the island's east coast, is the site of a satellite launch complex.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Australian and New Zealand Political Geography